Meet Ron McKeefery, VP of Performance and Education for PLAE [Interview]

Meet Ron McKeefery, VP of Performance and Education for PLAE [Interview]

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) on September 9, 2019 — Updated on November 19, 2023

Get the Basics…

  • Achieving Longevity as a Strength Coach
  • Staying Curious and Continuing Education
  • Pursuing Action above Accolades

The world of health and fitness seems to be changing rapidly every single day. If you are starting your own fitness business, it can almost be impossible to fathom what it will take to provide high-quality performance and to stay relevant in a business that is constantly evolving.

Today, we’re talking to Ron McKeefery who will share his vast experience as a strength and conditioning coach, an author/educator, and an entrepreneur. He discusses how he combined his passion for coaching with a willingness to ask questions and the humility to be adaptable to achieve success and longevity in the ever changing health and fitness industry.

Mike Boyle - Sled Push
“The Exercise.com team is amazing, and their all-in-one software is more than we ever expected! All of this is made possible by a high-quality team.”
Mike Boyle
Co-Founder, MBSC

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better with the best sports performance gym softwareschedule a demo today!

Meet Ron McKeefery, Iconic Strength & Conditioning Coach

Schimri Yoyo: Okay, thank you again for joining us. This is Schimri Yoyo with exercise.com. We are continuing our interview series with fitness experts. Today, we are blessed to have a legend, long-time strength coach in the game, Ron McKeefery, who is currently the Vice President of Performance and Education for PLAE Global. That’s PLAE, P-L-A-E. He’s also the host of the Iron Game Chalk Talk Podcast.

Thank you, Coach Ron, for joining us today.

Ron McKeefery: Schimri, it’s awesome to be a part of it, man. Thanks so much for having me.

Schimri Yoyo: Alright, let’s jump right into some of your background a little bit. What are some of the sports that you played, growing up?

Ron McKeefery: Football is pretty much the sport that is my passion. That’s what I grew up playing. Really, I didn’t get a chance to start playing until I was in eighth grade. I grew up in a single parent [home] with five kids. Just couldn’t afford it.

Didn’t play an organized sport until eighth grade, which is when I started playing football. Then, through high school, I did wrestling. Played tennis for one year, but got kicked off the tennis team because I went from football to wrestling to tennis. It wasn’t a good combination.

I played a little bit of everything. I swam. Like I said, I played tennis. I’ve always been active and try to do different things. Now, I mountain bike and I do jiu-jitsu. I think it’s something that’s important. Sports are important. It breaks down a lot of barriers. It’s always something that I’ve just kind of craved and had to have in my life.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay, that’s great. From playing sports and your passion for sports, is that what then pushed you towards the health and fitness industry as a profession?

Ron McKeefery:  I wrote a book a few years back. In that book, it really forced me to think about what started me down the strength and conditioning journey. It all traced back to—I’ll spare you all the details—but it traced back to me walking a different direction home, and I came across a football field. Went out there, and the coach let me watch practice when he didn’t need to. The quarterback threw me a ball, and it went through my hands and busted my nose up. From that moment on, I wanted to be that quarterback.

Through that, I ended up playing high school football and played quarterback. Became a self-made athlete. Got a college scholarship. Played in college. That process of becoming a self-made athlete made me fall in love with the weight room.

At that time, 20 plus years ago, strength and conditioning wasn’t what it is today. The idea of being able to do that as a career was new and wasn’t mainstream. I really had to work to get into it, but once I found it, I was like, “Man, that’s what I want to do.” I guess the rest is history from there.

Schimri Yoyo: That is good. You were trusting the process long before Joel Embiid came along.

Ron McKeefery: Yeah, haha, that’s right.

Schimri Yoyo: He owes you some royalties

Ron McKeefery: Haha. Yeah, I guess so.

Schimri Yoyo: Obviously, you’re one of the pioneers in the industry, but as you’re in the industry, did you have any peers or any mentors that you were able to bounce ideas off of as you were growing and developing in the industry?

Ron McKeefery: I was very fortunate. I wasn’t a pioneer, by any means. There were definitely guys that were doing great things. I stand on the shoulders of giants. The teachers that I had, coming through, I had Tim Maxey, who’s the liaison with major league baseball, at this point, was one of my first bosses with the Kansas City Royals. Mark Asanovich with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a big influence in my life.

Then, from there, I basically became a head strength coach. I became a head strength coach at 23 years old. My peers kind of became mentors. Guys like Mickey Marotti at Ohio State, Ken Mannie at Michigan State. Those are guys that I would turn to just to try to figure this thing out.

Fortunately for me, they would spend time with me, and invest in me, and help me, and point me in the right direction so I could navigate this profession that can be land mines, at times.

Schimri Yoyo: You talked about football was your first love and your passion as you were a player. Is that the same as your training? What’s your favorite sport to help athletes train for or get prepared for?

Ron McKeefery:  It was funny because coaching and the sport of football are really what raised me. I always saw myself as a football coach in the weight room. That being my specialty, I went, and I was going to go to medical school. I majored in biology, and I was going to go down that path. Learned, basically my senior year, that I could become a strength coach. That sounded a lot more fun to me than another four years of medical school.

I went down that path, but football has always been the sport that’s been my focus and where I’ve, I guess, made a name for myself, per se. Really, in the last three years, this is the first time that I’ve really been—

Even though I was the head strength coach at Tennessee and South Florida and some of these other places where I was responsible for all of the sports. I didn’t really work with any other [sports]; I just managed the coaches that did.

In the last three years, I’ve been exposed, working with teams all around the world, with rugby teams, and professional lacrosse, and 29 of the Chinese Olympic teams. All these different sports—cricket, and handball, and sports that I would have never even come across—or would sometimes even look down on—now, I’ve really come to find genuine respect for. It’s made me a better strength coach, for sure.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, what do you do when you’re not training? What do you do outside of your profession, for fun, like some of your leisure activities?

Ron McKeefery: My wife, she’s in the other room, she would probably come in here and tell you that I don’t really have any hobbies. I’m always working. I live by an adage, “If you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life.” That’s honestly kind of my feeling.

I enjoy the sport and strength and conditioning. I enjoy working with athletes and coaches. I enjoy the entrepreneurial side of the profession, at this point. Then, my true hobbies that I’ve really only come to find in the last three years are jiu-jitsu and mountain biking.

Yeah, those are two things that are really—I tell people that those are my forms of mindfulness. I’ve tried the whole getting in a quiet room, and guided meditation, and all those types of things. It’s never worked for me. My brain just races. It’s hard to think about anything else other than being present when you’re mountain biking, or you’re going to end up eating a tree. It’s a form of mindfulness for me, and I really enjoy it.

Principle-Based Approach & Adaptability

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. Alright, now, let’s talk about some of your philosophy of training. If you were to, say, have to sum up your practice and methodology in one word, what would that be?

Ron McKeefery: I think I always, whenever I speak, I talk about that I’m a principle-based strength coach instead of a philosophy-based strength coach. I would say principled is probably my one word.

Early in my career, I had grown up kind of, I grew up down the street from a very accomplished weight lifter coach that coached several people to gold medals. I grew up around weight lifting and traditional periodization. When I went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was almost traditional high-intensity training. One set to failure.

I saw the results of both and how they both worked. That was a really important part of my process is learning that there are lots of ways to skin a cat. There are lots of ways to train athletes. There’s always a cost-benefit ratio that exists, and you have to evaluate that. You also have different environments and different tools available to you that you have to be able to use.

When I was coaching over in China, to give you an example, I’d talk to the staff about trying to get some bumper plates in. I thought that that went through in translation. We went and set up the weight room. About 10:00 at night. We went in the next morning—it was our first day of training for that new phase and the first day that we’re going to work with the athletes.

Between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM, they had come in, and completely wiped out the entire weight room, and sent it off somewhere. I guess they thought that I said I didn’t want any of those weights and that I wanted only bumpers. There became a blank room that we had to train the athletes in and get stuff done for a week. Traditional powerlifting or weight lifting wasn’t going to work in that situation.

You got to have lots of tools in the toolbox. You got to be able to call upon that. Being principle-based, having a set of principles that guide your training allows you to adapt to different situations.

Schimri Yoyo: I was going to say, that’s very flexible of you and adaptable. Shows your ingenuity.

Ron McKeefery: You have to be.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s right. Now, what’s the greatest lesson that you’ve learned or that you’ve given in strength, and conditioning, and in fitness?

Ron McKeefery: In my podcast, I always ask the question, “What’s your biggest mistake, and how did you learn from it?” Inevitably, I get asked that same question.

What I tell people is that I had to learn not to confuse passion with emotion.

Whenever I would have an athlete show up late, I wanted to show them how passionate I was about them doing the right things because that was going to lead to wins, and losses, and those types of things. What I would often do is show an emotional response to where, if you go to South Florida, there’s a dent in the door where I threw a 45-pound plate at a kid for being 5 minutes late.

I would have this emotional response. Oftentimes, when you have that, you can break down that relationship to the point of no return. You can still hold athletes accountable. You can still hold clients accountable. Take the emotion out and really have an opportunity to have a conversation.

Then, hold them accountable, and explain why you’re passionate about what you’re doing, and eventually, they’ll either, they’ll seat themselves, or they’ll rise to the challenge.

Schimri Yoyo: During your time in the collegiate ranks, what would you say was the role of the athletic trainers and the strength conditioning coaches, as far as building or being part of the culture of the athletic program?

Ron McKeefery: Obviously, there’s a difference between sports medicine and strength conditioning. I think there’s a stigma of that has to be almost a confrontational type of relationship. That absolutely shouldn’t be further from the truth. It should be a very cohesive relationship. If you have mutual respect for one another, you work with one another, understand there are different skill sets that you both bring to the table, then it’s usually a pretty good relationship.

In terms of developing culture, I think it’s probably been said a bunch in this podcast, even, or this series that you’ve been doing. A strength coach touches more people in one day than most people touch in one year. The impact that you have, the potential that you have to make a change in your organization, good and bad, is there every single day. I don’t think there’s another position that has more effect on the culture of an organization, at the collegiate level, than the strength coach.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, what’s the biggest difference that you’ve experienced between training professional athletes and amateur athletes?

Ron McKeefery: I think you’re dealing with a more informed consumer. You’ve got—when you’re at the professional level, or better yet, when you’re at the college level, you have athletes that are just starting off, that they don’t really know—they haven’t really gone through any kind of real development yet. A lot of them are coming from a hodge-podge of experiences, where it might have been their position coach, or a parent, or somebody that would have done their training before.

You got athletes that will blindly follow you, regardless of what you put out there. When you’re dealing with a pro athlete, you’ve got a bunch of people that have achieved and gotten to the highest level of sport doing different systems. They have a belief system that is in that. It becomes difficult, sometimes, when you’re trying to convert them to a different belief system for them to adapt and to be a part of that.

When dealing with a more informed consumer, it becomes this kind of give-and-take and this two-way street. You really have to find motivation in the creativity of that process. I always tell people that you have to be a master manipulator to be an elite coach because you have to trick athletes, sometimes, into the right thing, but do it in a way that makes them feel like it was their decision.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, that’s a great answer. Was there ever any athlete, professionally or even amateur ranks, that just left you awestruck with their natural ability or strength composition during a training session?

Ron McKeefery: I mean, there’s a ton. It seems like I’ve always been stuck with the athletes that are kind of the problem child, to some degree, to the weight room, because those are the athletes that typically are the great athletes without wanting to do anything else. They were all-state in high school without doing anything. They were All-American in college with maybe walking in the weight room a couple of times. They’re All-Pro without really doing much work.

Guys like Warren Sapp comes to mind. Warren was just naturally gifted. Probably couldn’t point you to the right direction of the weight room at Miami. He was a Hall of Famer. Just phenomenal strength. Derrick Brooks was a [guy with] phenomenal work ethic. Mike Alstott, Warrick Dunn were both guys that were just incredible in different ways. Mike Alstott was what I’d call stupid strong. Just didn’t know how strong he was.

We had guys like Marvin Jones, who ended up going to [MMA, Mixed Martial Arts], that was repping 405 when I walked in the very first time on bench. James Harrison. You’re a Northeast guy, so you know James Harrison. When he was on the Bengals, and then the guy was probably, he was doing one-leg leg curls with 175 pounds. I mean, as crazy as that sounds, that’s one of the most impressive things that I’ve ever seen.

All those guys were great in their own ways. It took kind of, I mean, those were naturally gifted guys. They would work hard. James Harrison works at it every single day. Finding them, when you’re a coach, especially when those guys look like Greek gods, and you might not be 6’4″ and a monster, you have to find ways to tap into their motivations.

Ultimately, their motivation is that they want to stay on the field so that they can make money, long-term. If Warren Sapp, at the time, would make a million dollars a game, he had a $16 million a year contract. If he could play four more games, that was four more million dollars in his bank account. That became the motivation, as opposed to, “I’m going to help you bench more.” He didn’t care about benching more. He cared about staying on the field longer.

Schimri Yoyo: You actually answered my next question, as far as how do you find different motivation, so that’s good. You kind of have to be part psychologist.

Ron McKeefery: It’s the name of the game.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, we see a lot of different athletes, now, are specializing in different sports and getting different coaches at younger ages. What are your thoughts on, are you more pro playing a lot of different sports, growing up, training different muscles, or specializing early? Where do you fall on that?

Ron McKeefery: I’m a big fan of playing lots of sports. I think that, especially the last three years, where I’ve learned, again, about sports that, I grew up in the Midwest. I was actually born in Philadelphia, but I grew up in the Midwest. Lacrosse or hockey were two sports that I had never even really seen or been around.

If I would have been able and have access to those, having been a pretty good football player, that would have been a natural progression, there, and I would have benefited. Both of those sports would have benefited my football game. My football game would have benefited me in those sports.

Now, thinking about it, working with a lot of these Olympic sports, like rugby, never even seen a rugby game until I was an adult. Something I wish I would have been around, and seen, and tried. I think, for these athletes, early on, this early specialization that they get, it limits athletic development. Where, who knows, you might be trying to specialize into baseball early, but they’re really an all-American point guard. They just never got a chance to do that.

I do think that there comes a time when you’re making a decision on where, if you have the genetic ability and potential to go and maybe get your schooling paid for or make a professional league, you have to be skewed one direction to be elite. I don’t think you do that early. I don’t think you do that before college, but once college hits, you better be one sport, probably.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay, that makes sense. Thanks for that answer. That’s very thorough. Now, in your opinion how are speed, flexibility, and strength all related? How do they relate when it comes to an athlete’s performance?

Ron McKeefery: I think so many times people look at these elements, and they think of them as individual, abstract things. Really, it’s a continuum. Speed and strength, they live on the same continuum. Same thing with anaerobic and aerobic conditioning. They lie on the same continuum.

You have to spend time developing all of these qualities. Now, if you’re dependent on a sport where you have specific energy systems that you have to be prepared for, then you need to skew your training towards those qualities, but not in complete abandonment of the others.

Just because you’re an anaerobic sport doesn’t mean you can completely abandon your aerobic training. That could be addressed by elevating your heart rate in your warmup for 20 minutes. It doesn’t have to be a 20-minute jog, or elliptical machine, or something.

I think you got to develop all of those qualities. I think you’ve got to find where you’re deficient. Mike Boyle would always say that you’ve got different buckets. Wherever you’re getting your buckets filled, and you’re topped off, keep, maintain those, but focus on some of the other buckets that you might be more deficient in.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, we sometimes hear about high school athletes, and collegiate athletes, and even pro athletes, at times, suffering from heat-related illnesses. What are some ways that coaches and athletes can be proactive to prevent this from happening?

Ron McKeefery: I think the first thing is year-round training. I think, especially when you’re dealing with athletes at the college level or professional level, you can’t afford to let yourself go too much. You can’t afford to just take off a month, and then come back, and expect to be performing at a high level.

I think continuously training, and manipulating sets, and your volume, and your intensity throughout the year, I think, is very, very important. I think the acclimatization period of different extreme temperatures, so cold and heat, I think you have to acclimate to that in some capacity. You’re going to the one-a-day practices, like a lot of football teams have done, I think makes a lot of sense. Creating opportunities for athletes to get used to—

I think we’ve got to continue to really develop and put time and resources into technologies that would help support these athletes. Better helmet ventilation. Better garment, and shoulder pad ventilation, and things like that. Making sure that we’re looking at our heart rate, and our GPS data, and things along those lines to be able to create the optimal rest periods throughout a practice, and not just accepting what’s been done before is the same and should be done currently.

I think a combination of all those things. It’s typically, it goes back to everything in moderation is good. Don’t go too skewed in any one area.

Schimri Yoyo: Avoid the extremes.

Ron McKeefery: Avoid the extremes. I think that’s super smart.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s a great answer. You obviously have extensive experience in the field and have seen a lot of different things. What would you say is the greatest misconception that you’ve come across about the sports performance industry?

Ron McKeefery: In terms of the athletes or the coaches?

Schimri Yoyo: Either Or. Like people’s perception of sports performance training. What one thing would you say, “Okay, you’ve got this completely wrong about sports performance.”

Ron McKeefery: I mean, I think from a coaching perspective, the misconception is that we’re a bunch of meatheads with shaved heads and goatees and all we do is yell and scream up and down on the sideline. There are definitely people that fit those stereotypes.

But what they don’t see is that same person might be jumping up and down on the sideline, which, you know, to bring that kind of level of intensity and energy to an organization, most people are paying thousands of dollars of bringing gurus in to try to create the same sort of energy. That’s one thing.

What you’re also not seeing is, typically, these people have a minimum of a master’s degree. They have multiple certifications. Their charisma and their personality is something that a lot of people strive for. The ability to lead people to go and do uncomfortable things is a skillset that almost any company, any organization in the world would kill for.

That’s probably the reason why I wrote the book CEO Strength Coach. That’s my opinion: that most strength coaches if they ran any other organization, would be the CEO. They would be the owner. They would be a part of the leadership team and probably making a hell of a lot more money.

To be able to sacrifice what you have to sacrifice to be part of elite sport—time away from your family and those types of things—typically because you’re trying to give back and make an impact on young people. It is a humble servant that deserves a lot of credit. I mean, the money is getting better. You’ve got some strength coaches making, at the elite levels, making pretty good money, but there’s still a bulk of the industry that’s not making very much money, but are still putting insane—

When I made well over $200,000 as a strength coach, I did the exact same job as when I was making $9,000 in my first year. The exact same number of hours. I did the exact same intensity, and effort, and those types of things. There are a lot of people that are not making those hundreds of thousands of dollars that are doing it for the right reasons. It’s some of the most talented people on the planet.

The Global Impact of Fitness Industry

Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. Now, let’s talk, I’m going to give you an opportunity a little bit to brag about yourself a little bit and your organization, PLAE. What’s unique about the work that you’re doing with PLAE and with your other businesses?

Ron McKeefery: PLAE. I came [on to work] with PLAE three years ago. It was really the vision of the owner to create a performance and education division for a company that is obviously focused on manufacturing flooring and equipment and whatnot.

The idea [was] to help continue to bring legitimacy to the profession and to give back to the profession in unique ways. Through having both an entrepreneurial spirit as a strength coach and having experience at the levels that I did, we were able to come on and—just like Nike is a shoe company, but it’s a performance brand—we are a company that’s a performance brand.

I’ve been able to—really the only marching orders I’ve had is to go out and make an impact on the industry and make an impact on the coaches that use our products, or the coaches in general. I’ve had a chance to speak all around the world. I’ve had a chance to put on clinics around the world. We have created multiple strength and conditioning jobs from scratch and really create a very cool business that allows me to—

One of the things that was really important to me, having coached in NFL Europe, and adopted our four kids internationally, and things like that, was to get outside of just the four walls of our weight room, and do it globally, and make an impact globally, and to impact more than just the 105 guys that I had in the weight room. I get a chance to do that on a daily basis.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s great. Now, you’ve been recognized and have lots of credentials. Among your many credentials and accolades, you’ve been twice named the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year twice. By Under Armour in 2008 and by NSCA in 2016.

How does this sort of professional recognition help you with your entrepreneurial spirit, as you’ve mentioned before?

Ron McKeefery: Obviously, those were group awards. I had great staffs, and great athletes, and great coaches that allowed me to do the things that I did. I don’t know if those really helped me in—obviously, it’s helped me in terms of getting access and having a platform, and those types of things.

I think really more than anything, one of the things that I tell young coaches all the time is, “I’m not the smartest guy. I’m not the most talented coach there’s ever been. I’m definitely not the best strength coach that those awards say that I am.”

But, I am a guy that takes action. I take immediate action. I am not afraid to ask a million questions. I’m just very inquisitive. When I don’t know something, I’ll go straight to the source. I try to find the innovators. I’ll pester them with a million questions. Then, I try to take immediate action with that.

I’ve tried to do that both in the coaching profession as well as the business profession. Things that were, like P&Ls, and profit margins, and things like that. Stuff that I had never even thought about three years ago, now, I’m reaching out to CEOs and presidents of companies and trying to figure out the best way to really build an incredible business.

I think that’s more important than anything: Don’t get caught up in chasing certifications, or credentials, or awards, or anything like that. Get caught up in chasing action and not being afraid of failure.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. Action over accolades. Now, you’ve written a couple of books, and you mentioned them a couple of times earlier.

I want to give this opportunity just to give us a brief summary of each project and explain your writing process to us a little bit.

Ron McKeefery: Never in a million years would I have thought that I would have written a book. Never, ever. In fact, I was living in a condo in Michigan. It had flooded, and so I got stuck in a hotel for six months. That’s the only reason that my first book ever came about because I just didn’t really want to watch too much TV or anything, so I just started writing a book.

I wrote the first book, CEO Strength Coach, really, as a book that I wish I had as a young coach coming up, and really thinking about the profession in a holistic fashion. And I based it off of a book called E-Myth Revisited, where it broke down, to be a success, you had to be a great technician, a great manager, and a great entrepreneur. I gave examples of my career, things that I did well and things that I didn’t.

The second book was a collection of just having the podcast, and having a platform, and a network of coaches that I’ve worked with. I was able to put together an old-school, Chicken Soup for the Soul-type book, where it was a bunch of metaphorical or inspirational personal stories that coaches have used to talk to athletes, before and after lifts, to help motivate them when it comes to outside the weight room, the 22 hours outside of the weight room. It’s 99 stories from different strength coaches and really, really cool, kind of almost like a daily devotional.

Schimri Yoyo: What was the name of that project, just so our audience, if they want to check it out on Amazon or—

Ron McKeefery: Yeah, the first one was CEO Strength Coach. The second one was Weight Room Wisdom.

Schimri Yoyo: It’s Weight Room Wisdom. Definitely check it out on Amazon or Goodreads.

Ron McKeefery: Yeah, I appreciate it.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, thanks again, Coach, for your time. A couple more questions. Just want to get your thoughts on technology and social media. Are you using that at all as far as your entrepreneurial endeavors?

Ron McKeefery: I think you have to be. Again, going back to those three things. You have to be a great technician. You have to be a great manager. And you have to be a great entrepreneur.

Part of being a great entrepreneur is staying up with the times and staying current. I think that that matters as a coach, as well.

Obviously, our athletes live on social media. The world lives on social media, at this point. You have to meet them where they’re at. I use social media. I’ve always used it. I used to be a guy that would leave my cell in my truck.

I hated being on the phone. I hated the idea of social media. I think I even wrote in the book, the first book, I said, “If you told me to send you a tweet, I would have punched you in your face.” I just thought it was the stupidest thing in the world.

Now, I’ve figured out how I can use this to really make an impact on our athletes’ lives. One example was, I had, a former intern of mine was the head strength coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers (Derek Millender). Of course, they had LeBron James, at that time. I was having trouble with the guys drinking water, so I asked Derek to have LeBron James create a video telling the guys that drinking water was good.

You would have thought that—those guys thought that LeBron James was talking directly to them as they’re holding their big ol’ gallon of water and drinking water from that point on, you know? Finding creative ways to utilize it as a tool I think is super smart. I think, too many times, we’re quick to try to stay in our comfortable lanes and not learn new things.

Snapchat is something like that. Again, I think it’s the stupidest thing in the world, but my kids are off at college. My kids are off at college. I know that they like their little streaks or whatever about staying in touch with friends. I was like, “Man, I want them to stay in contact with me every day, so let’s start a streak with my kids. That way, they’re forced to stay in touch with dad.”

Whatever way that is, constantly researching things, constantly vetting things out. What I don’t do is I don’t give up a bunch of time to just surf social media. It’s a tool. I use it like a tool, and I put it away like a tool. I think that’s the most important part.

Schimri Yoyo: Great, great, great, great insight and perspective on the use of social media.

Lastly, Coach Mac, besides the Iron Game Chalk Talk Podcast, are there any other resources or magazines, books that you would recommend for our audience?

Ron McKeefery: For a period of time, I read one book through college. I read one book, and I was not somebody that embraced reading until I was an adult. From then, there was a period of time where I was reading basically a book a week. I would say, I’m probably close to that, even still.

It used to be kind of technical books about strength and conditioning. Then, it became about leadership, as I became a manager. Then, it became about entrepreneurship, when I got into business and things. Now, I rotate it. I rotate between a strength and conditioning book, a business and leadership book, and then something family-related. I’ll give you three.

I think, strength and conditioning-wise, I think [High-Performance Training for Sport by David Joyce and Daniel Lewindon] is my go-to recommendation. Really, really good book. I think for business and leadership, anything by John Maxwell or Patrick Lencioni. I think are really, really good. Chip and Dan Heath are my two favorite authors. So, Decisive and Switch and Made To Stick and The Power of Moments are excellent books.

Then, for family, The Five Love Languages is really good, and understanding that everybody loves differently. Then, there’s a book called Raising a Modern-Day Knight that was all talking about creating moments. And as a family, you deciding when your kids are meeting milestones instead of society. Those would be some books and recommendations that I would give.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s great. Thank you again for your time, Coach Mac. It’s been great to catch up with you a little bit. Good luck in the rest of your endeavors with PLAE, and with your businesses, and with the podcast. Hopefully, we’ll be able to touch base with you again down the road.

Ron McKeefery: Appreciate it, man. Thanks so much. I know how much goes into doing these. Just appreciate that work that you’re doing to give back to the community, as well.

Schimri Yoyo: Alright, thank you very much.

AMPD Golf Performance
“Working with Exercise.com and their team has been an amazing experience and a dream come true in terms of accomplishing a vision! Their workout technology has helped us effectively engage our community, and I highly recommend Exercise.com to grow your business!”
Andrew Banner
Co-Founder, AMPD Golf Performance

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today!


  1. https://locktonpersonaltraininginsurance.com/starting-business/
  2. https://www.ronmckeefery.com/
  3. https://plae.us/
  4. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/iron-game-chalk-talk-with-ron-mckeefery/id734140819
  5. https://www.mtbr.com/
  6. https://jiujitsu.com/
  7. https://positivecoach.org/team/maxey-tim/
  8. https://plaeperform.com/speakers/mark-asanovich/
  9. https://ohiostatebuckeyes.com/staff/mickey-marotti/
  10. https://msuspartans.com/coaches.aspx?rc=89
  11. https://www.bbc.com/sport/cricket
  12. https://www.olympic.org/handball
  13. https://www.dummies.com/religion/spirituality/types-of-mindfulness-meditation/
  14. https://www.buccaneers.com/
  15. https://www.nfl.com/player/warrensapp/2502833/profile
  16. https://db55.org/
  17. https://www.mikealstottfamilyfoundation.org/
  18. https://youtu.be/oLQ7ZX3n8mg
  19. https://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Marvin-Jones-5695#!
  20. https://www.bengals.com/
  21. https://perform-360.com/wed-strength-speed-continuum/
  22. https://www.bistromd.com/exercise/5-anaerobic-exercises-to-try
  23. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/fitness/Pages/Aerobic-Training.aspx
  24. https://nsaa-static.s3.amazonaws.com/textfile/fbl/contact.pdf
  25. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26175565-ceo-strength-coach
  26. https://www.nike.com
  27. https://www.nsca.com/membership/awards/annual-awards/pro-coach-of-year/
  28. https://www.amazon.com/CEO-Strength-Coach-Ron-McKeefery/dp/1515203328
  29. https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Revisited-Small-Businesses-About/dp/0887307280/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2/144-7170087-4741143?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0887307280&pd_rd_r=0d9a6418-1910-4a5a-9112-5454b04089b3&pd_rd_w=Zpu00&pd_rd_wg=M3ZZe&pf_rd_p=a2006322-0bc0-4db9-a08e-d168c18ce6f0&pf_rd_r=FFPCPG14W0XXGNDMNCZF&psc=1&refRID=FFPCPG14W0XXGNDMNCZF
  30. https://www.chickensoup.com/
  31. https://www.amazon.com/Weight-Room-Wisdom-Leadership-Strength/dp/1796408751/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
  32. https://www.amazon.com
  33. https://www.goodreads.com/
  34. https://www.elitefts.com/education/watch-cleveland-cavaliers-head-strength-coach-derek-millender/
  35. https://lebronjames.com/
  36. https://www.snapchat.com
  37. https://www.ronmckeefery.com/podcast
  38. https://www.amazon.com/High-Performance-Training-Sports-Dan-Lewindon/dp/1450444822
  39. https://www.johnmaxwell.com/
  40. https://tablegroup.com/pat
  41. https://heathbrothers.com/
  42. https://heathbrothers.com/books/decisive/
  43. https://heathbrothers.com/books/switch/
  44. https://heathbrothers.com/books/made-to-stick/
  45. https://heathbrothers.com/the-power-of-moments/
  46. https://www.amazon.com/Five-Love-Languages-Viewers-Guide/dp/0805498567/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
  47. https://www.amazon.com/Raising-Modern-Day-Knight-Fathers-Authentic/dp/1589973097/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
  48. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.domainsuperstar.android.weighttraining&hl=en
Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
We make fitness businesses happy and successful. We are a next-generation software platform dedicated to making it easy for fitness professionals to manage their entire fitness business in one place.
Follow us:
Start Here
Copyright © 2024 Exercise.com
Made with ❤️ at 15310 Amberly Dr, Suite 250, Tampa, FL 33647 & world-wide
Privacy Policy
Terms of Service