The 2017 year has come and gone and we’ve all seen the highs and lows. The question is did you learn just as much from either of those experiences? Welcome to 2018 and let me recap some of the great moments I was privy to in 2017. COGO Fitness + Performance celebrated its 6th year in business and what a steep climb it has been. The difference though, this last year I was honoured to have worked with special populations. I got to work in a great clinic with some wonderful clients that gave me the opportunity to share some of my knowledge and experiences as well as learn new technologies that are here to help neuroscience.
I also worked on adding a new conditioning coaching certification under Joel Jamieson at 8WeeksOut. I was also invited to a great workshop within the same certification where I met some very interesting coaches from around the world and learned a ton about myself, my business, and my dreams; this also gave my wife and son an opportunity to join me on a family road trip, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love road trips. I also began my Precision Nutrition Coaching level 1 course which I hope to finish in the next few months; I’d gladly recommend it to all of my colleagues in the industry. I’ve added all of this continuing education in hopes to bring more value to my clients, personal and online. On that note I’ve started to grow my online training, I can’t speak enough of my online clients as I see some real perseverance, I tip my hat to you all followed by a big internet hug.
As I welcome 2018, I think back to 2017 bringing me the greatest birthday present a father could ask for, the birth of my son. We share a birthday, smiles and facial expressions, more importantly I feel we share the same silly sense of humour. I work harder and laugh more because he’s in my life, and what can I say, having the love of my life at my side helps me get up in the mornings and want more for the both of them. I find that 2017 has helped me become more imaginative in my craft once again. Keeping with my philosophy on training but opening doors to so many facets of training to try and improve my clients health with the help of science. With the recent holiday trip I was able to introduce my son to my parents which was huge since we live continents apart, nonetheless, being back in Chile over the holidays with my wife and son, and meeting new family was a beautiful experience I believe will be cherished for the rest of our lives.
I decided to put a different spin on accountability within my profession and clients this last year, I feel that my industry falls short because we are so bent out of shape when it comes to only training and what we eat. Unfortunately science tells us differently and learning from some great mentors I went back to the books and began relearning my schooling. Aside that, I truly feel that we aren’t actionable enough when it comes to laying down the roadmap for our clients and it goes beyond exercise and food. If you allow me a moment on my soapbox; you’re just not digging deep enough into why your clients can’t stay accountable. Well we’ll leave that for another day, for now let’s keep reminiscing on 2017 and see how COGO Fitness + Performance is going to improve in 2018!
I can tell you that one improvement this year is going to start with the inception of Versa Movement Collective, a new company and incredible project that I’m working on with some fantastic health professionals who I now call friends. You can find us on all social platforms and at www.versamc.com to find out more about us. This is the company which will stop separating our professions individually, rather we bring forth a holistic approach to an individual’s improvements in their respective sport or general lifestyle. At the moment we’re specializing in golf as well as long distance runners due to two of our team’s professionals, but as we grow we would like to invite top professionals from all sport disciplines. For now we are working towards finding a facility, continue our VMC Education videos on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook to add a little knowledge to those interested in adding to their programs; and mainly starting to create the buzz that there’s a new Sheriff in town.
2017 was about building foundations and education from school, mentorships, workshops, etc. I’d like to take a small moment to give thanks to a very special friend of mine, a mentor, and part owner of BioPod (please checkout this product, it is at the forefront of ecosystem technology). He flies in from all over the world to impart business wisdom where he can, and I believe it has made me a better business owner, friend, father and husband. I’d love to thank my wife for putting up with me working from home as she is on Mat leave, in my underwear at times, and my moods, as well as the odd pot shot from the cheap seats. What I’m truly thankful for, is that I get to see my little monster man grow up while I work from home.
2017 helped me to mold values into my company. My love for what I do and my love for my clients past and present, is beginning to define itself in what I do, my training and my approach to how I treat others. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself, do you want to be loved and respected by someone that puts so much time into your health, or do you want to simply workout. I personally feel that 2018 is the year where developing long lasting relationships will not only sustain my business as well as my life, but also grow substantially in regards to understanding my surroundings and the people in it. I’ll stop there, but with open arms I’d like to welcome you all to 2018, let’s leave the resolutions aside and become resolute towards the things and those we love the most.
Hey 2018! Stay healthy my friends…
Your Coach, Franco Gomez
VERSA MOVEMENT COLLECTIVE; my new journey, and although I’m writing from the COGO point of view, I wanted to share a new experience that I’ve taken on; a new business, new friends, and a new journey. I’ve always been a fan of people, companies, or entities that inspire change. Think back far enough and you’ll remember names that were part of many revolutions, whether revolts against empires or technological advancements that moved the world forward. Wherever you look you will always find a name, a person or a community that’s come together to make a difference in this world. I believe the choices we make are etched in history, it sounds bold by saying this considering that you might think I’m just a drop in the ocean; but I believe it. I believe that the way you speak to someone, your mannerisms, your voice and your posture can inspire a bold courage in people. It can change someone’s outlook and more importantly it can move a community into talking about what it is you did for them. It can inspire a journey, and all it took was a conversation.
I met one of my partners for Versa Movement Collective in 2013 after my motorcycle accident. It’s interesting but our city had just experienced a flood a month prior to that event. I was just starting a conversation with the love of my life, and my business was in a very uncomfortable stage where you’re trying to move forward but the catch 22 of needing money to make money, to put money into a business; that was learning the hard truth about business. The storm hit Calgary that late spring and it didn’t stop, the water came and our city came to a resounding halt. Nat and I would ride our bicycles in areas downtown and it looked like the zombie apocalypse had hit it as the streets were bare and some of them underwater. We lent a hand here and there when we could and in the midst of things we got closer then we had expected; it was the best rollercoaster life ride I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
The first night of that years Calgary Stampede, I’m out for a ride on ‘The Black Mamba’ (my Harley Night Rod) visiting a friend’s bar in town, and on my way home I get bumped off the road and into the back of a parked taxi. In one second the lights went out. I remember waking up on my hands and knees, blood coming down over my eye from a cut on my brow, and my arm hanging as it was dislocated. I remember my legs hurt as well as my knees but I thought at least I’m standing. I grabbed my right arm and put it back in, a very painful process I might add, and after the chaos of cops, ambulance, firefighters and the nurses that were around the corner just happening by, I headed to the hospital. My dear old dad sleeping in the chair next to my hospital and me thinking how the hell did I end up here, either way, it was time to move forward.
I remember looking at a business card the doctor gave me in the hospital, telling me I was going to need physio at some point. So as it happens I met my first physiotherapist, he was very knowledgeable young man and very attentive, to be honest, regardless of having been my first ever physio visit in my life I was very impressed with the treatment. This physiotherapist is not my business partner though, No my business partner stepped in when the other headed to help out in the Sochi Winter Olympics. Equally knowledgeable, excellent treatment, and the conversation seemed unforced and comfortable. We spoke science and training, and shared stories of athletes we were working with here and there. We even began referring back and forth over the next few years, he was such a professional it came natural to work with him. So I have to say I was more than pleased to hear the message on my phone asking for a business chat and a coffee this past summer.
After banters, and meetings, and really working on our company’s vision, we realized it was time to invite a third partner; someone that could bring business development to our team. I was pleased with my second partner, great experience in the fitness community with her own franchise at one point, I felt she could bring some clout to our game. And so, this is how a conversation led to the birth of VERSA MOVEMENT COLLECTIVE. We are not a Physio company, we are not a training and performance company. We are not a fitness company or a personal training company. We are the start of your journey, we want to be a huge part of your experience from the moment you walk in to see us, to the moment you step onto the pitch, the ice, the road, or your office. We want to complete the holistic circle of what health really is. When I was approached for the first time, and after the proposal was on the table I said one important thing that I hold dear to my heart. “I’m in on one condition, we’re not just another physio clinic with training services, or vice versa; this city has enough of those.” We are a human performance company, and like that the wheels were in motion.
I was introduced to two top professionals in their field; Jay Miren a Golf Performance professional with more experience in his field and assessment technologies that I truly believe Calgary will have its first golf tour professional in no time. Then I met Malc Kent of MK Performance, a running coach whose knowledge of the sport and his clout within the industry is unsurpassed. Having worked at EXOS and consulted with NIKE as well as Red Bull he brings a myriad of training methodologies for the long distance running game. Again I believe we may begin building Olympic calibre distance runners, especially when living so close to the mountains; personally I believe it’s time we up our game in Canada. Now as the company grows we are definitely looking to expand our team with proven professionals that will add a compliment to VMC, but for now I believe we have a great foothold in the door.
Now we can take performance to the next level, we can take an individual and walk them through their journey by helping them with injury prevention, skills, and strength and conditioning. I know right now you might feel a little vulnerable and think that this might not exactly fit in with what you do. Maybe this might sound intense and all you want is a physio, or maybe you just need some personal training. Well don’t forget that this is your journey and we want to be your guides. You want to succeed in your local squash tournaments, then there’s still a need to experience our expertise. You still need to look at your movement efficiency, your mobility, your strengths, speed and conditioning. We also want to look at your week in review, your work, your eating habits as much as your sleep habits. Life is holistic, it’s a circle that needs to stay closed and we want to teach you how.
Imagine if you will, if I was to draw a circle on a board, and I asked you a slew of questions but we’ll keep to the simple ones. First you went through our TPI, or FMS and/or SFMA assessment; and you were also capable of doing our VERSA Conditioning test. Now we came into the room and we erased the first line off that circle; the first line was for a lack of mobility in your shoulders and ankles, then we erased a little more because your ergonomics began to fail under duress in the conditioning test. Then we took more off because your sleep habits were very erratic.Your diet wasn’t bad but it could definitely have some improvement due to your daily activities, so a little more came off the circle. You look at the board and you don’t see a circle anymore. The circle’s been broken, and it gives us a starting point to work from. When we say we want to improve your life, as you can see we actually mean it.
At VERSA MOVEMENT COLLECTIVE we don’t look at you from a fitness point of view, or a physio point of view. I personally don’t look at your programming from an exercises point of view. As a team we want to know more about you and what are the cause and effects that make up your daily life. It is the only way to help improve the woman on the golf course, the kid stepping on the ice for his Junior A tryouts, or the law office about to enter this summer’s corporate challenge. We want to take a comprehensive and systematic approach to an individual’s improvement, teaching them the very foundations of what our company stands for. There is a science or method to our madness, and as you can see journeys start in different ways. Mine was different then my partners, not better and not worse; just different. Imagine wanting and believing in something so badly that you know if given the chance you could change the world. You could inspire change in a mindset that needs change, you can become that revolutionary company and hope to sit alongside the Apples and Googles and all the inspirational leaders you looked up to. Welcome to VERSA MOVEMENT COLLECTIVE, this is my journey, we want to know yours…
Your Coach, Franco Gomez
The mats are soft and padded but like an eraser rubbing it’s way across paper, I try my hardest to turn and gain the advantage. The gi gets heavier as you struggle and heave at each other increasing the vat of sweat building up on your body. And the eraser gets harder to move and I’ve got a 27 year old, 6’ 1 – 175Lb kid trying to twist me, and yank at my joints. He presses his weight on me when necessary to pancake me down, and it feels like all you could hear in the dojo is the heavy breathing of a 44 year old man. It’s loud and laboured and it’s the only survival I have left in this rolling session. 3 – 5 minute rounds and an average of 3 – 5 opponents; survival is the key word in this sentence. Not because my life is at stake but more so because as much as I was lucky to have a natural affinity to the sport, I feel slightly outmatched from a few different perspectives, and all that’s left is a broken ego. What can I say, boys will be boys, gracefully entering their forties
So let’s have a closer look at these perspectives for a moment, first off there’s a massive age gap, which benefits my opponent based on a comparison of heart rates, resting heart rates, and heart rate variability which are major components that aid the much younger opponent. Give hm 6 inches in height and 10 pounds and I have a problem! Here’s the thing though, give him the weight and height difference, even out our skill level (he happens to be a higher grade) and give me back 15 years and this young lad has a challenge on his hands. Needless to say, I was chocked out twice, and experienced a few armlocks. But he was kind enough to share some insight on my jiu jitsu skills and strategy on my way to the next opponent, so all was not lost.
One in particular that I recall was in regards to my breathing and the lack of control I was experiencing. Of course this young man doesn’t know that I’m a trainer and that I understand what the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing are. Or that I also know that I need to work on my own strength and conditioning, specifically conditioning. Maybe spend less time on the laptop and more time on technique, breathing, my autonomic system, and yes, I get it, my conditioning needs more work.
I know that at 44 years of age, I’m not at retirements door but there’s definitely a change in my body type now (my fault), and there’s a definite change in my metabolism (age), and here’s the big one which I can’t bore people enough about. There is a definite change in my recovery time and it doesn’t help that once again, my conditioning needs more work. Now we’re not just talking about recovery heart rate after intense training, but more so recovery the day after. It’s interesting but as of late I’ve been hearing the same tale of the tape. Old friends approaching me because they want to get back into shape again, they walk around in pain, or can’t play a simple game of basketball with their daughters; some entering their forties and others already there.
You hear the traditional expressions, ‘boys will be boys,’ ‘men are all boys inside,’ ‘boys never grow up.’ We do grow up, as kids though we just enjoy playing hard, we taunt each other and tease, then we get older and the jokes get wittier, and still think we can roughhouse the way we used to. Well we still can, we just don’t get out of bed with a spring in our step the next day like we used to. Our hormones start to change, for example we produce less testosterone, our muscles begin to atrophy a little, our V02 max decreases which means we have less conditioning performance, which also means we recover slower from training and sports.
Yet we still want to hike a little faster, ride a little faster, and play a little harder. Ok maybe this blog is a little bit more about self realization, and the understanding that there is the ever fragile male ego in contention on top of the performance aged disabilities. That’s right, we seem to forget that inside all of us men, there lies that daring boy waiting to peak his head and challenge us to do the unthinkable still. And we take these challenges without a care in the world, even with families to take care of, or jobs that we need to punch into, and any other general responsibilities life has us doing. At some point we need to take a step back and realize that our game has to get smarter, not harder.
My body’s a storyboard of injuries, let’s do a top to bottom and I won’t delve into every adventure attached to the injuries because some come with R-rated stories and it was in a different time of my life. Let’s begin with the scar on hy head, the one above my mouth and the bridge for front teeth. The rubber neck, the shoulder dislocations that are in double digits. Broke my left elbow and left wrist, and cracked six knuckles in both hands with dislocated thumbs. The scar in my back, both knees with sprains and tears, ankle sprains and turf toe (I hate turf toe). And the coup de grace, right achilles tendon rupture. I know, you’re thinking how is this guy still prancing around, but I am and enjoying my life with family and a new business on the horizon.
The difference these days like I mentioned earlier, is I need to play a smarter game. I do this by listening to my body when it comes to training and sports. There’s no medals to be won, only pyrrhic victories with scars and pain to remind you of your squandered youth. Rest is a welcome sight, training my mobility and core strength within a session is now a must, and not at the end of a program if I have time to get to it either. My training is full body and sport specific so I have enough juice in the tank to grapple with the young fellas. And let’s not forget that there’s a brand new little man in my life now that I love to roughhouse with, which means if he’s half as crazy as I was growing up, I’ve got my hands full.
Finally there’s my wife as well. Let us not forget that us men in our forties, are performance through and through, and I don’t just mean weekend errands. That’s right guys, you can’t just sit on your laurels and hope that the memory of your slimmer sexy physique is what keeps the wives happy. Our performance doesn’t just stop on the court, the turf, or the mat. No, we also need to perform in all aspects of our lives, don’t forget the saying, “happy wife, happy life,” and yes read into that statement as much as you need.
We want to be boys and we want to play hard all of our lives, and no one can tell us differently. But humans like life, we are ballistic and dynamic, we’re also static and sedentary, with ups and downs and it moves some of us to be adventurous or relaxed. I’m not saying we need to stop playing sports, or training too hard, rather we need to play smart, we need to listen to our bodies and rest when needed, and we need to have the energy to perform in the right moment. Personal training has become popular once again to those in these same predicaments, I train men in their forties and a little less to feel young and proud and energetic so that longevity becomes important once again. You now hear the term ‘dad bod,’ and although funny sounding it comes with a little sting. A small reminder you’re not the man you used to be; but maybe, just maybe, you can be that man once again. With him brings the boy you and everyone loves, who knows, maybe tonight instead of a beer and watching a game, head upstairs a little earlier and; well, you get the picture…
Stay healthy my friends!
Your Coach, Franco Gomez