Starting your own fitness business is a daunting and time-consuming endeavor, requiring you to ensure safe and healthy worksite activity, to steadily build your clientele, and to create multiple streams of revenue. The good thing is you don’t have to do it alone. Learn from other exercise entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses and excelled.
Today, we’re talking to Eric Martinez who will share his experience as an entrepreneur who transformed himself as a self-proclaimed “fat kid” to a highly educated and well-trained fitness expert. Learn how he and his team have collaborated to build a successful fitness practice.
If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.
Meet Eric Martinez, Co-Founder of Infinity Sports Institute
Schimri Yoyo: Welcome back. This is Schimri Yoyo with Exercise.com. We are continuing our series of interviews with fitness experts. Today, we have Eric Martinez.
Eric Martinez: Hey.
Schimri Yoyo: [Eric] is the co-founder of Infinity Sports Institute and Director of the Clinical Exercise side of things there in Miami, Florida. So, Eric, thank you for joining us.
Eric Martinez: Yeah, anytime. You know that.
Schimri Yoyo: Alright. So we want to start off by getting to know you a little bit and get our audience to know you a little bit. Can you tell us how you first developed a love for health and fitness?
Eric Martinez: Well, the honest truth was that when I was younger, I was a heavy kid, diabetic, asthma. I had the whole nine, and it was bad. I was out of shape so bad. Something happened in my life that it finally just clicked that I have to be outside. I have to be more responsible at what I’m doing for myself in a sense of health. I got tired of being known as that chubby kid. That’s how it started. Eventually, that grew and I focused on improving myself and people saw that.
Then my friends started saying, “Oh, what are you doing?” Well, let me show you. Let me start teaching you. Then that love started going into coaching. In high school, I started reading everything about ACSM and learning about the chronic population, how they need help.
That just developed into a career path where it just became a total love, that I loved helping people. Especially people that were seen as the underdog or the black knights, that person that truly needed help. I said, “You know what? I’m going to do this. I’m going to do this for the rest of my life.” Let’s just go from there.
Schimri Yoyo: Alright. That’s good.
Eric Martinez: That’s how I treated it. Yeah.
Schimri Yoyo: So growing up, as you began to get in shape and improve yourself, did you participate in any sports or any athletic competitions?
Eric Martinez: I grew up playing baseball basically. I spent maybe five hours a day playing ball. Then when there was no class or school, I’d spend more than that. I would spend 12 hours a day. I got into the baseball team in the high school, basically varsity and junior varsity. I stopped right when I got into college, but that was my main sport because it was no contact and I could go all out. I didn’t have to hurt anybody.
Schimri Yoyo: What positions did you play?
Eric Martinez: I was playing short and second.
Schimri Yoyo: Oh, second base.
Eric Martinez: Short and second were my main.
Schimri Yoyo: Yeah, middle infield. That’s awesome. I was a second baseman myself.
Eric Martinez: Oh, there you go. Yeah. Fast, agile. Yeah.
Schimri Yoyo: Roberto Alomar was my favorite player. That was my guy growing up.
Now when you decided to pursue sports medicine as a career, did you have any mentors in this space that you could aspire to or that helped you out?
Eric Martinez: Growing up, I had one mentor that was actually my baseball coach. He got me into training and more into the strength and conditioning aspect of stuff. Later after that, I didn’t really have one.
Someone that I look up to now, he’s got a great personality. I love him to death is Perry Nickelston. Perry’s a good guy overall. You speak to him and he’ll treat you like a human. He’s super kind. His personality and his mindset is pretty much the ideal person that I ever want to be. You know what I’m saying? In a sense of, let’s be one, let’s be nice, let’s be kind. Let’s treat, not create more pain. If anything, I aspire to him.[Editor’s note: Eric’s professional mentor, Coach Perry Nickelston, demonstrates exercises to relieve lower back pain in the video below.]
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. That’s a great shout out. Now you have multiple advanced degrees in the exercise sciences. So which class or classes have been the most beneficial to you in your career?
Eric Martinez: That’s a tough one to say. That’s a big loaded question because I give tribute to everything, to be honest. I do have a master’s degree in exercise physiology. If it wasn’t for the teachers, let’s just put it like that. If they didn’t teach me the concepts of how biomechanics work, then I wouldn’t be able to manipulate what I learn now. I have so many certifications. RockTape, neurokinetic therapy, vestibular ocular reflex development, Schroth method.
I give all some credit and that credit is that it gave me concepts to create my own style. That’s what I usually tell the students, the whole goal is not to memorize things. It’s to learn the concepts and then build from it. I really do want to thank my degree though, my exercise degree. It’s superficial and kind of corny to say it is, but if it wasn’t for that and being open to what they’re trying to teach, I wouldn’t be here at this point in life.
Schimri Yoyo: No, that’s great. I think, like you said, know the basics. I’ve talked with many athletes, trainers, and even creative writers. They say you have to know the basics first in order to then be able to manipulate and create something original from that. That’s a good piece of advice.
Now when you’re not coaching or training or being “That Guy” at Infinity Sports Institute, what are some things that you normally do for fun? I’m thinking of a pre coronavirus world.
Eric Martinez: Usually kayaking. Kayaking, biking. I even go out there and I play a little bit of ball, but that’s pretty much what I would do in my fun time. If not, I will probably try and disappear from everybody and just [be in the] quiet. It might not look it, but I am an introvert, so I need peace.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. That’s good.
Eric Martinez: I just need peace. Yeah, man.
Harmony in Health and Fitness
Schimri Yoyo: Alright. Now speaking towards your practice and methodology, what one word would you say best describes your philosophy and methodology of sports medicine?
Eric Martinez: Harmony. Harmony. The reason why we described it as harmony, because we want to look at all the systems and how all they play out. Your cardiovascular system is related to your lymphatic system. That’s related to your endocrine system. That’s related to your myology. That’s related to your biomechanics. That’s related to your neural physiology. That’s related to your cognitive. Everything is one. That’s a problem that we have, that we segregate a lot of stuff.
The other thing is, we here as a team, have different professionals and we work as a unit. I have a buddy of mine that’s a functional medicine doctor right behind me. He sees his patients. Then we come in and we put in our two-cents. When we have people coming in to see us, he puts in his two-cents. We have a chiropractor who comes in and he puts in his two-cents. That’s what we established. Harmony is our biggest thing.
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Schimri Yoyo: That’s good, you collaborate to ensure that you’re using the best practices.
What would you say is the relationship between strength and conditioning, injury prevention, and rehabilitation? And how do you help your clients be proactive in training and in recovery?
Eric Martinez: Basically, the relationship out of all of that is being body-aware. Awareness of what is the main root cause that’s getting you to that end goal. Let’s say you have a Ferrari that’s super nice and built out, but if the engine is garbage, it’s not going to function. That’s a root cause of a problem.
When we look at it as a relationship, there is no one is better than the other, one is the main thing to do. Again, it’s a line of progression and regression and how well you understand your body essentially. Yeah, that’s ultimately the main relationship between the three. And being proactive. I got to make you aware. That’s it.
Schimri Yoyo: Nice. How important are the concepts of sleep and active rest in getting to top performance, when it comes to sports medicine?
Eric Martinez: Oh, man. That’s our biggest thing. I’ll give you an example. Everybody’s in a sympathetic state. Super fidgety, anxious. You need built-in sleep and some form of recovery so that you could get out of that sympathetic state. Once you’re out of that sympathetic state, your body allows you to do a lot of those things.
If not, you’re always going to be in this fight or flight mode, in the sense of “I’m hurt. I’m not going to use that muscle anymore. I’m going to use something else.” Then that creates pain. Or “I’m too scared of doing this.” Well, you’re never going to do it because you’re too bunched up. That’s one sense of rest and recovery.
Then, sleeping is important because that does help you get into delta waves when you’re sleeping. It helps hemodynamics of your body, your endocrine system, testosterone to build, cortisol to drop, fat burning. It’s a whole bunch of stuff. The same thing with recovery, in the end, you just need it overall.
You’re never going to keep getting better if you’re playing at half the tank. It’s just never going to happen. Improvements come from recovery and then pushing the limit, not half tank, and then trying to push the limit.
Schimri Yoyo: No, that makes sense. How do you guys, at Infinity, incorporate nutrition into the conversation with your clients?
Eric Martinez: Well, there is no trickling in. It is part of the program. That’s something that we cover. It is definitely part of the program. The thing with nutrition is that everybody’s different. Vegan, keto, non-keto, paleo, whatever the case is. Our end goal is to make sure that it actually works to where you need to get to.
Here, we do use the DEXA scan to look at body composition and muscle mass distribution. If we don’t see a change and we changed the diet and we played around towards the person, then we go deeper into the rabbit hole and we actually do blood work. In blood work, we look at their hormones, endocrine system, and all this stuff.
If that doesn’t go any further, then we’ll go into our food sensitivity testing and see why you’re chronically inflamed, because that’s a huge thing. If you’re chronically inflamed, then you’re not going to be able to process any nutrition at all. You’ll never get better. Your gut is your brain. That’s your main biome. If that gut isn’t working, your brain’s chemistry isn’t going to work as well either. You need it. It’s a big part of our program. There is no going around it. You’re going to do that with us.
Schimri Yoyo: No, that’s good. Like you said, at least you have it right out there at the beginning. They have the right of first refusal. It’s no secret.
Eric Martinez: Yeah.
Schimri Yoyo: Now how do you measure progress or success for your clients and then also for yourself?
Eric Martinez: We have two evaluation processes. We have a basic one where we use our DEXA scan to look at body composition versus fat mass. It’s the most sophisticated thing you could get. I know we use another machine that’s called the DARI motion lab. There, we look at your biomechanics at an AI standard. We look at that at a 10th of a degree of motion.
You can’t beat it. There’s no defeating that. You know we assess nutrition. From there, we start charting their weights, distributions, their total volume, their intensities throughout that day, how they feel, how they don’t feel. That’s basically how we maintain a program. Then we retest every six weeks. That’s our basic testing formula.
For the more advanced ones, we actually add to that stuff. We do what’s called a neuromuscular assessment. We actually look at the root cause. It’s more for our chronic patients and those that want to truly optimize performance. We go into more of a neurophysiology standpoint.
That’s a two-and-a-half-hour process. We go through everything. If we were to do an evaluation, I would ask you like, “What would be the first injury you had as a kid? Or do you have any scars? Do you have chronic anxiety or do you have stress overall? What’s going on?” We will go through your whole history.
Schimri Yoyo: Very thorough.
Eric Martinez: That’s how we start measuring progress. It’s pretty programmed, but that’s why, at least, we call it our high-performance pain management. In that program, we’ve guaranteed finding the root cause and alleviating the pain for good. If you have chronic pain, it’s gone. It’s gone.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. Now how many professional development seminars or workshops do you attend either as a speaker or as an attendee, as part of your professional development?
Eric Martinez: Last year, because we also rent out space and we have an agreement to do workshops here. We actually had RockTape here for four workshops. So RockTape, RockFloss, RockBlades. This year, we were supposed to do close to eight. Then Perry was going to come down twice.
Then, we were going to have a yoga instructor, she’s an instructor for yogis. She was going to come down six times. I was going to sit in all those classes. Usually the average per year, I and the team would go to about five conferences, between four and five conferences.
Then I would speak maybe at two different seminars because we do certify here too. We do have a certification process. That’s for our stretching class and some other stuff that we do offer. We just started marketing that off, so we’re not too heavy into it. That class, I think I’ve taught only twice this year. So a lot.
Schimri Yoyo: Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, it’s clear that education is important to you and it’s a foundation of everything that you guys do there.
Eric Martinez: It’s huge, huge, huge. Look, I’m bored out of my mind and I’m reading this. Yeah. No, it’s huge.
The Shifting Roles and Responsibilities of an Exercise Entrepreneur
Schimri Yoyo: That lays the foundation. You’re able to educate your clients, but educate yourself so that you can help them better. That’s pretty impressive. Obviously, you are training, but you’re also in business.
So how do you budget your time and energy between being a coach and trainer, but then also being an entrepreneur?
Eric Martinez: Truthfully, me and the other owner, we kind of stepped aside from the training and the coaching. We came down to it that we’re running a business, so we need to be focused on the business. That’s as it is. The only time that we mostly get involved is when we do the full evaluation, which is that two-hour evaluation, me and him. Then we’ll hand it off to one of the coaches and they’ll follow the program. That’s how we’ve been keeping [away from] burnout because to be honest, you can’t do everything at once. It’s impossible.
Aside from that, I’ll see some old, old clientele. Right now, I think I’m only seeing three clients. Actual, physical clients. I’m seeing them each like three times a week because they’ve been with me for like seven years. Aside from that, the only time that I’ll start meddling in, like I’ll take charge of an individual’s care, is when it has to do with a chronic population or scoliosis.
Do you know how I got that title, “That Guy”? I got it because whenever no one knows how to answer something, they always go, “Oh, that guy knows.” That’s how I got that freaking word.
Schimri Yoyo: You’ve made yourself useful. That’s a great piece of advice about learning to delegate and also set boundaries as you’re becoming an entrepreneur. It’s good.
Eric Martinez: No, man. It’s the funniest thing. I have random people coming in here and they’re like, “Oh, you’re that guy.” Yeah, I’m that guy.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. Now brag about your team a little bit, you and your team. What makes the Infinity Sports Institute unique?
Eric Martinez: Pretty much some things that we kind of went over already, but our education is high. We do value being precise when we see someone’s program. Aside from having the two pretty expensive science machines to test your program, we’re very well educated. In a sense that we’re open enough to keep learning more. I’m still going to go take a certification this year on quantum medicine.
As I said, I have like 19 million certifications. My nutritionist is now learning functional… What was it? Functional dietary… Wow, I can’t even say it. That’s how crazy it is. It has to do with micronutrients, so at the molecular level and then manipulating that with nutrition. It’s intense. You have to understand blood work and you have to understand the whole Krebs cycle and all that, like down to the teeth and how food helps that.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s impressive.
Eric Martinez: So he’s doing that. He’s doing that. The team is still continuing their education process. The biggest thing is that none of us believe that we’re an expert. I’ll take it from Perry. Once you believe you’re an expert, you hold yourself to your beliefs. Now, all you’re doing is defending your beliefs. You’re not learning anything new. That’s a huge mistake. It’s a huge mistake.
That’s pretty much how I would say we’re unique, in the sense that chiropractic, exercise physiologist, physical therapist, functional medicine doctor, behavior analysts. What else? What else do we have here? See, I’m even running out of that. We have a specialist. He’s got a world record on his belt.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome.
Eric Martinez: The team is high capacity. We bounce off of each other. That’s what makes us unique in general.
Schimri Yoyo: You guys have a team of experts. Obviously, you don’t like that term “experts,” but you’re open-minded. You don’t think you know everything, but you guys obviously have expertise in various fields. That is definitely a standout, the credentials. I think that the education piece and that desire to continue to improve yourself speak to what you guys want to also do with your clients.
You guys don’t just preach it. You’re living it yourselves because you’re constantly trying to improve yourselves and your practice. That’s pretty cool.
What would you say is something that you’ve learned as a business person that you wish you’d have known when you first started?
Eric Martinez: When I first started?
Schimri Yoyo: Something that you know now as a seasoned veteran, a seasoned entrepreneur that you wish you would’ve known when you first started.
Eric Martinez: That you should have not emphasized two million percent in just learning about the body. And learn how to do social media and market and all this other stuff. The business side of stuff, I wish I knew when I was younger. I kid you not, it’s gotten to a point where it’s like I took a six-year degree to learn how to edit videos. That wasn’t even an exercise degree that learned how to edit videos. You get where I’m coming from?
Schimri Yoyo: Yeah, I totally get that.
Eric Martinez: Yeah. Yeah. I wish I knew that earlier because it would make things much, much smoother at this point.
Schimri Yoyo: Yeah, that makes sense. That actually leads me to my next question. What are some of the ways that you’re now trying to use and leverage social media to promote your business?
Eric Martinez: Man, we do Facebook ads, mostly Facebook ad sets. It comes back to not being the expert. We actually have a coach that’s helping us in that sense in how to market more for the business side of stuff.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good.
Eric Martinez: We push social media. It’s more of a fun, entertainment platform. Regular posts, it’s mostly highly entertaining. We crack jokes, we do stupid stuff. It’s mostly just to attract attention. Then we have our Facebook ads, which actually push out more of what we do a little bit and what we offer. I’ll call it action.
That’s how we use social media. For YouTube, we just use it there for the longer videos. So YouTube, we just keep it for the little longer videos. We use that and we put it on other things like click funnels and stuff like that. That’s how we use social media, to be honest.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. You were a little late to the game, but it seems like you’re picking it up pretty well. That’s awesome.
Eric Martinez: Man. We’re getting there.
Schimri Yoyo: So Eric, I thank you again for your time. Man, this has been great. Just one last question for you. Do you have any resources, whether it’s books, podcasts, magazines that have been helpful to you that you would want to recommend to our audience?
Eric Martinez: For business, just a couple of books. I just can’t remember anymore. I have audiobooks. How to influence… What was it? How to use social media for influence, like a market of 100,000, something like that. Become an influencer.
There’s another book that’s called Being a Super Boss that I actually liked. It tells me mostly about different styles of bossing, like actually being a leader as opposed to a boss and different styles. If you learn the concept, you could pick one and you understand where you fit best. That’s some business stuff.
If it’s more of learning, there’s so many when it comes to like learning your methodologies and stuff like that. Right now, I’m reading a book on Joe Dispenza and his way of breathing techniques and meditation.
Then, I read another book on electromagnetism. The book is called Body Electric, which is actually pretty good. It goes into the frequencies and law of attraction and all that fun stuff.
If you’re looking for biomechanical stuff, honestly, just grab a textbook you like and actually read the whole textbook. Read the whole textbook.
Schimri Yoyo: Wow. Well, that’s good. You’ve given us a lot to consider. A lot to consider. For sure.
Eric Martinez: Yeah. But I’ll tell you why I read the whole textbook because you will find things in there that right now, people are going nuts about. It was being said 40 years ago. This whole thing about, I don’t know if you’ve caught up to par, but feathering, working on feathering technique and all that stuff. If you read the scrapbook, this book was made in 1916, this method. She talks about it and how it works. 1916.
Schimri Yoyo: Right. Nothing new under the sun, right?
Eric Martinez: No. Then this whole thing about breathing. Same thing. My clinical ex phys book, the one that you get from school. I read that whole thing. There’s a whole thing about breathing. Again, this book, the first edition talks about it. That was in 1945.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. That’s kind of cool.
Eric Martinez: Yeah. Actually read the whole thing, all seven million pages of whatever is in there.
Schimri Yoyo: Stay well-read. That’s awesome.
Eric Martinez: Yeah.
Schimri Yoyo: Well again, Eric, thank you very much for your time. I’m going to definitely want to catch up with you later on and see how you guys doing. Hopefully, obviously, we’re still in this pandemic situation.
Eric Martinez: A little bit.
Schimri Yoyo: But I hope you’re thriving and that next time we talk, we’ll be able to visit and open up all our doors everywhere. I know some parts of the country are beginning to open up more than others, but I hope you much-continued success.
Eric Martinez: Yeah, man. I see it coming.
Schimri Yoyo: No problem. Thank you very much, man.
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