00:09 Mike Vacanti: Hello Jordan.
00:12 Jordan Syatt: What’s up Michael?
00:13 Mike Vacanti: We are back in action with proper audio and ready to go.
00:18 Jordan Syatt: I’m excited, you were just about to tell me about a chili story, and I wanna hear the rest of the chili story.
00:24 Mike Vacanti: I don’t know if I would call it a story, I feel like I’m kind of bouncing off the walls over here because I was about to have a bowl of white chicken chili, a half-hour ago, that my mom made last night that was delicious. But I literally heated up the bowl, and I was looking at it, and this was literally 30 minutes ago, and I just thought, “If I eat this, I’m gonna be so lethargic on this podcast” that instead, I poured another cup of coffee and here we are.
00:52 Jordan Syatt: Are you fully fasted right now?
00:54 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. It’s noon, I woke up at 7:15, so I was… For no other reason than I wasn’t hungry and I was having a very productive morning of programs and emails. Yeah.
01:06 Jordan Syatt: Nice. Nice man. I love it.
01:08 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, yeah. How are you doing?
01:10 Jordan Syatt: I’m feeling good, had Jiu-Jitsu this morning, and got some acupuncture done. So, feeling good, got about four weeks until the competition, so definitely deep in the weight cut, but I’m feeling good.
01:24 Mike Vacanti: How are you feeling on… Not like rib, but how are you feeling with being in a deficit?
01:30 Jordan Syatt: I actually, I feel great. I have a… It’s funny, during the mini-cut, the only thing I changed about my diet was my portion sizes, and I just ate per usual. Now that I’m getting into a more severe deficit for this competition, I’m actually changing my food choices pretty significantly. So, getting the egg beaters, getting… Just making sure, so much more protein, having more shakes, a lot of ice, a lot of almond milk, a lot of frozen fruits in there, a lot of protein. It is… And very little snacking, it’s so funny; when life is usual, I’ll regularly have snacks with my girlfriend when we’re watching TV, like popcorn or sour strips, whatever it is, and now it’s like… No snacking. Just no… It’s one of the most interesting things, it’s like people are always like, “How do you lose weight?” Obviously, calorie deficit, but from a tactical perspective, it’s like the snacking really gets you. You don’t realize how much is…
02:34 Mike Vacanti: Absolutely.
02:35 Jordan Syatt: Not even mindless snacking, it could also be very mindful snacking, but you’re just mindfully eating a lot of snacks, and it adds up.
02:44 Mike Vacanti: And snacking when you’re not even necessarily hungry, but you just know that you will enjoy the experience of having that snack, whether it’s like a little sodium craving, whether it’s mouth-fell taste. It’s driven by want rather than need.
03:03 Jordan Syatt: And it’s crazy how much more you can eat when you’re changing flavors back and forth. So, our two favorite snacks are popcorn and sour strips, and literally, I’ll have as much as I want of popcorn and then I’ll have as much as I want of sour strips. Then I’ll go back to popcorn. But, if you only have one, it’s way harder to eat a lot. But, when you’re switching the flavors, you can eat so much more. It’s crazy.
03:28 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. So, more protein for obviously satiety, but also preventing muscle loss to an extent. Higher, basically more voluminous foods and less snacking, and you’re feeling about the same, even though being on obviously a lower intake.
03:48 Jordan Syatt: Yep, yeah. And the foods that I’m eating are obviously less delicious at this point. It’s like way less fat, way less sugars, way less carbs. It’s much… Relatively more bland, more volume to keep me full, so I’m not irritated or overly hungry, but it is also very interesting to see how the highly palatable foods, they more or less are eliminated when you’re really honing in on reducing calories.
04:20 Mike Vacanti: And, I’m putting words in your mouth, but because you have a meaningful end-goal to this that supersedes any kind of mental fatigue or a lack of motivation, I would imagine isn’t really there for you right now. Having a meaningful angle supersedes the pleasure derived from eating a “normal diet.”
04:40 Jordan Syatt: Correct. Yeah. And I think also for any first-time listeners, this is for a Jiu-Jitsu competition. This is not what I’m trying to do forever. This is literally just trying to…
04:49 Mike Vacanti: Jordan’s on a 75-year cut that started recently, and…
04:54 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Just, because it’s about four weeks away, there’s a clear end-date in sight, and I know it’s literally just gonna be for this one competition. There’s no issues with it. If this was 16 weeks out and I was starting to be like this already, that would be a major issue.
05:12 Mike Vacanti: Yeah.
05:12 Jordan Syatt: Which is, all the respect in the world to physique competitors, because they do that for 16, 20 weeks and they just… They go absolutely insane with it. I would never do that, huge respect to them, but also like damn, I never wanna do that, ever.
05:25 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. For that many weeks without a break of any kind. Dude, the thing is though, it depends what you’re snacking on because, when I dial in my nutrition, and let’s just use a very simple example, let’s just say, reduce snacking, or reduce sugar intake, like reduce candy, sweets, desserts. I actually feel better.
05:50 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.
05:50 Mike Vacanti: Like overall, I have slightly more consistent energy levels, I have… I’m able to focus more. I don’t need a mid-afternoon lay down kind of thing, I’m just more mentally in it than when I’m eating foods like that, when I’m not even super hungry for them. So, when you said I couldn’t do this for 16 weeks, I was just like, I think I could do it for six, but now I don’t actually know, maybe at maintenance, eating more regular foods.
06:19 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.
06:20 Mike Vacanti: We’re getting a little off-topic here.
06:22 Jordan Syatt: It’s all good. It’s a good discussion. [chuckle] What do we got for today? Are we doing another Q&A?
06:28 Mike Vacanti: Q&A, baby. We got four or five questions. Well, do we wanna talk about what we were talking about on the phone?
06:38 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.
06:38 Mike Vacanti: Before we…
06:39 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, absolutely.
06:40 Mike Vacanti: Alright. Well, I made contact…
06:41 Jordan Syatt: I’m gonna be honest, I forget. Oh yeah, now I remember. Yeah, yeah.
06:47 Jordan Syatt: In my head, I was like what…
06:49 Mike Vacanti: Just, you had a really interesting statement, which was that a lot of people, a lot of coaches, a lot of businesspeople, even people outside of the fitness industry, but people who make content for a living end up caring about the response to their content, the views, the engagement, the reach, the likes, the whatever. They end up caring about those public metrics more than how much money they’re making, more than the impact that what they’re putting out is having, but it’s interesting how many people can get to that point.
07:25 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, I think if someone were just to hear that they’d be like, “That’s not true, they don’t care about likes or followers more than how much money or their impact,” but we see this constantly. We see people who maybe they don’t have a lot of followers, and they get super jealous of the people who have more followers than them or have more likes than them, and they start to be like, “They’re not even that good of a coach,” and all sort of stuff. And then this person stops posting, even though they might get messages from people saying, “Hey, this is so helpful.” Even though they might have gotten clients from their Instagram or whatever because of the content they’ve been posting, they stop posting because they feel like it’s “not working.”
08:00 Jordan Syatt: Even though clearly it is, they’re clearly getting clients, it might not be as many likes as they want, but the issue that they’re having is they’re not getting the likes that they want because they’re comparing the likes to other accounts who have a bigger audience, and they stop posting because… Not because it’s not having an impact. Clearly people are getting helped and clearly they’re getting some clients from it and some engagement from it, but it’s the likes and it’s the follows that are really getting under their skin. And even in marketing, this holds true. If I market something towards a personal trainer crowd that’s geared towards making more money or towards getting more followers, getting more followers always gets a bigger response, always, which is so interesting to me.
08:41 Mike Vacanti: See, and I was thinking of it from the perspective of not the people who aren’t getting the response they want, and so this is maybe someone who’s earlier on in their journey and so they’re like, “Oh, it’s not working, I’m done with that.” I’m thinking them, but from the perspective of people who are… Have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers, and that has become their north star, and we’ve talked about people who have hit us up privately that have pretty unbelievably sized audiences, but are struggling with whether it’s getting clients or building their business.
09:18 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah, but this came up because you put out a new piece of content, right?
09:24 Mike Vacanti: Yeah.
09:24 Jordan Syatt: The new YouTube video?
09:26 Mike Vacanti: I put a video up, so I was just… Honestly, what I did was, I think it had something to do with summer kinda coming to an end, fall starting, Labor Day weekend. I’ll never forget, it was late August 2012, this was six weeks after I’d put in my… After I was done working at this accounting firm and was trying to figure out what to do, and I was sitting in my basement and had this… Basically plan to make a move, and this is when I went and lived in Canada for a while because online poker was illegal in the US. So I basically got… Craigslist in Canada and went out there so I could play poker while I was mapping out my website and building things, but this end of the summer, “beginning of school year” has always been a time where I have felt… A lot of people feel New Year’s motivation.
10:21 Mike Vacanti: And yeah, for whatever reason, I was like, “I’m just gonna sit and do it,” and honestly that I went through… This was last Friday, I went through my inbox that I hadn’t gotten to the bottom of in I don’t know, six months maybe, and there were just so many, “Hey, how are you? Haven’t heard anything from you. Hope you’re okay.” Nice emails like that that I felt like, “Okay, I’m gonna make a Podcast.” I’ve been enjoying podcasts. I was like, “I’m gonna make a podcast and just give a little update on things.” And I recorded this 25-minute podcast by myself, which by the way, Jordan does podcast by himself sometimes, I don’t know how. Because I did this podcast by myself, listened to it back for the first two minutes, and I was like, “This is atrocious. This is so bad.”
11:05 Mike Vacanti: And immediately after that, I was out for a drive, just pulled into a random parking lot, pulled my phone out, and just gave a quick little YouTube update, but what you and I were laughing about was then this morning, I’m like… You asked something, “How’s the video doing?” And I think I said, “I don’t wanna know, I don’t wanna look”. And you’re like, “Oh, you didn’t look?” I was like, “No, of course, I looked.” And I was like, “Oh yeah… People care, that’s great. But I don’t want to… I wanna be completely removed from having any attachment to the response.” Which I don’t know if it’s actually a realistic expectation or not, but when I wake up and I’m doing client programs this morning at 8:00 AM and I have this pull in me to be like, “Oh, let’s check that story, let’s see what the Instagram algo’s serving up to people. How many story views on that after not posting anything for a while? Oh, oh, it’s a lot of… I don’t remember getting that many story views.” It’s like, “What are you doing?” [chuckle] “Get back in there and design this training program. Freaking idiot.”
12:08 Jordan Syatt: Dude, it was so funny as you were saying it this time around, like, “I don’t want to want to look.” I was thinking back to… I think it was a sitcom like King of Queens or something. One of those old sitcoms where the main male character was helping his wife with the laundry or with dishes or with something and she got mad at him and he was like, “Why are you mad?” And she was like, “Because you don’t wanna do this.” He’s like, “Of course I don’t wanna do this.” She was like, “Well, I want you to want to help.” [chuckle] And he’s like, “Well, I don’t wanna help, but I’m still helping.” She’s like, “The issue is that you don’t want to help.” [laughter]
12:48 Mike Vacanti: I want you to want to help.
12:51 Jordan Syatt: And I’m just thinking, it’s like, “I don’t want to want to look at those numbers.” It’s that cognitive distance of like, “I don’t want to want to do that.” And then that conscious awareness that I have of myself, knowing that I want to look at that, even though I don’t want to want that is this whole weird backward scenario, this… The mental, physical… I don’t even know what it is. It made a weird thing that you can be aware of yourself in that sense.
13:20 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s in jest. I have different reasons right now, more so just like I mentioned, time of year, feel like putting stuff out, actually, I’m really into my own health and fitness, which makes me wanna document more of that. There’s various reasons behind it, as well as just updating people on stuff but the… [chuckle] That like, it’s kinda always lurking there.
13:50 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, I also think like, I don’t think anybody would be happy to say, “Yeah, I care about how many likes I get. Yeah, I care about how many views I get.” I don’t think anyone would be happy to say it, but I think everyone would be a liar if they said they didn’t care in some way. It’s like…
14:07 Mike Vacanti: It’s almost beyond just not caring in some way, it’s… For most people, it seems to be the primary… And a lot of people… And I don’t think it’s a bad thing either, by the way, if you’re making content and your content has a direct impact on your business, okay?
14:27 Jordan Syatt: Mm-hmm.
14:27 Mike Vacanti: And then let’s say you get in this dopamine validation machine and that’s becoming a driving force for part of the reason you’re making content, but the end result is you’re growing, you’re helping more people, and your business is doing well, that seems like a win. It’s like the outcome makes it extremely beneficial for many people. So I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing, but there are so many people that when they put something out, basically the only metric for whether or not that was good or bad, was like, “How many views did this do? How many views in 12 hours, how many views in 24 hours, how many likes and dislikes? How many… How much reach, how much… How many… ” Whatever, and for building a business, that’s important data, those are important stats, right? Like when the reason is primarily content marketing and then that video, it’s like, content can be… For me, at least, it can be marketing, it can be art, or it can be for validation, and when you’re truly just doing it for business, for marketing, then that feedback is good information that’s driving the business, but for almost everyone, those lines become muddled and it’s not only business, but it’s also like… Especially in fitness and you’re doing body image, you start… And yeah. I’m really hyped-up on this caffeine.
15:47 Jordan Syatt: It is funny for me, ’cause a lot of people, when they have a post, that they put it out, and it gets fewer views or fewer likes than they would have anticipated, their first thing in their mind goes to, “The damn algorithm.” They’re like, “The algorithm sucks.” And they’re just like, they’ll talk about this like, “This algorithm is just so bad.” And it’s funny, it’s sort of in the same way that people talk about metabolism, who don’t understand metabolism. This is like people who can’t… Who are really struggling to lose weight, like, “Oh, I just got a really slow metabolism.” Like, “What is metabolism?” “Oh, the damn algorithm.” “What is the algorithm?” “Ah, I don’t… ” They don’t… It’s the exact same type of thing. It’s actually, it’s a very interesting parallel because you spoke about if you’re from a marketing perspective, this being just data, right? Especially if you’re trying to grow your… It’s all data, that’s exactly what it is. I think that’s one of the things I saw that Gary did super well. And Gary talks about this.
16:38 Jordan Syatt: I don’t know if he’s ever spoken about it directly, he probably has, but one of the things I saw him do, and I know you have as well, is like, if he has a post that doesn’t get a lot of likes or a lot of views, he’s happy about it, he’s always like, “Oh no, this is good. I’m always learning.” In my mind, I’m sure there’s part of him that’s a little bit disappointed, but he quickly turns it into a positive, where he’s like, “No, this is good, now I’m learning this.” ’cause he uses the whole phrase like, “I like to lose.” He’s like, “I like losing, ’cause it means that I’m getting better and it’s my fault, I can’t blame anybody else.” Whereas I think most people, when they get a video or a picture or whatever that doesn’t do very well, they blame the algorithm and Gary just blames himself. And it’s similar to weighing yourself, right?
17:20 Jordan Syatt: To like checking the scale every day, where it’s like, if you’re gonna look at what one post does and let that massively affect your idea of maybe what you should be doing for your business, maybe you should just quit altogether if you’re gonna let it ruin your day because a post didn’t get that many likes… And it’s funny, I was talking with Rico about this, I don’t know, last week, about if a picture or a video doesn’t get that many likes, the first thing that a lot of people go to in their head is they get worried about what other people are gonna think about their page, it’s like no one is going to your page and being like, “Oh wow, you only got so many likes.”
17:51 Mike Vacanti: Comparing likes?
17:52 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.
17:52 Mike Vacanti: Yeah.
17:52 Jordan Syatt: No one’s doing that, and if they are, that’s a… You don’t wanna be friends with that person.
17:57 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, and it’s such a rare circumstance. What you said with comparing… I had something to say…
18:09 Jordan Syatt: This caffeine is hitting you hard right now.
18:12 Mike Vacanti: In response, but I lost it. It’s hitting me so hard.
18:15 Mike Vacanti: In an enjoyable way though. Oh, okay, so if someone doesn’t get as… They don’t get the response they desire on something, and so then someone who’s truly doing this for marketing, takes that information, thinks about it in the context of the post, maybe they were trying a new style of post, tweaks it, makes modifications, tries something different, sees what the response is like. If you’re making something that’s not for marketing… And by the way, I almost didn’t want to… Three years ago, I told you no, to starting the mentorship, ’cause I was like, “Jordan, I’m shit at business, I don’t know anything about business. I just started putting up fitness stuff ’cause I love it, I wanted to help some people, people wanted me to coach them, and this just happened.” And you were like, “Stop.” Kind of, but…
19:01 Mike Vacanti: But I really saw myself as just putting out what I felt like I wanted to put out. I don’t even wanna go any further than that, we’ll call it like a form of art, but definitely not content marketing, it was not where my head was early on. And so coming from that mindset, I don’t even want to evaluate the quality of a post based on the feedback it gets. Meaning, I can put something out that gets way less engagement, and I’m like, “Oh, people are just wrong, because this was awesome.”
19:33 Jordan Syatt: Yep.
19:33 Mike Vacanti: Like it… Kinda like art is subjective, right?
19:36 Jordan Syatt: Yep.
19:37 Mike Vacanti: Like this, whatever, painting is… That’s a really good painting. Oh, no one wants to buy it? It’s a $5 painting. It doesn’t matter because I know it’s a great painting, or you can make something like, remember when the banana got taped to the wall and someone paid $2 million for it?
19:51 Jordan Syatt: Wait, what?
19:52 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, there was like a piece of duct tape over a banana, and that was art, and someone… This was maybe six, six… In the last six to 12 months, someone paid an outrageous amount of money for this.
20:02 Jordan Syatt: Shut up.
20:02 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. And so it’s…
20:05 Jordan Syatt: What the hell is that?
20:07 Mike Vacanti: For the purpose of marketing, the feedback on the content is relevant because the content is trying to grow your business. If you’re making stuff for non-business reasons, then I’ve many times when you or Rico’s been like, “Oh, that got a lot of engagement, or that video did so well.” I was like, “That’s a terrible video. People are wrong.” I shouldn’t have… That was just a bad video and the fact that so many people liked it…
20:30 Mike Vacanti: That was an incorrect response by them. [chuckle] And that’s evaluating it based on the art. For the purposes of marketing, it was great. But you and I, we don’t have official, official… Actually we do, but we just don’t really look at the official downloads on these. We should do that, but we could have a banger…
20:48 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, that’s a shame. We never look at the downloads on these episodes just so everyone knows.
20:53 Mike Vacanti: But we could have a banger of an episode and it could get less downloads than other episodes. And the people who decided not to download were just wrong because from the perspective of putting out something objectively good or bad.
21:08 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. Well, this is an interesting part of when we’re looking at it from a content marketing perspective. And I think it’s important to have those distinctions. If you’re just posting on Instagram because you’re putting up amazing art and you just wanna share your art, I would imagine that you’d still care about the Likes and the Follows because if more… You get more followers and more Likes, then maybe you can sell your art and you can get more notoriety and be featured in different shows. But still, it’s different to have content that’s purely just for art or content that’s purely just for marketing or content purely just for validation. I think those distinctions are important. When we’re looking at it from a content marketing perspective, you can then start to realize that different platforms are good for different types of content, and maybe you posted a type of content that was unbelievably good, but it was on the wrong platform.
22:02 Jordan Syatt: So, that’s where I think one of the areas I’ve grown in a lot on Instagram… Well, in general, but it’s one of the areas I think that I’m very good at on Instagram is I know what type of content will perform well. And even though I could post content that is more in-depth and has more overall “value” it might have more value, and I know fewer people will see it and fewer people will be positively impacted because there’s… It won’t do it well on that platform. So I think understanding the platform is equally important from a content marketing perspective because if you have more in-depth, better content that you want people to reach, then you can essentially use certain types of content just to get people’s attention and then to funnel them elsewhere. It’s literally what I did yesterday on my Instagram. I used a very specific type of content on my Instagram to get people to see it and then also push them to my podcast. I was like, “Hey, if you haven’t subscribed to my podcast yet, link is in my bio.”
23:00 Jordan Syatt: Even though I knew like I could have posted something way more in-depth and way more clear, but I know they’re gonna get those way more in-depth pieces of content on my podcast. Instagram isn’t always the place for that type of content. So I think it’s understanding the quality of the content but also understanding the medium you’re using and whether or not it’s the right medium for the type of content you’re posting.
23:21 Mike Vacanti: That was good. That was a good job by you bringing it back to something more relevant for the listeners. Content marketing.
23:28 Mike Vacanti: Some practical takeaways. Jordan is grounding the podcast as usual. Well done.
23:37 Jordan Syatt: It’s just where my mind went with it. I wasn’t trying to ground it.
23:39 Mike Vacanti: No, but you did because… Yeah.
23:41 Jordan Syatt: Thank you.
23:42 Mike Vacanti: Well said.
23:42 Jordan Syatt: Thank you, Michael.
23:43 Mike Vacanti: Should we go into our questions?
23:46 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, let’s do the Q&A. You said we got some bangers.
23:50 Mike Vacanti: We do have some bangers. Really all the questions that on this 150 question list are bangers, so the next 45 episodes are gonna be fire.
24:00 Jordan Syatt: The next three years of podcasts.
24:04 Mike Vacanti: Alright. So this was a question asked to us that I’m also curious about how you do this. So…
24:12 Jordan Syatt: Oh, jeez. Just so everyone knows, Mike is the one that picks the questions. I don’t know these questions going into it.
24:20 Mike Vacanti: How do you stay sane by answering/seeing the same questions every day?
24:26 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. So, there’s a lot to this. Number one is, I would say, you have to enjoy what you do, or else this type of stuff would just… It would burn you out, piss you off. Now, there’s a lot to this answer, so I’m gonna take a second. Number one is, if you… This is the difference between enjoying working out and enjoying coaching. There are two different things. It’s like a lot of coach… A lot of people who like working out and say, “Oh, I wanna be a coach, ’cause I like spending time in the gym. And I could just spend more time in the gym and spend more time coaching people.” It’s like, “Well, just because you like working out doesn’t mean you’re gonna like coaching people.” And odds are, if you don’t like coaching people, you’re gonna very quickly find out that coaching is not for you and that you’d rather honestly not be in the industry and just do your own workouts. Love it, crush your nutrition, but don’t get in the coaching business, ’cause most of the people you’re gonna be coaching probably aren’t going to be as motivated as you, probably aren’t going to be as knowledgeable as you. That’s why they’re hiring you. So, you have to understand the difference between loving working out and loving coaching.
25:30 Jordan Syatt: I love coaching. I love teaching. I really enjoy it. So that’s number one. Number two is, I would be lying if I said I don’t ever get annoyed when people ask the exact same question. Of course, part of me is like, “Oh my God, I’ve made literally 57,000 pieces of content on this,” or like I think the thing that really annoys me is when it’s within my last three posts. It’s like literally within my last three, and then they’ll ask a question that I clearly answered my last three posts.
25:55 Mike Vacanti: Or what if they preface it with “I love you so much. You’re my favorite. I’ve been following you for four years, but like what’s the number one tip for belly fat?”
26:06 Jordan Syatt: That’s a legitimate question that I get asked. It’s like, “Yeah, I have followed your content for years… “
26:17 Mike Vacanti: What you’re saying there is everyone has some limit of getting annoyed? Yeah.
26:20 Jordan Syatt: Yes, but one of the things that has helped me is I also make sure I try and have fun with the answers. It’s like if you look at my Q&As, I do my best to make them funny, to make them enjoyable. Like, to give very straightforward answers. And I think, this is another great tip that I got from Gary is there’s essentially three types of content. There’s educational content, there’s entertaining content and then there’s a mix of the two. And you can do really well with just educational, someone who I think who’s just educational is Eric Cressey. He’s pure education. There’s really not much entertainment in there, really great guy, just not an entertaining content creator. Then, there’s more entertainment, which I would say, I don’t know if you heard of Trey Kennedy? Who is hilarious.
27:08 Mike Vacanti: Yeah.
27:11 Jordan Syatt: He’s pure entertainment and it’s amazing and he’s doing it incredibly well I would imagine, judging by the number of ads that he does and even his ads are funny videos. I like to watch his ads, and then you could combine the two of them and that’s sort of where I like to put myself, where I’ll do educational content, but I’ll try to make it entertaining as well more just to keep your attention and to help the educational process, sort of like the best teacher in high school was probably the teacher that also made all the kids laugh as well, in addition to teaching them. For me, if I’m doing a Q&A and I’m getting asked the same questions over and over again, I’m not gonna try and break it down and do a purely educational response. I’ll make it educational, but I’ll also try and make it funny. And for me, that makes it a much more enjoyable process. I’m sure the teachers in high school who were burned out and angry and they just were like, “Argh,” They’re like the angry old teacher who just taught the same thing for 30 years straight versus the teacher who was the same age, they had the same level of teaching experience, but they wore the funny hats. They wore the funny things in the class.
28:12 Jordan Syatt: They would have the class do fun games. They enjoyed it more because they were able to make it more entertaining and I think that’s… It’s part of your responsibility as a coach is to make it entertaining for yourself so you can also enjoy it more.
28:25 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, self-amusement is huge in life, but that is… There’s a win-win to that because you’re enjoying making… When I think of entertainment, I think of a lot of the comedy that you work into fitness, you make it even better content for the consumer, but it’s also the fun you’re having while making it.
28:47 Jordan Syatt: That’s exactly right. And I think a lot of people…
28:50 Mike Vacanti: Or when someone posts a ridiculous question and you just have the seven pictures of your face kind of staring off. I would imagine you chuckle every time you do that.
29:01 Jordan Syatt: Every time and I always get people DM-ing me about it. I get people like they want t-shirts with that face on it. It’s just… It’s funny and I think that’s… I, actually… My favorite part of Instagram right now is my Q&As. That’s my favorite part of it. The feed posts do way better for actually growing my audience and for building a bigger audience, but the stories right now is where I have the most fun so that’s where I’m spending the most time. And I also feel like I can… If I can get thousands and thousands of people’s attention across 25 stories, that’s a significant amount of time and a significant amount of education for them versus on one feed post that a significant number of people won’t even watch a full 60-second clip or read the whole caption. It’s… You can almost teach people more and better through a story sequence than you can just solely through the feed.
29:58 Mike Vacanti: Absolutely. Depth versus width.
30:00 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, exactly.
30:03 Mike Vacanti: Good. I think that’s a great answer and I think the enjoying how you’re answering or what you’re doing. And one, needing to enjoy the process, but two, if you’re not enjoying it, maybe doing something different so that you do enjoy it more.
30:20 Jordan Syatt: Absolutely, yeah. And find… Maybe finding a medium that you enjoy more. I’m spending more time on podcasts than anything else right now, podcasts and story. That’s really where I’m spending the most of my time ’cause that’s what I love the most.
30:31 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, or if we go more granular with coaching, maybe it’s not that someone who is starting to get “sick” of answering the same questions, maybe it’s not that that coach is… Shouldn’t be coaching, but maybe they should reduce the number of clients they’re working with, maybe they’re like… Maybe they gave out their text… Their phone number to every client and said, “I’ll reply to your text. I don’t care if it’s 3:00 o’clock in the morning.” And so maybe with 20 clients, you feel burnt out after three months because you’ve overextended yourself in that capacity. There’s different ways to think about changes you can make so that you are enjoying the process, whether it’s content creation or coaching.
31:19 Jordan Syatt: And that brings up the whole topic of changing your systems. It’s like having video courses for your clients. If someone gets upset about the scale spiking up, you don’t have to talk the 827th person down from the scale spiking up. You have a video ready-made for when that happens. And this is just… If you have to say the exact same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, the exact same way then, of course, it can get tiring and it can burn you out. Finding ways to make it less stressful on you, whether it’s through different systems or different strategies or reducing how many clients or how many people you have to say it to, yeah, absolutely. There’s so many ways to do that.
32:00 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, good. I like that answer. Question two, how does Mike find being an introvert benefits or impairs him in the business?
32:10 Jordan Syatt: I remember this one.
32:12 Mike Vacanti: And I feel like we can just kinda take this and flip it for you, if anything I’m saying is like, “Oh, I feel the exact opposite.”
32:23 Jordan Syatt: But I’m very interested in your answer so I wanna hear this for sure.
32:28 Mike Vacanti: I don’t know if I have a great answer. Let me preface it with that. I think one… Here are some mistakes that I’ve made. I’ve felt like bursts of energy and productivity and optimism that have led me to make promises I couldn’t keep or didn’t… I’ve had times where I was like, “You know what? I think I do like going on people’s podcasts and talking to them for hours at a time every day.” I’m gonna reply to all these emails, “Hey, sorry I haven’t gotten back to you in six months, but just so you know, I’m down to do your podcast. When do you think?” And then, a few days later, I’m like, “Why did I… What was I thinking?” And by the way, we’re using the definitions of introversion and extraversion. Introverts derive energy from being alone, whereas extroverts derive energy from being around others. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a psychologist, but based on my understanding, everyone needs social interaction and everyone needs time alone, but the balance of how much of each differs from person to person, especially with introverts and extroverts. And being around people drains me. It does.
33:42 Mike Vacanti: And so, something Jordan and I actually… Something that I really took home, one of the top lessons from Sheepdog Response training down in Texas was in the situational awareness classroom, our instructor, Jeff said that something along the lines of leaning into who you are and leaning into your strengths and not… That was one of the key mental takeaways from that course, and not trying to be something you’re not with, really, I think of it as content creation and how I have my business set up. When I have people asking for certain things, whether it’s high-priced like, “I’ll pay you whatever for in-person coaching.” And knowing that I don’t want to add more in-person stuff to my plate or whether it’s high-priced phone calls or consults or whatever that I know that I don’t want to do, things that maybe earlier on in my career, I would have said yes to, like the price tag would have been alluring or just the growth or whatever it would be, but then knowing that it ended up not benefiting me. And leaning into strengths, meaning writing, meaning program design and emails. I do some of my best thinking when I’m by myself caffeinated and reading long emails and communicating back and rather than being in situations where I know it’s gonna rip my battery from 100 to 20 in an hour and a half.
35:28 Jordan Syatt: Makes total sense.
35:29 Mike Vacanti: Because Jordan goes on other people’s podcasts like twice a day every day. And from minute one to minute 120, you come out of there like…
35:41 Jordan Syatt: More energized, yeah.
35:43 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Exactly.
35:44 Jordan Syatt: I used to think of extroverted as, “just likes being around people,” but with the definition of getting energy from being around people. Oh, yeah. That’s definitely me. If I’m by myself, I’m very low energy. I’m very low and it’s very easy for me to be lethargic and whatever and not motivated to do much. If I’m around other people, I immediately like get in a better mood. I’m ready to go. It’s pretty crazy and to see the difference between you and I, which is essentially the exact opposite, it’s so interesting. When I’m around other people, I become much more creative, much more excited. And right before I get on a podcast, I’m always like, “Ah, I don’t wanna do this.” And as soon as I get on them, I’m always like, “Yeah, super glad I’m doing this.”
36:39 Mike Vacanti: It’s so funny. I’ll never forget, in my corporate accounting days, we had a… Basically, the way that… I was in a room. I was in a small room at a table that was probably a five-foot by five-foot square table and there were four of us in there kind of all at this one table, each sitting on the side of it and we were supposed to be doing individual work at our WeChat, our computers. And every three minutes, someone was talking about something or there was like people joking around, but we were supposed to be doing deep individual flow state kind of work. And I’m just like, “This is the dumbest, least productive thing. What is going on here?” And I distinctly remember… And there was a real “team atmosphere” to it because we were on a client site. And so it was a 12 or a 14-person team. And we were… The whole team ate lunch together every single day. And one day, I decided like, “Okay. I’m with these people all day and I’m gonna take this 45 minutes to myself and just eat my lunch in this room and chill and check my fancy football roster, whatever. Do a little work, just take a breath.” And probably, five minutes into lunch, the phone in this room rings, and I answer and it’s one of the senior associates. And she’s like, “Uh, Mike, we’re all down at lunch. Where are you?” I was like, “I’m just gonna eat up here today. I’m just kinda taking it easy.” And she’s like, “Oh… “
38:12 Jordan Syatt: Wow.
38:13 Mike Vacanti: “On this team, we really like to eat lunch all together. It’s part of the… ” whatever, bonding. So I went down to lunch. I was so pissed.
38:23 Jordan Syatt: Like, “I’m getting out of this job. This is ridiculous.”
38:27 Mike Vacanti: Oh, yeah. The whole lockdown, that’s what I was thinking, but thankfully, I’m in a position where I don’t have to be doing that. Although, my mind immediately goes to personal training and coaching five or six sessions back to back in a row and I needed to recharge after that, definitely. I needed a good night of sleep, but because it was work I enjoyed, that actually was much more… Much less draining.
38:57 Jordan Syatt: I wonder if there’s just an aspect of one-on-one coaching that might… If it’s a… Maybe a group class, I would imagine that would be way more draining, but one-on-one coaching with someone that you like is probably way, way more suitable for someone who’s more introverted, as opposed to someone you don’t like, doesn’t matter if you’re introverted, extroverted, if you’re coaching them, it’s awful. I remember back in Boston when I was coaching four, five, six hours straight, one hour break, two-hour break, and then four, five, six hours straight again, and just one client that was just a drain was the worst, whereas one client that you really loved, it would go by in a snap, it was just by so fast. Yeah.
39:42 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Interesting. Lean into your strengths, whether you’re introverted or extroverted.
39:47 Jordan Syatt: Shout out to Jeff from Sheepdog Response. [chuckle]
39:50 Mike Vacanti: Exactly. What is your… Question three. What is your least favorite part of being an online coach or starting your biz on IG? I’m gonna start this one because I don’t wanna make Jordan say a negative thing and then I look like a good guy by taking a cop-out answer. Let’s first back out to starting your biz on IG, ’cause we’ll talk about that separate, but neither of us started our business on Instagram and neither of us recommend that you guys start your business on Instagram. But well, first, my least favorite part right now is almost impossible to comprehend. Last night I was playing cards with my sister, two of my sisters, my parents, my girlfriend, my grandparents are over and we’re all playing a card game, and…
40:40 Jordan Syatt: Did you win?
40:41 Mike Vacanti: I did win. I actually did win.
40:46 Mike Vacanti: Sevens was the game. And one of my sisters was real down because it was Labor Day and people were emailing her and expecting her to respond within the day, and she was fed up with that kind of corporate life. And my other sister is a teacher and things are really stressful with remote distance learning, but hybrid model and getting new lesson plans together and just kind of crazy, but they were both just stressed to the max around dinner and cards, and I was sitting there thinking like, “Man, I really… I just make workout programs and I help the people with their nutrition and training, and that’s what I’m doing for a living, that’s my job. That’s literally all I have to do.” And so I don’t know that… It would feel wrong to even list something that I don’t like right now.
41:41 Jordan Syatt: Man. Now I’m gonna go in there and just tell you all the stuff I don’t like. Now you made it worse. [laughter] It would’ve been way better if you let me go first. [laughter] Now I gotta follow up that with negatives. [laughter]
41:53 Mike Vacanti: You can cop-out too. Fine. If we want to really drill down and find… “With that said, here’s what we don’t like.”
42:04 Jordan Syatt: Well, I would say the thing that I… There’s a bunch. There’s a lot that I don’t like. I would say one of the things that… The worst thing about being a coach in general, not just an online coach, but I think the worst part about it, is the realization that you’ll inevitably come to an understanding that you’re not gonna able to help everybody. There are going to be interactions that you have with clients or people who maybe they’re not a client, maybe they’re someone who just interacts with you on social media or a friend or a family member that you’re not gonna be able to help, for no other reason than… And not because you’re a bad coach, not because they’re a bad person, but because either they’re not at a place in which they’re ready, willing, or able to make a change, or maybe you’re not a good fit for them.
42:49 Jordan Syatt: But understanding that you’re not gonna be able to help everybody, especially if it’s someone that you’re very close with, that sucks. I think that’s… Especially as you’re getting all this knowledge and you’re learning and you’re working to become a better coach, I think in your mind, a very common thought process is, “I’m gonna get so smart and so good with this, that literally no one will fail with me,” and unfortunately, that’s not true. Unfortunately, there will be people that you work with or people that you interact with who just… It won’t work, and not because the science is bad, or not because that you’re a bad coach; it’s because they’re not at a place in their life in which they’re gonna be ready or willing or able to commit to it. I think that for me is the most… The worst part about it and the most frustrating and the most demoralizing, and that’s the part I hate the most, for sure.
43:38 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, that’s absolutely true. Let’s remove family members and loved ones from the equation, because what you just described is something that we’ve discussed, we both feel and that we hear a lot about, and that I think we hear more about from beginning coaches, from people who are new to this. Let’s set aside family members and loved ones. From 2010 until now, how much less of an emotional impact does it have on you? Because before you’ve internalized that lesson, you might take it personally, you might put more pressure on yourself to help every single person, it can get you down, whereas over time you learn that you can’t help every single person. How has your mindset around that shifted, if it has, over the last decade?
44:29 Jordan Syatt: I’ve definitely become more numb to it. I would sort of… I’m not a doctor, I’ve never… Fortunately, never been in a situation where I’ve had a patient die on a table, right? But doctors I’ve spoken to who’ve had patients die on a table right in front of them, it sounds similar in concept into which the first patient you lose is demoralizing. The first time you become a doctor or you’re a resident, whatever it is, you see a patient die, maybe that you could have saved, but something weird happened, and you just…
44:55 Jordan Syatt: It’s just… It haunts you forever. Versus you do it for a year or three years, five years, 10 years, eventually, it’s like, “Listen, this is part of the job. And if you let it affect you at that level for the entirety of your career, then you’re never going to be as good as you could, you’re never gonna help as many people as you could, ’cause you’re always gonna be focused on the few people that it didn’t work for.” So at this point in my career, I’m way more numb to it. I’m better at… ‘Cause for me, I would consider myself an empath, I would consider myself, I very much take on the emotions of other people very easily.
45:31 Jordan Syatt: And so earlier on it was brutal, because if someone was sad or upset, I would take that emotion on and it took a lot of time for me to separate their emotions from my emotions, and so now I’m at a point where I can disassociate myself from it pretty effectively and more or less immediately, but it took a decade to get to that point.
45:56 Mike Vacanti: You’re an empath?
45:58 Jordan Syatt: I would say that. Would you agree or disagree?
46:02 Mike Vacanti: I haven’t thought about it enough. I’m interested to hear you self-identify as that because four years ago I would have disagreed, but now I think, yeah, it’s very likely, if not true. I feel like we have had discussions where I’ve been like, XYZ person is dragging me down, I am not interacting with them anymore, and then you’re like, “Oh, that’s weird, I can just hang for an hour, two hours and then and be like, “Alright, have a good day,” and then go do your thing. But then over time, that kind of shifted and maybe people who you were spending time with, their energy, we’ll call it, did have a bigger impact on your mood and your energy.
46:53 Jordan Syatt: That’s interesting, ’cause I know exactly what you’re talking about. I also think that at that point in my life and career, there was very little if anything that could’ve distracted me from my goal. I was so focused that I was just at a point where if someone was being negative or pessimistic or obnoxious or rude or mean, whatever it was, I was so singularly focused on my one goal of improving my business and helping more people that it was almost impossible to shake me away from that.
47:27 Jordan Syatt: Not to mention my life was so hectic with Gary traveling all over the place, that I think it was easier for me to forget that someone might have been bringing me down because, “Cool, I’m in an Uber, I’m going to LA, or I’m going to Chattanooga, or I’m going to Chicago, or I’m going to Atlanta,” whatever, ’cause you’re just constantly on the move. Whereas if I had to go back to my apartment and sit there for six hours, all those feelings would just be able to marinate and I’d be able to just be so angry or upset. [laughter]
48:00 Mike Vacanti: That makes sense. Part of it being just, life is chaos, but then the other part being, when you have blinders on in the earlier stages of singular focus, you really can block out a lot more.
48:15 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
48:18 Mike Vacanti: Do we wanna hit on, before we get into the last question, do we wanna talk about this maybe assumption around the thing to do as an online fitness coach as to build your business on Instagram?
48:30 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. I think it’s an innocent question. It’s a very…
48:36 Mike Vacanti: Of course.
48:38 Jordan Syatt: It’s coming from a place of almost like a mix of innocence and ignorance where it’s just like, you might have just seen us on Instagram and be like, “Oh, they’ve done this on Instagram.” It’s like, “No, that’s not how it’s worked for us at all.” And we don’t recommend anyone begins, or we shouldn’t say we don’t recommend you begin it, but we don’t recommend you emphasize your career on Instagram, especially if you’re just starting out. Both Mike and I began our careers with long-form website articles, and if you’re new to the podcast, we’ve spoken about this many times.
49:13 Jordan Syatt: I believe even in the last episode, we spoke a lot about it. So if you haven’t listened to the last episode, definitely do. But Instagram has been a wonderful tool for both of our businesses, but the main driver for both of our business is and will likely always be our websites and also our, probably our YouTube videos, our long-form YouTube content. The SEO-able type of content that people will find from Googling a question, those are the pieces of content that do really well long term for our business, as opposed to a short-form Instagram, Twitter, whatever that… It’s not really Googleable. People aren’t gonna find you from Google on Instagram. They’ll find you from Google on your website and YouTube.
49:55 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. And that’s exactly right from a content perspective. And then to take even a step further, look at it from further away, internship and in-person coaching are both, if we’re talking starting, those are, we’ll call it in conjunction with putting out long-form content, but those are places where you’re gonna learn such an invaluable amount that that combination is where it really starts.
50:27 Jordan Syatt: I’ve been thinking about going back to long-form articles. My only thing right now is, I’m at a point in my career where I don’t know if I wanna… If I was going back to long-form articles right now, I don’t think I’d write as much about fitness. I’ve already written so much about fitness, if I was gonna go back to long-form article writing now, I think it would be about a different… I don’t even know that… But I’ve been thinking about going back to… ‘Cause one of the things I really enjoyed about long-form article writing was just waking up, having a cup of coffee, no social media, and no notifications, you just sit down and you write for two, three hours. And it was so enjoyable early in the morning, people weren’t up yet, no one was texting anything. It was just a really cathartic experience.
51:15 Jordan Syatt: So I’ve been thinking about want to get back into that. Also, there’s way less pressure for that than for, say, YouTube. Right? For YouTube, like you gotta be on, maybe like wanna look good, make sure that you’re speaking properly like, with a long-form article you can go back and edit it. You can sort of let all your thoughts out first. So I’ve been thinking about doing that more, but we’ll see. Maybe not. [chuckle]
51:37 Mike Vacanti: I mean, as a form of art and expression, it sounds like it’s huge. Also, is an article about a non-fitness subject gonna be as good of content marketing as an article about fitness? No, it’s not. However, an article about anything that people want to consume will bring people toward you, and like you and I have discussed, the market for fitness stuff is all humans. So…
52:05 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, exactly.
52:08 Mike Vacanti: Cool I didn’t know you were kicking that around. Alright, last one and we can make this one relatively quick. Can you train legs Friday and full-body Saturday or is that too much lower body back to back?
52:23 Jordan Syatt: You wanna take this one?
52:24 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, it… I mean, if I’m gonna give a one-word answer, I would say, err on the side of not doing that. It depends on what your goals are. It also depends on what your schedule looks like and your availability to train looks like, right? So for most goals, you can train every single day if you really wanted to, right? So in the context of this question, I don’t think this is what the person meant, but you could train every single day, and legs could be… Or Friday could be legs and Saturday could be full body. And what does matter the most, although recovery between workouts does matter, what matters the most is total training volume for most… Let’s call it 99% of people with most schedules I’m never going to program the same body part two days in a row, whether I’m doing an upper, lower, full-body, or two full-body workouts, kind of.
53:31 Mike Vacanti: You know, here’s a good one. My old roommate, Dean, shout-out Dean, who housed me when I first moved to the city in 2013. Dean works at a hedge fund, works like 80 plus hours a week and loves working out but is very limited on when he could workout. And so when I was living with him, his options for working out were Wednesday at 4:00 AM, before taking the train into the city, Friday after work but before going out, because Dean had a lot of fun recreationally on the weekends at New York nightlife. So Friday from like 9:00 to 9:30 PM, and then Saturday, he could get a real workout in.
54:15 Mike Vacanti: And so the way that I programmed that was, he would hit full body mostly upper on Wednesday, and then we had like a push/pull Friday and Saturday with a little bit of lower body Saturday. So in the context of this question, I had his… I had him doing some lower body Wednesday. He had ample time to recover and then train a little bit of lower body intensely on Saturday. Yeah.
54:47 Jordan Syatt: What were the days of the question again? Can you just quickly repeat it?
54:50 Mike Vacanti: Friday legs, Saturday full body. So basically, can you train the same muscle group back to back?
54:56 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. It’s a great question. I would just repeat everything Mike just said, and I would say there are ways you can structure it in which it would be okay. And one way that I think about it, for example is, let’s say you’re gonna do like legit legs on Friday, then you do all legs, right? But maybe actually what I would do is I would probably switch it. I would probably do more full-body on Friday and then legs on Saturday, ’cause if you do all your legs, you’re gonna be destroyed, right? Like your whole lower body is gonna be done. So I’d probably do full legs on Friday, and then on Saturday if you wanna do full body-ish, again I wouldn’t… This wouldn’t be an ideal program, but if you decide you wanna do this, you can incorporate aspects of legs that you might not have hit very hard during your full-body workout.
55:45 Jordan Syatt: So I mean, maybe if you didn’t hit your calves, then you could do your calves during the full-body day. Maybe if your full-body day was more posterior chain dominant, more hamstrings and glutes, maybe you could do something more for your quads, close-stance goblet squats, something like that. Leg extensions if you wanna do those, sissy squats, something like that. Like those all might be great options ’cause you didn’t hit them too hard on the full-body day. But again, you can make anything work, but just because you can make it work doesn’t mean it’s optimal. But then again, it doesn’t have to be optimal for it to work.
56:20 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, well said. I think in general…
56:23 Jordan Syatt: That might have been a great quote. I need to relisten to the podcast. [laughter]
56:28 Mike Vacanti: But on the scale of… It doesn’t have to be optimal. But on the scale of optimal to not optimal, and optimal is a 100 and not optimal is a one.
56:36 Jordan Syatt: It’s pretty far down. [chuckle]
56:36 Mike Vacanti: Yeah, this is like a six, maybe, out of 100.
56:39 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah.
56:41 Mike Vacanti: If possible, if you’re wanting to get two days where you have lower body in them in the same week, try and stack them opposite of each other. That’s just gonna end up with… You’re gonna see the best progress from that.
56:53 Jordan Syatt: Also, if you have to do two days back to back, dude, don’t do the same muscle groups in those two days. Like if you have to do a Friday, Saturday, then do one upper, one lower, do one push, one pull. Like, don’t do the same muscle groups two days in a row. This is not intelligent, and there are many ways that you could do it better.
57:10 Mike Vacanti: Correct. Unless… The only example I’m thinking of is if you’re doing like five days a week or daily full-body workouts and it’s more of an advanced strategy and you’re really varying intensity and kinda know what you’re doing. I’ve never actually done that nor have I ever programmed it, but I’ve just seen it.
57:32 Jordan Syatt: That type of training takes a tremendous amount of self-awareness and sort of training knowledge. In order to do that style of training, you have to be very well aware of your intensity and very well aware of your own response to training, how sore you’re gonna be, how it’s gonna impact you. I never program that style of training for anybody because they’re realistically, the vast majority of people who can perform that type of training are probably programming it for themselves.
58:01 Mike Vacanti: Yeah. Yep, that’s true. And that’s our episode. Thank you very much for listening. We appreciate you very much. We’re having fun with these. If you would like to leave a five-star review, we really like those. And we hope that everyone has a great day.
58:15 Jordan Syatt: We really like the five stars, so thank you. Have a good day.