Meet Eric Mahanke, Carr Elite Football [Interview]

Get the Basics...

  • Having fun in fitness
  • Training professional athletes versus training amateur
  • Importance of interpersonal skills and relationship building
  • Leveraging technology to maximize results
  • Importance of sleep and proper eating

We all have had co-workers who take themselves and their jobs way too seriously. That kind of extreme earnestness tends to suck the joy and life out of the workplace, doesn’t it?

Today, we’re talking to Eric Mahanke who leans heavily on his sense of humor to create a collegial atmosphere while training amateur and professional athletes in his very successful fitness practice.

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

Meet Eric Mahanke, Carr Elite Football

eric-mahanke-carr-elite-football

Schimri Yoyo: I am Schimri Yoyo. I’m with exercise.com and we’re continuing our series with exercise and fitness experts. Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Eric Mahanke from Carr Elite Football. Eric, thank you again for agreeing to participate in our interview today.

Eric Mahanke: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Schimri Yoyo: Alright. Well, we’re going to start off by asking you about your background. When did you start playing football and why did you fall in love with the sport?

Eric Mahanke: I started playing football in sixth grade and I actually started off as a center. Fast-forward later, I ended up playing wide receiver professionally and in college, but I’ve always liked that story because I get to tell kids now who are in football, you know, like, “Hey man, doesn’t really matter what you’re doing at the time. It’s kind of where you end up and everything’s going to help you on the way.”

I fell in love with the games just because, honestly, I was able to play baseball and basketball and all these things at a very young age and I wasn’t able to play football really until I got a little older. Kind of fell in love with it that way.

Schimri Yoyo: How did you get involved with the Carr brothers [David Carr and Derek Carr]? When did you meet them?

Eric Mahanke: I ended up going to Fresno State and playing wide receiver there and this young chubby kid, David Carr, came in and I remember thinking, “Man, this kid is good.” I was a junior and he was a freshman and he ended up being really, really good. We just ended up being friends right away and we started hanging out from the get-go. Then eventually after many years of kind of doing what we do, we would have little talks about what we’re going to do later on in life. One of the things that we definitely talked about was putting together a place like Carr Elite where we could train athletes and help people out.

Schimri Yoyo: I can tell from your social media that you have a good sense of humor in your training. You use that a lot with your guys. How do you make use of humor and how do you incorporate it into your training?

Eric Mahanke: We do definitely like to have a good time, and I think one of the biggest things is this, man—it’s like when you’re playing sports, especially, [you should be having fun].

I try to ask parents and youth athletes, “Why are you playing sports?” The number one reason should be to have fun.

We try to keep that instilled in all of our guys, even if they’re professional athletes. When it really comes down to it, if you’re a professional athlete, it’s a business and it’s tough. Training can become arduous and we like to kind of lighten that load and have some fun with our training. Also, Dave and Derek are kind of like brothers to me—and so is Darren—and we just like to have fun and do dumb videos and make people laugh.

Schimri Yoyo: Why is it important that you keep that spirit of levity while you train?

Eric Mahanke: Because realistically I think training is more than 50 percent recovery, food, sleep, and that kind of stuff. Then, the brain is such a huge [instrument] for training. If you can have a good mindset and if you can be in a good mood, then it’s been proven that you will have a better outcome. My job, it doesn’t matter how I do it, but my job is to get you to become a better athlete, whatever it is, or a better person. Each day when you come in, if I’m making you laugh and having a good time as part of that work, then that’s what we’re going to do every day.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. Who would you say is the biggest practical joker out of all of you guys? Out of you and the Carr brothers?

Eric Mahanke: I would definitely say me, but I don’t know. Derek is a close second. He’s a close second for sure. But yeah, I would say I probably me mostly, for sure.

Beliefs and Methodology

Schimri Yoyo: What one word, if you could boil it down to one word, would describe your philosophy of training or how you work?

Eric Mahanke: I would say results. That’s kind of what I think every strength coach should really base all their work on, right? I think sometimes we can get too wrapped up in like the process, but I like kind of what Boyle says. I like to ask “Why?” so that I can get the best result possible.

If there are things along the way that I don’t think really help with the result, then I can go another direction. Honestly, it’s results, man. I want people to be healthy and I want people to be on the field or on the court and I want them to, in the offseason, [to] get better, [to] set goals, and then [to] reach those goals.

Schimri Yoyo: How do you keep your clients and students motivated to get those results?

Eric Mahanke: What we do a lot of the times is, one, keep it interesting. Our training, especially like right now I have a guy who actually is a baseball player at UCLA and I’ll always ask him—I love to hear what’s new and what they’re doing that might be kind of groundbreaking. It was really funny cause my guy that came up, Sean Nolan, he was telling me that a lot of the training, especially in the football team down at UCLA, they do like—they play chess prior to working out or they do something to stimulate the brain.

ucla-chess-prodigy

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, isn’t that cool? For us right now, one of our big things is to get the brain stimulated. I’m always trying to throw in some type of competition, but not just competition physically, but being able to use your brain and being able to make quick decisions before we actually go into our actual workout routine. The staple of it is [to make sure we’re] keeping it fresh and fun, but at the same time keeping it routine enough to where you know you’re getting better at that exercise or that routine.

Schimri Yoyo: What does a normal day look like for you, if there is such a thing?

Eric Mahanke: Okay, so I’m older now, I’m going on 42 for a strength coach. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years now. It’s changed a lot. When I first started, it was 5:00 AM until 8:00 PM with a little break in between, but now that I’m getting older, I’m getting more established.

A typical day for me is I’d go in and—actually, believe it or not, and I know a lot of other places are the same way, but I have a good foundation of fitness clients that I see every day and they’re kind of the foundation of what Carr Elite has going daily. The athletes are very seasonal and we have those every day as well. The typical day for me is I’m going in at 7:00 AM and I’m working with some fitness clients. Then I’m moving to the athletes.

Okay, the athletes, we want them to sleep in a little longer, so their typical workout time to start is probably about 9:30. Then, I have a couple of advanced groups right there at 9:30 and 10:30, and then I go into some one-on-ones during the middle of the day with a lunch break going, [and then] right back into the after-work, after-school, group training as well. That’s with small and large.

Then, after 5:00 is when you get all your working class coming in trying to get their workout in. I’m usually there until about 7:00 and we close usually around 8:00, 8:30. That’s a typical day for me pretty much every day.

Schimri Yoyo: What would you say is the biggest misconception about sports performance training?

Eric Mahanke: Good question.

I would say the biggest misconception is the [term] “sports specific training.” I think there’s such a high percentage of athletes that really aren’t even close to training for their specific sport, but more along the lines should be trained based on their specific body function.

I think there’s a misconception there. I think there’s a misconception that speed training is done like on the grass. I think the majority of work or success is going to be done in the weight room. I think it’s going to be done after a really good evaluation of how that person moves and how that person functions. Then, focusing on those malfunctions so that they can improve. But I think, as parents of young athletes and even college athletes, if we really focus more on the training—because I mean you look at all these sports, you look at baseball, basketball, even football now, and volleyball—there’s so much skill being done.

It’s an overload of skill. They’re always on the field. They’re playing more than ever. The strength part, it’s kind of getting neglected, and so I think if we can focus more on the strength part and getting kids into the weight room and doing that kind of thing, then I think that would probably be best to fix that misconception.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. What tool would you say is your most valuable tool as a trainer? What tool can’t you live without?

Eric Mahanke: I would say it would be personal relationships and being able to grow those. When I’m hiring trainers, I’m looking, obviously, for knowledge, right? Of the weight room and of the body, but I’m mostly looking for someone who can communicate with another human being correctly.

I’m looking for someone who can motivate and there are not many people out there, not many coaches out there, that really can motivate an entire group. I think that is the key. That is the major key: that interpersonal relationship with your clients and being able to read each person and know what motivates them individually.

Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s a unique and a refreshing answer.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. Well, I mean, there are other things too that are pretty obvious, but that’s definitely one thing I noticed when I hire.

Business Management

Schimri Yoyo: Now, how do you keep track of all the different things you have to do as a trainer and as a CEO of a business or running your business?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, so what’s ironic is exercise.com is coming out with all these new updates. We’re actually in the process of kind of like moving our whole business into the exercise.com [platform]. You know, what you guys have organized on the website so that we can schedule everything on the same website. We can bill [clients] on the same system because we use different things like QuickBooks and different software programs like that, but we’re actually going to transition into where every trainer can all be on the same page with exercise.com on these new updates. I think that’s kind of where we’re all heading when it comes to [managing the business]

carr-elite-app-store

Schimri Yoyo: That’s exciting. Does that mean everyone’s going to be using the custom branded apps and all that to keep track of everything?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. Every trainer has [access to] iPads for when they come in and [start] putting in information straight into our training.carrelite.com through exercise.com. And then everything down to the evaluation and putting the evaluation statistics in and then scheduling clients. We’re not quite brave enough to let the clients schedule, but we are [heading in that direction] along the lines there.

Because as of right now we started off in Dave’s garage and I was just using an iPhone. Now we’re going to spread to a couple of different locations. Now we’re actually going to have to really lock down on that part.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. What are some of the challenges of using software and technology and what are some of the benefits? Now, obviously you mentioned a little bit of the benefits, but I’m sure there’re some challenges as far as making sure that your staff is trained on how to use the technology and things like that. Speak to that of how incorporating or integrating technology into the business side of things can be both a challenge and a benefit.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. I’ll tell you what, man. A big challenge is getting clients that aren’t used to using their phone and not used to using technology like that to be able to get on there and trust that they can put a credit card number in and it’ll all work smoothly without something happening wrong. That’s definitely a big one. Then another one is just being able to transfer what you’ve been doing to this.

carr-elite-app-log

That’s always like a con, right? But the pros far outweigh the cons because the pros is time. When you’re able to schedule right there on your phone right then and there without having to go through a middle person, like a receptionist and having to contact them and then have them schedule the person, it eliminates one more step of air. It just gives us more time and it’s easier to track. I think the pros are just great for us.

Let the team at Exercise.com show you how to grow and manage your fitness business better!

All fields must be filled out!

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. It seems like it’s increased your ease of doing business and also provide you a lot more efficient time management. That’s great.

Eric Mahanke: Absolutely. I mean, especially in this field, you’re always looking to what you can continue to do and do better. We want to grow.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. What one exercise should athletes stop doing immediately? Because there’s a lot of misinformation out there. A lot of “fitness warriors” or “experts” on social media. What would you say is one exercise they should just completely get out of their repertoire?

Eric Mahanke: Gosh, I mean, do you have an hour? No. Honestly, there’s quite a few. The burpee comes to mind.

Schimri Yoyo: Amen, brother. Amen.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. I have a hard time with the burpee, definitely. There are so many things you can do differently, right? I always tell coaches when I meet with them that—say you’re a football coach—you definitely never want to punish with an exercise that you would actually want your kids to do to get better.

I never understood [using] running as a punishment because I want them to sprint and I want them to run and feel good about it and get better.

The burpee has always been an exercise that just never made sense to me and it’s a great punishment. Yeah, I actually use the burpee as a really dumb punishment that a football coach can use that I would never use in my gym. I guess I’ll go with the burpee.

Schimri Yoyo: Great answer. Great answer. I wholeheartedly support it.

Eric Mahanke: Okay, good. Yes, I think a lot of people would.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, obviously you work with professional athletes, the Carr brothers being two of them, and you have trained a lot of them. But is there anyone that has ever left you awestruck with their natural ability while they’re training? Just like, “Man, that’s a physical specimen”?

Eric Mahanke: Well, training-wise, I would say, Tyrone Crawford. Derek’s going to get mad at me. Derek Carr obviously is the most freakish athlete ever. No, I’m just kidding. But I would have to say, Tyrone Crawford. I’ve been training him since he just got out of high school and in college, and he’s the D End (Defensive end) for Dallas Cowboys.

Schimri Yoyo: He’s a freak of nature.

Eric Mahanke: He is a freak of nature. I’m talking if you’re playing knockout, you’re going to get dunked on in knockout. And the dude’s like 285 pounds. He’s big. He probably is the most freakish athlete [that I’ve trained] lately. I know a lot of people might get mad at me because I didn’t mention them.

But I got to say, too—not that I’ve worked with him a lot, but I actually played a lot of pool basketball with Khalil Mack. Khalil Mack is definitely—he dunked with me and Dave on his back, out of the water—in person, he’s kind of freakish as well. I would say he’s an impressive athlete as well.

Schimri Yoyo: Those are great answers.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, they are both really, really, really talented individuals.

Schimri Yoyo: What are some recommendations for athletes to stay healthy and fresh, what are some activities that they can do? Because obviously recovery is a big part of training as well. How can they stay fresh?

Eric Mahanke: I put a big emphasis on sleep and food and you know that Stanford Sleep Study, 10-hour sleep study is really big as well.

I think we really can’t overlook sleep. Man, it’s like natural HGH, so [sleep] and food.

I really stress getting in at least like six to 10 vegetable servings a day, not a month. I really emphasize getting the right amount of protein. Water. I’m not a huge supplement fan. I just love what God has given us and just eat a lot of it. But yeah, I definitely would say probably get as much sleep as you can and eat right.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, there are a lot of trainers out there, young trainers, people getting in the business who want to be able to work with a lot of different people but also have as a goal of theirs to work with pro athletes. What would be one tip that you would give to a trainer who is aspiring to work with pro athletes?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, I would say that every day trainer who is working with a pro athlete is also working with a whole lot of non-pro athletes. I would say that you definitely have to get your clientele base up. The pro athlete is actually really fun to work with, but at the same time that’s kind of like just icing on the cake. I think it’s the athletes that aren’t pros are where a lot of your enjoyment comes from. When going into that [relationship], I think, you really can’t hold anything back with a pro athlete, can’t be afraid to hurt them, that kind of thing. You just have to be very smart with your programming and just make sure that you’re programming the less risky exercises.

I think making sure that you know their whole injury history and making sure that they understand where you’re trying to go goal-wise because they’re just like everyone else, right? They want to get better and they have injuries and you have to make sure that you don’t hurt them, but you need to train them, not train them scared, which is kind of a hard thing to do with a pro athlete.

Schimri Yoyo: That makes a lot of sense and that’s good advice.

Eric Mahanke: It’s tricky.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s right. Couple more questions left here, Eric.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah.

Schimri Yoyo: What would you say, what are the differences for you in building a program for an in-person client and then building a program that’s going to be distributed online or through your apps to the masses?

Eric Mahanke: When you’re in person, it can be a lot more detailed and it can change. In the middle of the workout you can change something. The one thing online is you’re going to get a very, very similar workout. You’re not going to have as much change within weeks. Where I might be in-person [with a client], and I might be able to change a workout weekly and, maybe, even switch something up during the week. Online, I’m going to keep you more consistent, and you’re going to be doing the same thing for a little bit longer. I think that’s really the only difference.

carr-elite-app-tutorial

Obviously, I’m not there and I’m not able to like tweak you at the time. When you’re online it’s got to be a lot more basic when it comes to ballistic or explosive movements. I don’t know what someone might have available to them when I want them to do banded assisted split jumps. I don’t know if they have a rack or two bands. I always have to give an alternative. Yeah, it’s just more basic when you do it online, but still same results. It’s just you’re going to have to make sure you understand mentally that I’m going to be doing the same thing, maybe, for like three or four weeks.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay, so online’s a little less variation, little less customization, but overall it’s going to be the same, focused exercise.

Eric Mahanke: Right. I mean, you can do a similar workout four weeks in a row. It’s not going to do anything to really hurt your result, in my opinion. I think changing it just kind of helps the brain, kind of helps you show up every day when you change it more often, but that’s kind of my opinion right there.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. Alright. Then lastly, how do you unwind as a trainer? I mean, obviously, you’re helping your athletes to ramp up and then wind down after a workout. How do you personally unwind after a long day?

Eric Mahanke: That’s a great question. I don’t know if I do, but it’s the same thing. I make sure I get a lot of sleep. I still work out with some of my advanced athletes and so I try to keep in shape there. And so, I try to recover like them, too. I definitely try to make sure I eat exactly like I’m telling my clients. I’m not saying that every trainer has to, but that’s kind of what I choose to do. I try to get 10 hours sleep, you know? It’s really hard.

You know, owning a business and running a business, it’s really hard to do that. But that’s my goal. I know they’re busy too. If I got a guy at UCLA, I know he’s taking 21 units, I know he has study hall and practice, and so I kind of do that, maybe, to feel their pain. I don’t know, but I do that.

Another thing is I want to make sure that I take time off. It’s hard for a lot of trainers and strength coaches to actually get away because you have so much invested. I’ve kind of, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve kind of figured out like I have to leave it for a little while, maybe a week, and then go back to it. I’m a better trainer for it when I get back.

Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s good. I lied. I’ll give you one more question.

Eric Mahanke: Okay. Alright.

Schimri Yoyo: Are there any books or podcasts or any other external resources that you would recommend for exercise enthusiasts?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, obviously strengthcoach.com and stuff by Boyle. I really like him and I’m always making sure that I keep up there. There is a long line of guys like [Eric] Cressey that I follow on social media. Or I will read a book or even see recommendations, but that’s kind of the route I’ve been going lately, I would say. Yeah, in fact, the last certification I did was through Michael Boyle as a certified functional strength coach and he gives great recommendations on books as well in that.

Schimri Yoyo: Again, thanks, Eric, for your time. This was great to catch up with you and hear about your methodology.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, absolutely.

Schimri Yoyo: Good luck with your business and enjoy your little downtime that’s coming up.

Eric Mahanke: Alright. Thank you.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. I love chess.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, isn’t that cool? For us right now, one of our big things is to get the brain stimulated. I’m always trying to throw in some type of competition, but not just competition physically, but being able to use your brain and being able to make quick decisions before we actually go into our actual workout routine. The staple of it is [to make sure we’re] keeping it fresh and fun, but at the same time keeping it routine enough to where you know you’re getting better at that exercise or that routine.

Schimri Yoyo: What does a normal day look like for you, if there is such a thing?

Eric Mahanke: Okay, so I’m older now, I’m going on 42 for a strength coach. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years now. It’s changed a lot. When I first started, it was 5:00 AM until 8:00 PM with a little break in between, but now that I’m getting older, I’m getting more established.

A typical day for me is I’d go in and—actually, believe it or not, and I know a lot of other places are the same way, but I have a good foundation of fitness clients that I see every day and they’re kind of the foundation of what Carr Elite has going daily. The athletes are very seasonal and we have those every day as well. The typical day for me is I’m going in at 7:00 AM and I’m working with some fitness clients. Then I’m moving to the athletes.

Okay, the athletes, we want them to sleep in a little longer, so their typical workout time to start is probably about 9:30. Then, I have a couple of advanced groups right there at 9:30 and 10:30, and then I go into some one-on-ones during the middle of the day with a lunch break going, [and then] right back into the after-work, after-school, group training as well. That’s with small and large.

Then, after 5:00 is when you get all your working class coming in trying to get their workout in. I’m usually there until about 7:00 and we close usually around 8:00, 8:30. That’s a typical day for me pretty much every day.

Schimri Yoyo: What would you say is the biggest misconception about sports performance training?

Eric Mahanke: Good question.

I would say the biggest misconception is that is the word sports specific training.

I think there’s such a high percentage of athletes that really aren’t even close to training for their specific sport, but more along the lines should be trained based on their specific body function. I think there’s a misconception there.

There’s a misconception that speed training is done like on the grass. The majority of work or success is going to be done in the weight room. I think it’s going to be done after a really good evaluation of how that person moves and how that person functions.

Then focusing on those malfunctions so that they can improve but I think, as parents of young athletes and even like college athletes, if we really focus more on the training, because I mean you look at all these sports, you look at baseball, basketball, even football now, and volleyball, there’s so much skill being done.

It’s an overload of skill. They’re always on the field. They’re playing more than ever. The strength part, it’s kind of getting neglected and so I think if we can focus more on the strength part and getting kids into the weight room and doing that kind of thing, then I think that would probably be best to fit that misconception.

Schimri Yoyo: Awesome. Now, what tool would you say is your most valuable tool as a trainer? What tool can’t you live without?

Eric Mahanke: I would say it would be personal relationships and being able to grow those. I think like when I’m hiring trainers I’m looking obviously for knowledge, right? Of the weight room and of the body, but I’m mostly looking for someone who can communicate with another human being correctly.

I’m looking for someone who can motivate and there’s not many people out there, not many coaches out there, that really can motivate an entire group. I think that is the key. That is the major key is that interpersonal relationship with your clients and being able to read each person and know what motivates them individually.

Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s a unique and a refreshing answer.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. Well, I mean, there’re other things too that are pretty obvious, but that’s definitely one thing I noticed when I hire.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, how do you keep track of all the different things you have to do as a trainer and as a CEO of a business or running your business?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, so what’s ironic is exercise.com is coming out with all these new updates. We’re actually in the process of kind of like moving our whole business into the exercise.com kind of, you know, what you guys have organized on the website so that we can schedule everything on the same website. We can build on the same because we use different things like QuickBooks and different software programs like that, but we’re actually going to transition into where every trainer can all be on the same page with exercise.com on these new updates. I think that’s kind of where we’re all heading when it comes to [crosstalk] …

Schimri Yoyo: That’s exciting. Does that mean everyone’s going to be using the custom branded apps and all that to keep track of everything?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. iPads for when they come in and putting in information straight into our training.carrelite.com through exercise.com. AThen everything down to the evaluation and putting the evaluation statistics in and then scheduling clients. We’re not quite brave enough to let the clients schedule, but we are along the lines there. Because as of right now we started off in Dave’s garage and I was just using an iPhone. Now we’re going to spread to a couple of different locations. Now we’re actually going to have to really lock down on that part.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. What are some of the challenges of using software and technology and what are some of the benefits? Now, obviously you mentioned a little bit of the benefits, but I’m sure there’re some challenges as far as making sure that your staff is trained on how to use the technology and things like that. Speak to that of how incorporating or integrating technology into the business side of things can be both a challenge and a benefit.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. I’ll tell you what, man. A big challenge is getting clients that aren’t used to using their phone and not used to using technology like that to be able to get on there and trust that they can put a credit card number in and it’ll all work smoothly without something happening wrong. That’s definitely a big one. Then another one is just being able to transfer what you’ve been doing to this. That’s always like a con, right?

But the pros far outweigh the cons because the pros is time. When you’re able to schedule right there on your phone right then and there without having to go through a middle person, like a receptionist and having to contact them and then have them schedule the person, it eliminates one more step of air. It just gives us more time and it’s easier to track. I think the pros are just great for us.

Let the team at Exercise.com show you how to grow and manage your fitness business better!

All fields must be filled out!

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. It seems like it’s increased your ease of doing business and also provide you a lot more efficient time management. That’s great.

Eric Mahanke: Absolutely. I mean, especially in this field, you’re always looking to what you can continue to do and do better. We want to grow.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. What one exercise should athletes stop doing immediately? Because there’s a lot of misinformation out there. A lot of fitness warriors or quote/unquote experts on social and things like that. What would you say is one exercise they should just completely get out of their repertoire?

Eric Mahanke: Gosh, I mean, do you have an hour? No. Honestly, there’s quite a few. The burpee comes to mind.

Schimri Yoyo: Amen, brother. Amen.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. I have a hard time with the burpee, definitely. There’s so many things you can do different, right? I always tell coaches when I meet with them that, say you’re a football coach, you definitely never want to punish with an exercise that you would actually want your kids to do to get better.

I never understood like running as a punishment because I want them to sprint and I want them to run and feel good about it and get better. The burpee has always been an exercise that just never made sense to me and it’s a great punishment. Yeah, I actually use the burpee as a really dumb punishment that a football coach can use that I would never use in my gym. I guess I’ll go with the burpee.

Schimri Yoyo: Great answer. Great answer. I wholeheartedly support it.

Eric Mahanke: Okay, good. Yes, I think a lot of people would.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, obviously you work with professional athletes, the Carr brothers being two of them, and you trained a lot of them. But is there anyone that has ever left you awestruck with their natural ability while you’ve been working when they’re training? Just like, “Man, new level training.”

Eric Mahanke: Well, training wise, I would ask say, Tyrone Crawford. Derek’s going to get mad at me. Derek Carr obviously is the most freakish athlete ever. No, I’m just kidding. But I would have to say, Tyrone Crawford. I’ve been training him since he just got out of high school, like in college and he’s the deal, I mean, for Dallas Cowboys. Yeah, I remember him.

Schimri Yoyo: He’s a freaking H’er.

Eric Mahanke: He’s a freaking H. I’m talking like you’re playing knockout, like you’re going to get knocked down on a knockout and the dude’s like 285 pounds. He’s big. He probably is probably the most freakish athlete kind of lately. I know a lot of people might get mad at me because I didn’t mention them, but I got to say, too, not that I’ve worked with him a lot, but I actually played a lot of pool basketball with Khalil Mack. Khalil Mack is a definitely … He dunked with me and Dave on his back, out of the water. In person, he’s kind of freakish as well. I would say.

Schimri Yoyo: Those great answers.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, those are both really, really, really talented individuals.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. Now, how do you recommend athletes, for them to stay healthy and fresh, what are some activities that they can do? Because obviously recovery is a big part of training as well. How can they stay fresh?

Eric Mahanke: I put a big emphasis on sleep and food and you know that Stanford Sleep Study of 10-hour sleep study is really big as well. I think we really can’t overlook sleep, man. It’s like natural HGH, so that and food. I really stress getting in at least like six to 10 vegetable servings a day, not a month. I really emphasize getting the right amount of protein. Water. I’m not a huge supplement fan. I just love what God has given us and just eat a lot of it. But yeah, I definitely would say probably get as much sleep as you can and eat right.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, there are a lot of trainers out there, young trainers, people getting in the business who want to be able to work with a lot of different peoples but also have a goal of theirs to work with pro athletes. What would be one tip that you would give to a trainer who is aspiring to work with pro athletes an actionable aspect?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, I would say that every day trainer who is working with a pro athlete is also working with a whole lot of non pro athletes. I would say that you definitely have to get your clientele base up. The pro athlete is actually really fun to work with, but at the same time that’s kind of like just icing on the cake.

It’s the athletes that aren’t pros are where a lot of your enjoyment comes from. When going into that, I think you really can’t hold anything back with a pro athlete, like maybe afraid to hurt them, that kind of thing. Just to be very smart with your programming and just make sure that your programming the less risky exercises.

I think making sure that you know their whole injury history and making sure that they understand where you’re trying to go goal wise lies because they’re just like everyone else, right? They want to get better and they have injuries and you got to make sure that you don’t hurt them, but you need to train them, not train them scared, which is kind of a hard thing to do for a pro athlete.

Schimri Yoyo: That makes a lot of sense and that’s good advice.

Eric Mahanke: It’s tricky.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s right. Couple more questions left here, Eric.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah.

Schimri Yoyo: What would you say, what are the differences for you in building a program for an in person client and then building a program that’s going to be distributed online or through your apps to the masses?

Eric Mahanke: When you’re in person it can be a lot more detailed and it can change. In the middle of the workout you can change something. The one thing online is you’re going to get a very, very similar workout. You’re not going to have as much change within weeks. Where I might be in person, I might be able to change a workout weekly and maybe even, like switch something up during the week. Online I’m going to keep you more consistent and you’re going to be doing the same thing for a little bit longer. I think that’s really the only difference.

Obviously, I’m not there and I’m not able to like tweak you at the time. When you’re online it’s got to be a lot more basic when it comes to ballistic or explosive movements. I don’t know what someone might have available to them when I want them to do banded assisted split jumps. I don’t know if they have a rack or two bands. I always have to give an alternative. Yeah, it’s just more basic when you do it online, but still same results. It’s just you’re going to have to make sure you understand mentally that I’m going to be doing the same thing maybe for like three or four weeks.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay, so online’s a little less variation, little less customization, but overall it’s going to be the same.

Eric Mahanke: Right.

Schimri Yoyo: Let’s focus. Exercise.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, I mean, you can do a similar workout four weeks in a row. It’s not going to do anything to really hurt your result, in my opinion. I think changing it just kind of helps the brain kind of helps you show up every day when you change it more often, but that’s kind of my opinion right there.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. All right. Then lastly, how do you unwind as a trainer? I mean, obviously, you’re helping your athletes to ramp up and then wind down after a workout. How do you personally unwind after a long day?

Eric Mahanke: That’s a great question. I don’t know if I do, but it’s the same thing. I make sure I get a lot of sleep. I still work out with some of my advanced athletes and so I try to keep in shape there. And so, I try to recover like them, too. I definitely try to make sure I eat exactly like I’m telling my clients. I’m not saying that every trainer has to, but that’s kind of what I choose to do. I try to get 10 hours sleep, you know? It’s really hard.

You know, owning a business and running a business, it’s really hard to do that. But that’s my goal. I know they’re busy too. If I got a guy at UCLA, I know he’s taking 21 units, I know he has study hall and practice, and so I kind of do that maybe to feel their pain, I don’t know, but I do that.

Another thing is I want to make sure that I take time off. It’s hard for a lot of trainers and strength coaches to actually get away because you have so much invested. I’ve kind of, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve kind of figured out like I have to leave it for a little while, maybe a week, and then go back to it. I’m a better trainer for it when I get back.

Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s good. I lied. I’ll give you one more question.

Eric Mahanke: Okay. All right.

Schimri Yoyo: Are there any books or podcasts or any other external resources that you would recommend for exercise enthusiasts?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, obviouslystrengthcoach.com and stuff by Boyle I really like and I’m always making sure that I keep up there. There is a long line of guys like Cressey that I follow on social media or I will read a book or even see recommendations, but that’s kind of the route I’ve been going lately, I would say. Yeah, in fact the last certification I did was through Michael Boyle as a certified functional strength coach and he gives a great recommendations on books as well in that.

Schimri Yoyo: All right, awesome. Well, again, thanks again, Eric, for your time. This was great to catch up with you and hear about your methodology.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, absolutely.

Schimri Yoyo: Good luck with you and enjoy your little downtime that’s coming up.

Eric Mahanke: Alright. Thank you.