RU 10 | Becoming A Better Coach


Becoming a coach is not the end all be all of the journeys. Many coaches often find themselves losing because of this mentality, thinking that receiving certifications is all there is to becoming a great coach. Martin Rooney, the Founder of Training for Warriors, talks about closing the gap in coaching between those who simply get certifications and those who continue attending coaching courses and applying them. As an internationally recognized trainer, speaker, author, and pioneer of strength and conditioning, Martin believes in the power of continued growth to being an empowered coach who coaches for greatness. He shares all his insights about coaching, the fitness industry, and becoming a better coach. He fills in what is really missing in the industry while sharing how to bring out the warrior in you.

Listen to the podcast here:


Bringing The BOOM Into Your Fitness Business with Rahz Slaughter

I have the one and only Mr. Martin Rooney on as a guest. It is full of energy as we talk about coaching, the fitness industry, how do you become a better coach and what’s really missing in fitness. I hope you enjoy the episode.

There was a lesson when you got your black belt. There was something your sensei mentioned as far as when he gave you the black belt like the mission and the coaching, it starts now. I want to ask you this one quick-fire question and I want to come back to that because it makes a great point as we venture to coaching and the fitness industry. The question is, what are you grateful for?

I’m most grateful for my family. I’ve got my wife and my four daughters. I’m grateful for that because they were so patient when I was building all the things. For instance, every book that I named, that was time away from them. For the business I named, that was a sacrifice away from them, for the black belt that I named. All of those were this crazy balancing act trying to do it all. They always stuck by me and supported me. As my life has gotten to where I’m in much more control of it, being able to spend so much more time with them and see all the great stuff that they’re doing. In the end, everybody’s going to find that the most important thing is family. It’s not going to be work. It’s not going to be the trophies on your wall or how much money you got in the bank. If you add all those things, this is a new conclusion I’ve come to probably in the last couple of years has helped so many athletes and businesses and all these people be successful, that’s great. If my own kids would have been unsuccessful as a result, I would probably be a failure. My biggest achievement is my daughter being an all-American and competing at the national level in track and field. If I didn’t have the time or really spend the time on my family, that doesn’t happen.

I remember you’ve been coaching.

I coached a couple of years at the middle school and a couple of years at the high school. We broke thirteen school records. The highest finish we ever had in state history. My daughter and her relay team, we qualified for New Balance National Championships and it’s interesting because a lot of people ask me, “Why do you do it?” Maybe this will lead back to that question you wanted about when I got the black belt is I’m always still learning. I do that as a volunteer. I don’t get paid for it. To coach adults are one thing, to coach a bunch of teenagers, that’s another thing. It’s pushed my coaching and all the things that I have studied and learned and what I preach to the edge. I was having a conversation with my dad about this and I’m telling him all this stuff, all the records and all the things that have happened, and he goes, “All that stuff you talk about coaching, it sounds like it really works.” I was like, “You’re right.” I thought it was funny for it to come full circle that you can’t sit in an ivory tower or sit at a desk and talk about it. You’ve got to be about it. I’ve been diving back in and proving it. It works at any level.

You’ve been coaching the teenagers in high school and you’ve got the TFW coaching adults. How have your coaching skills improved in working with such a younger group versus working with the adults?

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on it, not by the successes but by the failures, the times when things weren’t going right. I had read this interesting book called Top Dog by Po Bronson, which validated what I really found. Coaching teenage boys and teenage girls, you don’t coach them the same. They respond very differently. This book actually had some real science behind it hormonally and everything else. It took me to a whole other level. Where adults, it’s not that different. When I’m in there coaching the TFW class, you can fire everybody up and they all get going. When I’m on tour, they’ll be hundreds of people and I’ll work them out, guys and girls. There isn’t this dichotomy or this difference but the teens, boys versus girls and the way they compete and what you have to say at the right time, you can blow it if you don’t understand it. I had to learn the hard way because I have the ability to fire people up but if you overdo that you can make them too anxious or scare them. I had to be calm with the girls, fired up out of my mind with the boys and that’s when we hit our stride.

The minute you stop growing, you're not valuable anymore. Click To Tweet

It comes within that point I was going to make with the black belt is your sensei said something to you when he gave you that black belt. Can you talk about that a little bit and how that sets up the coaches in our industry? What’s happening once someone gets that coach on the back of their shirt or gets that certification, then the game starts. Can you share that story?

When I got it, it had been so long that I almost stopped worrying about it. It’s almost like you didn’t want it anymore. Once I had transcended that, it was the day that they had this big surprise and I was presented with it and the certificate. I remember this wasn’t just I go to classes. I had to teach in Japanese. I had to compete and beat black belts a number of times in a row to be able to qualify both physically and knowledge-wise. It was an incredible experience. My sensei from Japan, he said, “I’m hesitant to give you this belt because I’ve seen what Americans do in particular when they achieve it. When they get the belt, it’s almost as if that was the goal and it’s over. I don’t want you to think that way because, in Japan, the way we look at it is when you get the black belt, that’s the beginning. That’s the start of your training,” that always stuck with me. I always tried to remain a student. You brought up a great thing that I talk about a lot. I teach coaching courses all over the world. Usually, the people that come to it aren’t coaches. When somebody who’s a coach or a sports coach or something else, it’s almost as if they can’t admit that they have things to learn as if the word coach means you know it all and you can never act like you don’t.

That’s the wrong approach where you’ve got always to be growing. In particular, you said one of my favorite quotes, one of my favorite mantras in Latin is, “Ancora Imparo,” which means I am still learning. I’ve seen that one attributed to both Da Vinci and Michelangelo. I don’t know who the one that originally said that is. One of them was in their 80s and wrote it on a work of art they were still working on. It was like, “I’m 80. I’m considered one of the most masterful in the world, yet I’m still picking stuff up.” Maybe it’s the way my brain works but I’m addicted to learning new things or gaining new knowledge and pushing the envelope. I would go nuts if I were lying around. That is the challenge I’ll put out there for anybody that’s going to call themselves a coach. Your job is to learn more and always be on the cutting edge to deliver that information to the people you train because the minute you stop growing, you’re not valuable anymore.

That ties into our industry, it’s evolving, it’s growing and it’s changing. You’ve seen this with the coaches especially in my world, coming from the big-box space, that one certification, two certifications and a year goes by and they haven’t attended anything or haven’t learned anything new. They wonder why they’re losing clients, they’re not gaining clients and they’re not keeping clients. For me, it’s the science and there’s coaching. You’ve seen in the events that fill up or the certifications. Hundreds will get a certification but very few will attend a coaching course or a coaching workshop. What’s the gap and how do we close that gap?

We have to continue to put it out there. What I’ve tried to force out there is to define what coaching really means and get people to understand it. Here’s a great line that I use a lot. Training is not coaching. People think it’s synonymous. “I went to a taping seminar or a dry needling seminar. I went and learned all about the dysfunction of the shoulder. That makes me a better coach.” No, that made you more knowledgeable about the shoulder but your knowledge means nothing if you don’t have the ability to get it across and inspire and influence somebody to use it. For instance, most people dive into nutrition and try to learn more and more about it, yet can’t get a person to eat a piece of broccoli. I don’t care what you know about nutrition if you can’t get anybody to do it.

I don’t care how many books you’ve read on sleep because if you can’t inspire a person to go home when they’re not with you and get eight hours, you’re not that valuable. You shouldn’t wonder why you’re not making the big bucks. Coaching is this whole concept of influence, habitual change, and behavioral modification. Training is about gathering lots of information that you can deliver and you’ve got to have both. I don’t want anybody to think that you don’t need training. I’ve got three degrees. Exercise and the science behind it is my passion, but I understand it has no value if I can’t get somebody to do it.

With Coaching Greatness, what makes that particular workshop different than other coaching courses or workshops?


RU 10 | Becoming A Better Coach

Becoming A Better Coach: If your people are not running through a brick wall for you and you are not getting results with every person you’re working with, you’re stealing.


I’ve been doing that course in 35 countries around the world. I still do it live but what we did do, we’re going to come out with the online version of that workshop where people still go through it like a mentorship but because there’s so much demand that I can’t be in every country anymore all the time. To describe what’s in there, it fleshes out what it means to be a coach. It challenges the individual on their own strengths and weaknesses in coaching. It’s unique because there aren’t really courses on it. For instance, when you go to college, they teach you anatomy and they teach you about the Krebs Cycle, and you learn biomechanics, and you’ll learn about the muscles and how they function.

You’re a white belt, then you’ve got to get out and learn how to communicate with people and influence them and get them to stop putting crap in the hole under their nose and go to bed without a bottle of wine at night. That is where the real stuff happens. Any trainers that don’t like that, that probably means you love science and you don’t want to hear it that it could be that simple. I would challenge you if your people are not running through a brick wall for you and you are not getting results with every person you’re working with, you’re stealing. Not only that, why are you going to go learn more about, say, the glenohumeral joint when your people aren’t losing an ounce or eating differently when they’re not with you? The coaching is such a big piece and there are no go-to books on it. My stuff has become a go-to course in the area but people have to be open enough to admit it’s something they could be better at.

What are maybe two to three things someone can do that are reading now that they can apply to their coaching training business to become a better coach?

My courses are sometimes a couple of days long, ten hours a day but if I were to distill out a few ideas, they’re hard to flesh out in a second or two. One is I’m enthusiastic. I’m on fire and I’m not on fire about me. I don’t care about me. I already know I’m excited and fired up. My job is to get somebody else that way. That would be one for everybody like, “How’s your enthusiasm score? Are you fired up out of your mind about the people that you work with so that they know you really care and you’re amped up for their results and you’ll do anything to help them get there?” If not, I don’t care what you know. If they don’t like you, they will not change the bad behaviors that they have for you. We do a whole section on enthusiasm, how to have it, how to get it and what you’ve got to do.

Maybe another one would probably be that concept of believing in someone. From my results with my NFL Combine guys to all the people I sent to the pros to Division I scholarships to all these national champion teams and different stuff that I’ve worked with, the big key was I had to believe it first. To tell me I’ve got to help somebody lose some weight, I believe they can do it. Anybody can lose some weight and build a little muscle. It’s so easy but maybe it isn’t because if I walk in and I don’t really have faith in that person and I give them some workouts and then I don’t act as I believe, maybe they won’t either.

I call a lot of these things magic. It’s almost like electricity. You can’t see it but you know it’s real but things like enthusiasm and belief and all these other things. It’s the soft skills that I’m talking about here. When I talk about coaching, I’m not talking about how to run a practice, how to warm somebody up or how to use an internal versus external cue, and they get really scientific. I’m talking about the real magic why they’re going to tell ten more people about you and bring their friends in because they know you’re the guy that’s going to help them out. If that’s not happening, before you check on, take another nutrition cert, I would check are you the most fired up person in the building and in particular, not about you or your own biceps but about that person you’re trying to help.

We never understand what’s going on in that person’s life. We’re telling them, “You’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that,” but we don’t understand that they failed at this multiple times. Here they are coming back to try it again and hopefully be in front of you and get the coaching and guidance that they need and the belief that someone believes in them that they can do it. I’ve had clients come back to me saying, “I don’t believe in myself and I’ve tried this before and I failed. What’s going to be different?” It’s the coaching that we bring and the belief we create in those clients. One of the biggest things I took away from TFW when I was going through level one, level two and running my own TFW in California was at the end of every workout we always tell a story. It was always some motivational story or some story that gets them believing that they can do this. I know the one I took away from Perform Better a few years back is the Olympian, crossbow, and arrow. He missed the target. Can you remember that story?

Training is not coaching. Click To Tweet

You said something important first to go back to and that is the part where you don’t know what people are going through but you should because here’s the thing. If somebody comes in and they’re way overweight, that’s usually why people are coming in. They stopped believing a long time ago. Your job is not to be a drill sergeant or be disappointed in them. This is a person that needs your help and the biggest help they need is to believe that this is something they can do because anybody who’s 100 pounds overweight with a bad blood report, they’re afraid of dying. That’s what they’re there for. This isn’t like, “I’ve got to come in and go #BeastMode and know my workout is important.” I want to reiterate that you’ve got to care about these people and be their biggest supporter. Every time they get a little bit of success you’ve got to be all over that. They didn’t gain 100 pounds in a week. They’re not going to lose it in a week either. This is going to be a process and a process where you’ve got to change who that person is. Training For Warriors is doing it all over the world. That is one of the things that I enjoy the most is the emails that I received from students all over the world every day and it’s never about, “I’m glad I do pushups now or a chin up.” It’s always about, “I’m not the person I was anymore. I’ve really changed.”

Back to that story, the message behind it is and this is for every coach out there, you can’t aim at the wrong targets. Here’s where I’ll challenge everybody, too. If you’re saying you want to make more money and you watch Netflix shows and you know a lot about Netflix shows, you don’t really want to make more money. If you say you want to make more money and I ask you, “What are the last ten books you read in the last a couple of months?” You say, “I didn’t read any,” or “I read half of one.” You don’t really want to make more money. If I asked, “Who are the people’s lives that you’re changing or tell me some incredible things that you’ve done outside of the gym with these people or for these people to change their lives and turn them into the version of themselves they wanted to be?” You say you don’t do that because you’re busy down at Starbucks lining up. You don’t want it and you should probably go find a career you do.

To me, give it a little tough love as a coach. This is what I experience all the time. It’s coaches that it’s like, “This isn’t fair. This is a hard business.” It’s like, “You’re aiming at all the wrong stuff.” Here’s one thing I will say, too. I can’t tell you about Netflix shows or what the new coffee is or what’s going on in maybe certain sports or whatever else because I’m not focused on any of those things. I’m focused on my business, my family and the people I’m trying to help and that means I’m aiming at the right targets. That could be a challenge. I want to deliver things of value on this. Don’t think I’m trying to say this to bring anybody down. I’m telling you how to bring it up because a coach is usually further down the path and if anybody wants to be that further down the path where I am, I’m going to show you how to do it. Definitely, one of the most important resources you have as a coach is your time. If you’re spending that poorly on a bunch of other stuff, you’re at your session two minutes before it, you’re leaving first before everybody else and you’re not out in the parking lot spending time with somebody that needs to talk something out and save their life. Don’t be surprised when it doesn’t work out.

We need to hear that tough love. It’s a reality check. If our mission is to beat obesity, fight cancer and change people’s lives, watching Netflix isn’t going to do that. For me, it was not eating right and I wasn’t exercising. I was so focused on the business and you’ve mentioned this, the balance. The analogy is the plates. How do we balance those plates? Sometimes if you forget one or don’t pay attention to one, it’s going to impact. For me, it was my weight and fitness. I ended up gaining almost 70 pounds and this is as a trainer. That’s when I first met you and that was the reality check when I was sitting at Perform Better. I was like, “I need to do something about this.” I never told you this, I never had the chance to talk to you about this but my 75-pound weight loss came because of me sitting in the audience at Perform Better in Long Beach years ago listening to you talk and what it meant to be a coach. That totally changed my life.

Thank you and not only that, for the hard work and for the vulnerability. Everybody needs to hear that. There is a responsibility that goes along with this. My take on it is you wouldn’t go to a dentist that has wooden teeth, you wouldn’t go to a martial artist that doesn’t do the martial art and maybe some people don’t want to hear it but you are your business card in fitness. You can’t get upset when the guy with the big arms and is really lean has more people but in a weird way, he may not have as many degrees but the dude lives it and he’s excited about it. He’s going to get somebody else excited about it.

It is a balance. I got back from the gym so we could get on this interview and the people at the gym were like, “You’re here early.” I was like, “I’ve got to get my workout in. If I don’t do it now and then I’ve got to train and coach later, I can’t not do it.” It’s a balance of all those things where I woke up this morning, I read, I got work done, did all the emails, got to the gym, we’re doing this interview, I’ll go train and coach and then I’ll have the evening with my family. It never balances out perfect. If you schedule it right, notice Netflix isn’t in there, we don’t watch any TV in the house. I don’t have time to waste on that but I will say 24 hours is a super long time if you spend it right and if you spend enough of those days right, you can do some really cool stuff in many years.

For you, what is the mission of TFW? I’ve seen the growth.

RU 10 | Becoming A Better Coach

Training for Warriors: The Ultimate Mixed Martial Arts Workout

We’re many years in on Training For Warriors but that was in Finland. They’re the first when they really did a full-on gym. It started many years ago when I was training world-class fighters flying to Japan, this is even pre-UFC. That’s when I wrote the first self-published book, which was called Training For Warriors, and then we did a bigger book and it became a certification and a licensing program. There are hundreds of facilities in twenty-plus countries around the world and thousands of people a day doing it. It’s grown organically. It wasn’t something that I sat down at a desk and said, “This is what I want to do.” It became what it is because it was the right thing to do and that’s what makes the feel of our program different.

What’s the mission of TFW now that you’re several years in with all these licensees?

Training For Warriors is not some big corporate organization with a billion-dollar equity fund behind it making gyms. I’m looking for heart and soul people that love fitness that wants to help people and be part of a bigger mission. The piece is impacted as many people as we can to change their life. I would have never envisioned something that started with fighters. We have a 100-pound club where all these people have lost 100 pounds. That was never the original plan but it’s so neat to see how it’s affecting these people as parents and workers and how they’re productive in their community. The ripples are far-reaching that when I got back from Finland, that’s when I understood. Many years and I really see the effect of what this thing does. I was to ask, “What’s the mission now?” “It’s to impact as many people possible as I can,” because if I’ve done that, even if it was one person, I did something good.

If you’re the average Jane and Joe person and they see the Training For Warriors, what’s typically that first response? How have you changed that response to making it more like, “This is for everybody. This isn’t just for fighters?”

We’ve made that evolution where 60% to 70% of the people using Training For Warriors are women. I can remember in the beginning people would say, “The name is too hard. It will scare people away. Women will never do it.” Number one, women like to be warriors, too. People want to be stronger and they want to be training for something. They want to be getting ready. There hasn’t been an obstacle. As we’re hitting more critical mass, somebody comes in, they see it and they go to it. What’s in a name? What does Apple mean? Apple should be something on a tree, but instead, it means a computer. What does Microsoft mean? In the end, you create your own brand or what the words mean to you. There isn’t anybody that wouldn’t like to bring out that warrior that’s inside of them a little bit. Male or female, they get it. That’s what we’re trying to create because they’ve got to go to battle every day. Hitting your alarm in the morning to get up, that’s a battle. Getting your kids off to the right things, that’s a battle. Eating the right food, that’s a battle. I’d rather be a warrior and take that battle on.

We’re all warriors in what we do in our day-to-day life. That has always been what’s resonated with me in TFW is everybody’s a warrior and everybody’s an athlete to some extent whether you’re a mom, a dad, a brother, a son. You’ve coined this term “make fitness fun.” I love this because I always try to bring this to my sessions and to my coaching clients. Where do you think fitness has gone from where it was in the past?

A handful of years ago, when I was really talking about making it fun again because I grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s when gyms were coming into vogue. I remember it was the aerobics room and that was fun, then there were group classes and that was fun. Bodybuilding was essentially fun. All of a sudden, everything got hardcore. I always make that joke like, “Everything got #BeastMode and ripping off your palm and being half dead on the ground.” It scared a lot of people away that need our help because they’re not ready for that. It became the rise of machines in your home, which are definitely not fun and it became all these group programs that not only sometimes it’s removing the fun but it’s removing the human element.

You are your business card in fitness. Click To Tweet

Now it’s come in and run on a treadmill essentially by yourself, even though there are people there and then leave. That’s not that fun. It’s especially not going to be that fun for very long. What is fun though? The bar is fun. Watching a Netflix show on a couch is fun. Going to get the new Starbucks and self-medicating on caffeine because I’m not getting enough sleep is fun. There’s an element of fun or enjoyment there but you better be wary of that and understand that you’re competing with that. A lot of coaches out there think they’re competing with the other gym down the street. “This gym came to town. I’m competing with them.” No, you’re competing for people’s free time and what they consider fun and fitness. Unfortunately not to sugarcoat it, you’ve still got to do the work and you’re still going sometimes to be sore but the coach’s job is to make that enjoyable still at least. We’ve cracked the code on a lot of that at Training For Warriors.

I was at another conference with Rick Mayo. He has given a great talk on the whole third place. The whole concept of you have work, you have a home and you have your gym or where you work out, but there’s competition within that third place. It’s not the gym down the street, it’s the wine bar, it’s Starbucks, it’s the favorite restaurants. Ideally, we look at competition as not the other gym but all the other places that they can go where they can have fun, the fun that’s not going to help them change their life or make a better life. How does Martin Rooney make fitness fun?

A lot of the signature stuff that we do in our program and a lot of doing a ton of research on behavioral science, psychology, even down to the hormonal level of what affects people and how is beyond the scope of this conversation. That’s some of the secret sauce that makes our program unique. There are a lot of things that we obviously do within the program to do that.

Can you share a few?

What I would say is, check us out. I’ve got hundreds of licensees out there so that everybody can appreciate that’s what they pay for to be part of this program and get all that information. Obviously, my loyalty in the twenty-year development of the system is to them on that. What I would advise everybody out there is whatever your version of fun is or how you can make something enjoyable that it does become the third place, you’ve got to figure that out. We’ve definitely developed our own signature stuff that we do with that, that makes us unique.

I know you’ve written quite a few books and your latest book is The Book of 5 Things. Can you talk a little bit about what those five things are?

The Book of 5 Things grew out of a handful of years of writing. What people started to tell me is, “There’s a philosophy here. You could break down everything that you’re writing about essentially into five areas.” We realize that the five areas were fitness, family, finances, faith, and fun. These were the five areas that I was always writing about in some capacity. When we saw that, we also noticed that I had this pattern that everything I would write would always give about five ideas of how to do whatever I was talking about. That’s how the book was born and when we looked into brain science, you notice how it’s hard to remember a phone number if you have the area code, too. Humans have the capacity to remember five things. What I did is I wrote a book, it has 52 chapters. If you went through one each week and you applied the five things that I covered in that one chapter a week for a year, you’d really change your life. The response has been super positive and it’s different because the original books I did were training-centric. They were exercises. It was workout plans and diet to where after having written thousands of pages on those topics, I felt like I had exhausted those. To where I started to see, it was going into the mental aspect of how you affect the people when they’re not with you at the gym. That’s when Rooney’s Rules, Train to Win, The Book of 5 Things, those were later books that all had an impact in that area that could be for anybody.

RU 10 | Becoming A Better Coach

The Book of 5 Things

The evolution of you going from the training books to more of the coaching books, what led to that evolution? Did you notice something was missing in the fitness space or as you grew and you were learning and growing, you realized this is what was needed in the fitness space?

It was a combo of that. It was, “I’ve been there. I went to every seminar on the planet. I listened to everybody. I read every book. I thought if I learned one new pushup, I’d be more valuable.” All of that time, I had no following and I wasn’t making the impact I could make. When I started to make a greater impact, I started to dissect why that was happening and I realized, “It was the way I was coaching these people, not what I knew.” I was actually using less. That’s always one of the biggest jokes is when I was working on these NFL Combine guys, I had the fastest guy at the Combine so many times and we had 23 four threes on the lasers and a billion in contracts from all our draft picks.

The training was so basic but the coaching was so deep and that’s when I started to dive into another piece about it and another piece until it evolved to where I really realized this was a gaping hole. People are coming out of colleges with an exercise science degree but they don’t know how to talk to a human being and they don’t know how to get one person to do anything and then they would fail. I would watch the gym after gym close, yet the person that has a lot of passion for fitness and a lot of knowledge about science, they were missing the coaching. Obviously, the business elements, which then pushed me into that genre as well. If I were to ask, “Where do I spend most of my time?” It’s in the business of fitness and coaching versus I got enough pushups, I got more pushups than I could ever teach and none of that has any value if your business isn’t viable or you don’t have a staff of people that can coach.

What are you noticing? What do you see now is some of the challenges the trainers that are coming in, opening up their studios or have had studios and haven’t been successful or ran into some challenges? What are you noticing is missing from a business perspective?

A lot of things but what I would say is one of the biggest challenges is there are a lot of people that they probably, first off, are not entrepreneurs. They want to believe they are but they aren’t. They probably shouldn’t even own businesses but the boutique space that they play in is changing were a lot of big money is coming in and making it way harder for them. What does that mean? One of the things these people are also missing is capital, both human and financial, where oftentimes they don’t have a staff. They’re one person on their own and their bootstrapped. They’re opening up a place really cheap. It’s not that great. They don’t have a lot of things in place and it’s going to get harder and harder to compete without a system and definitely some money behind you. The game is changing where years ago, you could open up in an industrial place, dirt and chalk on the floor, and it’s hardcore and it’s cool. If you’ve noticed, a lot of those places are going away. These boutique spaces that are $750,000 to open with $250,000 equipment packages and they already got big staffs and investor that never sets foot in the building. It’s a new game.

I see it a lot in the big-box space where a lot of the big-boxes are actually looking at the boutique saying, “What are they doing that we can bring into the big-box space?” What you’re seeing is a lot of them are looking at the small group training aspect, the coaching aspect, and the technology aspect. They’re realizing a lot of these boutiques are doing very well and a lot of their marketing dollars or upgrade dollars are being spent on introducing some of that in the big-box space. That competition isn’t getting harder by the boutiques but you’re talking these multibillion-dollar clubs that now are investing into something a little bit different and unique than the boutiques are offering.

I’ve been consulting for a number of those organizations and it’s a big thrust of not only coaching but creating small things that can create community. They understand like Piranha, the boutiques are chipping away at them, too. We’re going to see in a handful of years how it all shakes out. It’s definitely the battle is only getting tougher.

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What is or has been or was your rise up moment? That moment could be an email, a phone call or a conversation that because you took action on whatever that moment was it put you where you are now. What was that rise up moment for you?

That’s a tough one. There were a lot of them. Many years in, I’ve had so many, but I can remember I had a whole history at the Parisi Speed School before Training For Warriors and none of what I could have done would’ve been there without that. That’s where all the NFL Combine stuff happened and a lot where I forged myself as a coach. When I realized Training For Warriors was going to be something real, I was invited to work with the Prince of Abu Dhabi and I was flown over on a private jet, no notice and I have my visa faxed to me. I went in there and gave everything I had and that was the birth of the first self-written book and where we named the organization. When I was flying back on that private jet, there was this moment where I realized I went to a whole new level and there was no going back and that I could do it. I was prepared, I don’t know whether it was beyond the big stage or if I could be in there with some of the richest people in the world then there wasn’t any space I couldn’t play in. That’s one that I’ll always remember that feeling where I could’ve been sleeping on that plane back but I was super energized and I really haven’t looked back since.

When is the TFW jet going to happen?

People say stuff like that all the time and this is important maybe as a finale to everything. Money isn’t what drives me. I’m not a material guy. I don’t have nice stuff. I don’t drive a nice car. If you like nice cars or you want stuff, go enjoy it and do it but I’m not material, I’m experiential. That trip I did to Finland, cruising into former Russia with 1,000 people is cooler to me than a car, some flat screen TV or a watch. My thing would be I want to see another 50 countries on my list that I want to check off. I want to climb mountains, I want to have swum in every sea and I want to do things. At the end of my life, those will be the ways that I could have better spent my money or time because I’ve got nothing to prove. If anybody goes and checks out my Instagram @TheMartinRooney, there’s no flash. It’s things that I’m doing and people that I’m helping, not like, “Look I got an Amex black card,” or something.

We’ve noticed it in the space where others who are influential have gone down that Instagram influencer social media and you’ve stayed. Their identity has changed and you’ve stayed true to who you are and to what the mission of Martin is but the mission of what TFW is. I respect you so much for that because you didn’t buy into all the BS of you’ve got to be a social media person and have someone follow you around and do all that. You stayed true to what you believe in at your core. The success of yourself and TFW has risen because of that.

It’s a tough battle because social media takes so much of your time and I do try to at least keep my audience up on what I’m doing or whatever else. It is a battle because I know if I tweet things differently or was edgier or did whatever else, it leads to more followers or notoriety or whatever else. I never went down that road. You asked, “Do you want the jet?” In a weird way, I can’t wait for the day that I could shut my phone and my computer off for a few months and disappear. It’s almost like that’s really what I’m working for it then I’m going to come back and show off all these cool pictures with a fat beard. It is weird because we’re so caught up in this filtered, edited society. That’s another great message for closing this thing up. Stay true to your thing and don’t worry what anybody else thinks because that seems like the direction we’re going between Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. We’ve got to live this life that isn’t real and only show off the good stuff and make everything look way better than it is. Instead, focus your time more on getting your stuff done and helping people in the world to find out.

Where can people get ahold of you, whether it’s the TFW or to get more information about what you’re doing, where you’re speaking and all the fun stuff?

You can go to to find out more about me and our program. You could go to find me on Facebook, Martin Rooney, and also on Instagram @TheMartinRooney. I’m always updating stuff there. There are tons of Training For Warriors individual Instagram accounts. You can see some of the stuff, all the places we’re doing around the world with really cool stuff, too. I have a newsletter, I blog and I have a podcast called Into The Roar that’s got over 120 or 130 episodes on there that people absolutely love. If any of this content resonated with you, there’s a hundred hours more waiting for you between interviews and individual messages that I put on there and I put a lot of work into those. People will love it.

Martin, thank you for coming on the show. I was so excited to bring you on. Thank you for taking the time.

It’s my pleasure. The final piece, none of the stuff we talked about matters unless you use it. Before you say it can’t work, try some of it out, maybe it might.

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About Martin Rooney

RU 10 | Becoming A Better CoachMartin Rooney is the founder of Training For Warriors. An internationally recognized trainer, speaker, author and pioneer of strength and conditioning, Martin holds a Master of Health Science and Bachelor of Physical Therapy from the Medical University of South Carolina. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science from Furman University.

Martin was a four-time All-Conference, and four-time MVP performer in Track and Field at Furman and a member of the United States Bobsled team. Since the foundation of the TFW system, Martin has traveled around the world to train, compete, and conduct seminars and help prepare world-class athletes and coaches. Martin has been the martial arts consultant to the NY Giants and the NY Jets and a coach on the IFL World Team Champion New York Pitbulls. Martin is currently a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under UFC fighter Ricardo Almeida and a black belt in Kodokan Judo under Olympian Teimoc Johnston-Ono.
He has written eight books called “The Book of 5 Things,” “Rooney’s Rules”, “Train to Win”, “Success Patterns”, “The Team Renzo Gracie Workout”, “Training for Warriors”, “Warrior Cardio” and “Ultimate Warrior Workouts.”