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    We talk a lot about financial fitness and financial goals, but we don't talk about our physical health and fitness. Some would say staying physically healthy is important if you plan on enjoying your financial planning down the road. Adam Pecoraro is a fitness coach and an online-based entrepreneur that works with startup and finance employees to help them prioritize fitness among their busy schedules.

     

     

    Thomas Young:
    Today I have Adam Pecoraro on the show. Adam is a little bit of a different type of guest than what we normally have on the show, but I'm excited because we talked a little bit about, well we talk a lot about on this show about financial fitness and financial goals, and we don't always talk about our physical health and our physical fitness, and Adam has a really interesting story because not only is he a fitness coach, but he's an online-based entrepreneur. So we're going to learn a lot today about everything from finances as a solopreneur, to making sure that you're healthy so that you can get after your financial goals because if you aren't healthy then everything's going to go by the wayside.

    A little bit about Adam. Adam, as I mentioned, is an online fitness coach based in Montreal who helps high-performing entrepreneurs and corporate workers get fit around a busy work and travel schedule. Originally from New Mexico, Adam graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in exercise science. He spent a year and a half abroad in France and is now finishing his master's degree in exercise science at Concordia University in Montreal. He's a men's physique competitor, Super League athlete, and most recently a podcast host. So welcome to the show, Adam. Thanks for being here.

    Adam Pecoraro:
    Thanks for having me.

    Thomas Young:
    So Adam, tell us a little bit about how you got started, not only where your passion for fitness came from, but how did you decide that you wanted to mix that passion for fitness with entrepreneurship? And tell us a little bit about what your experience has been.

    Adam Pecoraro:
    Yeah. So I was not always passionate. I was overweight as a kid and I never played sports. My mom worked full time, so she ... and she also didn't trust the parents. It's funny, she didn't trust the other parents to like give me rides places like soccer practice or whatever. So I just didn't play sports because she wanted complete control over that. Not control, but as know, she was just, overprotective I guess. But yeah, I always wanted to play sports and I never did. I was more that kid that was just like everyone while everyone else was playing, I was reading like by myself.

    I remember that I was just always eating like Burger King or like cookies, or just nothing good. So I was not obese but was an overweight kid even up until like middle school. So when I was like 12, like I was always like severely bullied because of it. So I just kind of said, enough is enough, and I did everything the wrong way, but I lost the weight. So then I still wasn't really happy with it and I didn't have any muscle, I was just kind of like this like skinny fat, like weird, awkward shape. So like it took a lot of years to finally figure out what to do and I wouldn't even say that I'm where I want to be right now. So yeah, I mean just to go like a lot of mistakes and a lot of falling the wrong advice to then develop my system.

    As far as the passion, I don't think the passion even came into play until I was seeing results. So like probably in high school, I was still like following blogs and like doing whatever bodybuilding.com said and not getting results. But then when I started ... it took me taking a step back and like actually doing the work and researching to say like, "Okay, well now I actually kind of like this because I'm going somewhere with it." I think that's true in every situation. I think always like stepping back and like assessing before you act, it'll save you like just tons of time and tons of years of struggle.

    As far as making it into a business, I think I've always wanted to have my own business because I've never been a good employee. I am an awful employee, and I think that it took, just like, the same thing, it's repetition for me. So it took like having so many problems at work and like having problems with bosses, just whether it's like one who likes, I know that I could've done a better job than, or like one that just like abuses his power or whatever it is. It took so many times of that to just be like, "Okay, I'd rather be poor and eat cans of tuna and nothing else then keep doing this." So I decided to just make some money off of it.

    Thomas Young:
    Right. That's awesome. I want to touch on a couple of things that you spoke to, and I think there's a really interesting connection between what you talked about in terms of physical results, right? Where you maybe go through the motions and you got frustrated because you're not seeing results. Then from one day to the next, maybe you look at yourself in the mirror and you start seeing results. I think that applies a lot to finances, right? Where you're beating yourself up trying to spend less or save more, whatever, and you're like, "Well it's only a couple of hundred bucks or it's only $500," or whatever it may be. Then keep doing that repetition and you're disciplined about it, all of a sudden you look up and you're like, "Dang, there are results right there, that feels good. I should keep doing that." But going from nothing to something is really difficult. I'm sure that you've come across that both, in your fitness, and as in your business as well.

    Adam Pecoraro:
    Definitely. Yeah. It is comparable finance and fitness because if you want fitness advice, I'm not that person. I couldn't be any worse with finance and that's what I kind of like, because most of my clients are in that space, so they're in like finance or they're bankers or whatever, a lot of entrepreneurs as well. But I kind of like the fact that I'm like almost ignorant to that because it shows that I'm not this fitness model who's perfect and who just like has always been fit, and just knows everything. I don't know anything about something that this other person is an expert about. So I think that kind of is a good balance and it kind of like humanizes both of us.

    Thomas Young:
    Right. It also gives you the front row seat to learn from a lot of these people, and there are different stages for everything, right? I know for me when I was starting, when we were starting Rocket Dollar and we weren't making money, it was like my finances and my health, both of those things were like the last things I thought about. I was like, "Oh well I'm eating another cheeseburger today. Well, it's fine. I'll figure it out later." Then as Rockefeller has matured, it's like, "Well I've gained 30 pounds since we started this thing. I should probably start taking care of myself."

    In the last three or four months it's been like, "Okay, business doing okay, "we're still fighting like mad to grow and to reach more people and to help more people. But you sort of have to take a look at yourself, and I think that there are stages for everything. Right? Just because you're in a different sort of stage of your health, your finances, your career, your business, whatever, you should try to at least not fully neglect the other sides, and I'm sure you come across that a lot.

    Adam Pecoraro:
    No, you should not neglect anything. Another place that that shows up in my life is my master's degree because this is not something that I want everyone to know, but at the same time, I kind of do because it'll force me to get my life together. So I started the master's degree five years ago, five, that's even more than a bachelor's. I've put it on the back burner because, not that I don't care about it, but it's more like it's just an additional something. I know that I don't need it and so I'm just like, "I'll get to it when I can." So I work on it just now and then, but I'm finishing this year finally. But it's the same thing with business and fitness. If you say like, "Oh, I'll get to it," you're not going to get to it. My friend told me this the other day, he said, "You don't have to do it until you had to do it." So like, don't neglect anything.

    Thomas Young:
    Right. No, that makes sense. At the same time it's consciously choosing what you're focusing on, right? Because at the same time, if you're going to go after one thing, a lot of times it's at the expense of other things. But I think as long as you're conscious and you're knowingly doing that and you're, for example, and I don't know enough about your situation, but like, five years to do a master's degree. But it's not that you put it off and haven't been doing anything, it's that you've been focusing your energy and attention on other things that are helping you grow and move forward. So I think the attitude to just kind of continually grow and move forward is as important as what you prioritize because as long as you're focused on doing something it's not for not.

    Adam Pecoraro:
    Yeah. I didn't give a lot of contexts there. I've been doing other things, basically is it like, I've probably gotten the equivalent of four bachelors in that amount of time just from the number of things that I've done and experienced. So yeah, no, you're right. I wasn't just like sitting here doing nothing.

    Thomas Young:
    Right. I wasn't and I wasn't sitting at home eating cheeseburgers, gaining weight it's, you focus on different things. I want to talk about why you chose to focus your efforts on high-performance executives and startup founders and people with really busy schedules. What drove you to sort of choose that as your niche, if you will?

    Adam Pecoraro:
    I think, because I spent a very short time in the corporate world and I also was in that mindset, like I don't have time to go to the gym, I'm exhausted, and I'm eating ... There was never a time that I was eating fast food, most of the time because I wanted to save money, but like I was always prepping my food and always finding a way around it. I just sometimes would fall off for a month or two. So I've been there even though it was a short amount of time, I know how that feels and I gained weight because of it. But the thing is that I forced myself to not get any worse like I refused to buy new clothes. I was like, "You're uncomfortable, you that you need to get it together." So like my pants didn't fit, man I hated it.

    Thomas Young:
    I refuse to buy anything above a 34. I know that feeling.

    Adam Pecoraro:
    It would get so out of hand that before you realize that you're above a 36 and then it just spirals out of control.
    Thomas Young:
    Yeah, no, it's funny that you mentioned that because I have that same stubborn thing where I refuse to buy ... That's funny. So what advice would you give to someone that's in that situation in the corporate world? I mean, we all know that stress makes it a lot easier to gain weight, relentless schedules, a lot of people have to entertain as part of their jobs, and there are free alcohol and free food, which is the most dangerous. What advice would you give to someone that's like, they're just inching, like inching up? They're not like necessarily drastically changing their life but they are inching. What advice would you say to someone that's just trying to stop that trend? Not even lose it?

    I think planning and just kind of realizing what's going on because a lot of the time it's not what you're doing, it's what you're not doing. So for me, for example, I was just completely dissociated and I wasn't aware of myself or like what I was even doing. That's why I say like before you know it spirals out of control because you don't realize it until it's like the extreme. You don't see the progression because you see yourself every day.

    What's helped me is like, I don't want to call it journaling because I'm not like that type of person, but I just write down things when I think of them. So like if one day you're in particular, you're feeling like groggy and you feel like you're carrying a bunch of extra weight, just write it down and you can reflect. Like that's the most important thing is a reflection and planning because at those parties, as I went to a Christmas party, obviously before the holidays, and I overindulged and I didn't care because I don't do that all the time. So if you plan to have a good week and then you have like a few drinks and some cake or whatever, it's not as big of a deal to you, as it would be to someone who does that every day and takes advantage of the free snacks at the startup or whatever.

    Thomas Young:
    Right. I read an interesting thing about that exact sort of topic from, I think it was a Tim Ferriss book, might've been like the Four Hour Body or something, one of his crazy books and it was around having a cheat day, and I thought that was good. Yeah during the week meal prep, be mindful of what you're eating, try to not drink too much, and then go crazy on Saturday. Go out to The Cheesecake Factory, I can't think of a restaurant that's worse for you than that. But just go out and live your life and have fun, and go out drinking with the buddies if that's what you're into. Just be mindful that Sunday or Monday, it's time to get back on sort of your routine and be mindful and try not to ... as long as it doesn't become a habit you should be in pretty good shape.

    Adam Pecoraro:
    On the topic of cheat days. I think it's abused because of a lot of people ... Like it's split 50/50, I think a lot of people are like, "No, you shouldn't do that, it promotes binge eating." Some are like, "Yes because it promotes balance." In everything in my life, I'm kind of a hybrid of both situations. So I think I'm like in the middle on those topics. So I think that having a calculated cheat is a lot better than having a cheat day because when people have a cheat day, they turn it into the equivalent of a week's calories. So if I'm going to go to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner, that's perfectly fine. But it's not a, "I'm going to have Dunkin Donuts in the morning, and then I'm going to have pizza at lunch, and then I'm going to go out and have Cheesecake Factory, and then I'm going to go out for drinks." Like it's not a cheat 24 hours, it's a cheat meal.

    Thomas Young:
    That sounds familiar, that whole cheat in the day. Now, I mean, that's a good way to look at it. I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, you're the expert, but it comes down to what works for you. If you're someone that during the week has to entertain clients, like maybe stay away from certain things, or try to sneak in a run before you go out or whatever. I mean, that's what I tend to do. For example, if I know I'm going out to have drinks or whatever, I try to leave the office just a little bit early, get that 30-minute run in, do a quick shower, put my same clothes back on and go. But at least now I've done something and not neglected to exercise.

    Thomas Young:
    But I'm curious, so obviously, most of them staying healthy, I would say is eating well. But where does exercise fit in all this? Because that's the biggest time constraint. There are services and restaurants and all these sorts of things that catered to healthy eating, but exercise is the actual time. That's what a lot of people are constrained by. So what advice would you have for someone that is super time constrained and then where does exercise fit into everything?

    Adam Pecoraro:
    Well, I think, just backtracking a little bit about doing something that works for you. That's the main key because if I give you something that works for me, you're probably not going to do it because it doesn't apply to you. So that's the biggest thing, is like figuring out your schedule and blocking out the non-negotiable things. So like meeting with a new client, obviously you're not going to miss that to go to the gym. But I think time is something that, it is an illusion. I think the time is something that people like to use it as an excuse and they like to blame their lack of results on time. So I think just mapping out your priorities and figuring out when you would have a good opportunity to either make it to the gym or do a quick workout.

    I know that I'm not someone who will ... like I do it every time I travel, I bring my, resistance bands, and then they just sit in my bag and I don't use them. I'm not someone that wants to do a home workout. I traveled for three weeks through Mexico like remote villages even, and I always found a gym. So I just am someone that, I like the gym culture, I like being there, so I'll go that extra mile. But if you're someone who just wants to be active and get a simple workout in, then the resistance bands are $30 on Amazon, they'll get to you in, what is it like an hour these days the Amazon will get to you? So there's no excuse to just like sitting at your desk.

    A lot of the time, like if you're just trying to get active, you don't have to take those calls at your desk, you can get up and move, or your lunch hour doesn't have to be a lunch hour. It can be lunch 10 minutes because it takes you 10 minutes to eat and then do something for the rest of that hour. There are ways to break it up, and a common misconception is that your workout is like, you have to do it all at once, but you can break up your workout two to three times a day. If it's like 10 minutes each or 20 minutes each, that's perfectly fine.

    Thomas Young:
    Right? and I live in Austin and Austin is notorious for bad traffic, and one of the things that I do a lot is sometimes it's hard to get up in the morning and go run. So what I'll do is I'll just throw my running shoes and shorts in my bag and go for a run while traffic is dying down. Then not only did I get a workout in, but I didn't have to sit in traffic. Or the same thing, like especially in the winter when it gets dark a little earlier and I'm in an office day so I don't have the opportunity to go outside, that that lunch run can be fantastic because not only do I get to be outside, which is nice and the sunlight, but you get the exercise.

    As you mentioned during traveling, you like gyms, and every hotel ever has a gym. For me, when I go on, for example, work trips, I don't get a chance to explore the city. So that morning 30-minute run is a great opportunity to explore a city that I'm traveling to for work. I had my bud cake by the hills in San Francisco, and run over in New York, and all these different things, but it makes it fun and it's a little bit of time to yourself, especially when you don't get that on a lot of business trips. So I think that's what works for me. You have what works for you and I think everybody should take the time to figure out what works for them.

    Adam Pecoraro:
    They should be open to opportunities. Yeah, that's the thing, like the opportunity to discover a new place, like optimize your time. Like you said with the commuting. Sometimes I would like it because I live in Montreal, so it's not that ... It's a big city in a small area. So when I'm going downtown, instead of taking the Metro, which takes 20 minutes, I'll walk downtown, which takes 25, so it's not a big deal. Like, especially since now that my business is going well, and I'm creating a lot of content, a lot of the time I'm sitting down all day and so instead of going to the gym that's 15 minutes away, sometimes I'll go downtown and I'll walk there because that's probably the equivalent of the amount of walking that I would've done on a normal day anyway.

    Thomas Young:
    Right totally. Yeah. No, and I love that. Side note, Montreal is one of the cities that has been on my list for quite a while and I haven't made it up there. I'm going to wait for August like I don't want to go freeze but, but I've heard so many good things. But Adam, I want to talk a little bit about your business and what it looks like. So give me sort of the 10,000-foot view about what you do, how you work with people, and what sort of, like pretend I'm a new client, how do I interact with you and what am I going to get if I sign up with you?

    Adam Pecoraro:
    Yeah. So first of all, the online fitness space has blown up in the past five years, but even more so in the past like two years. So there are those coaches that will give you ... they're not coaches, anybody can put that in their profile. But they'll just give you like a PDF of a basic diet, and an Excel sheet with a workout, and then send you on your way. But what I do is, I give you a custom program. So when we meet initially, we talked through what you need, I add it to the program. So it's basically like you're building your program. I just get everything out. I get all the information out of you and then I just put it into a program.

    You specifically, I mean you do a lot of sitting, I'm sure, you live in a big city, so I wouldn't give you like a three-hour workout and make you do things that are not going to fit your schedule. So the program will fit your lifestyle. It'll fit things like if you hate an exercise, I'm not going to give it to you. If you hate food, I'm not going to give it to you. Also, I try and hammer flexibility and balance into everyone's lives because that's the only thing that you can sustain and I don't believe in restriction.

    I'll build the workout, build the meal plan. I have an app that you track everything in. So we track your workouts, I'm able to monitor everything, and then we have weekly check-ins. So pretty much every step of the way, if you decide that you're not getting enough support, I also have an optional coaching call every week as well. So it is case by case. I just take it ... like if someone can do the work on their own and they just need me to check in quickly every Friday, that's honestly, it's up to you in the way that you perform.

    Thomas Young:
    Right. I like that approach a lot because there are as many lifestyles as there are people. Some people have maybe a consultant type schedule where they're in a hotel gym four days a week, and then they have to travel, and they're on four airplanes a week. Some people work from home that, maybe they want that sort of homework, or there are runners. I mean, there is no one size fits all for fitness and health. So I liked the approach that you've taken.

    I mean, to be fair, it's probably a little bit more expensive than some of these online coaches that you just get a $4.99 PDF and whatever. I liked the approach that you've taken. I think as the online world grows, I think access and individual access are going to grow too. So I'm sure that that has been a big part of your success is that people can talk to you and reach you.

    Adam Pecoraro:
    Definitely. I only take about 10 clients at a time. I mean, probably that'll change in the future, but I like to have the time for my clients. I've had coaches in the past because what I did when I first started is I did maybe like three programs from coaches that I identified were just like killing it in the game. So I wanted to see what they were doing and how they were structuring it. So almost all of them, like you can't text them, you can't send them messages, you communicate through an app or email. It wasn't personal, it was more like you're a transaction and here's your program. I gave it to 10 other people by the way. I didn't find that it was conducive to the goals that I wanted to achieve.

    I took everything. I made a list of everything that I hated about these coaches and I did the opposite. So I would say that my program is more customized and I spent a lot more time probably than I should for the amount of money that I'm getting. But like you said, it is, I don't want to say more expensive because that's my other message, is that fitness is an investment and not a cost. So it is going to be more money than your run of the mill chain gym. Like if you were to see a personal trainer face-to-face.

    The thing is that you get access to me anytime you need me. So, I mean, I'm not going to respond in one second, but I always guarantee a message within 24 hours. So you always get help, and that chain gym trainer is going to give you help for that one hour, but probably not even help. It's more like he's going to have your program on a clipboard, he's going to run through it and he's going to send you on your way and you're going to be left your own devices for the rest of the week. So a lot of the time they're not even allowed to go into nutrition, or like mindset or anything like that.

    Thomas Young:
    Right. Like we've been saying, health and fitness, there's more than going to sweat. I mean it's the food you eat, it's trying to balance out stress levels there's a whole lot that goes into the world of health. So I think that the personalized approach I think is fantastic. But Adam, what's your 2020 look like? You said that you were going to finish your master's degree, which is fantastic, but what are some of your goals for your business and yourself this year as we sort of entered this new decade?

    Adam Pecoraro:
    Honestly, I'm on all platforms now. So like on all social media platforms and I'm just concentrating on making a bunch of content. I want to show up just as strong as possible on all platforms, and I want to blow up my business. So I've recently been focusing on LinkedIn, which is how I met you guys, and it's been great on LinkedIn. People are supportive and willing to connect and everything. So most of my recent clientele has come from LinkedIn.

    As far as my plans, I just plan on providing people with information that they can use, action steps they can take action on right now because I found that, I started on Instagram and so I was like trying to be a public figure that I thought that everybody wanted, and I was just copying everyone else and the content was just like generic, I wasn't helping anybody. I was just posting about me. Then when I took a step back and just flipped the situation, and I thought about it from the client's point of view, and I started giving and providing value. That's when I noticed a big influx of people who would like have generated interest. So that's my focus for this year.

    Thomas Young:
    No, that's fantastic. I think that that happens to a lot of small businesses and solopreneurs, is that you're excited about what you do. So it's really easy to talk about you and about what you're doing for your clients, but it's what you're doing and when you make that mind shift, and this is true for any business, once you step into their shoes and you say, "Okay, what can I do for them? What did they want to see? How can I provide value to them?" It's amazing how the more you give out for free almost, the more it comes back tenfold when you think about your client or your customer. We see that at Rocket Dollar too.

    Adam Pecoraro:
    It's not a cost, it's an investment. I used to think about giving free advice, and free things as a cost. It was costing me time, but it comes back in and it pays for itself.

    Thomas Young:
    Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I'm very interested in sort of the blogger sort of content creation space, and the successful ones are the ones that you can access, as 90% of their work is free, but then not 10% I mean that's where they make their money because they have to make a living too. I think that's an interesting model. But Adam, so if someone wants to get in touch with you, they want your advice, they want to work with you, they want to hire you. Assuming you're taking clients, what's the best way to interact with you and your content?

    Adam Pecoraro:
    I'm pretty active anywhere. The best place probably is LinkedIn, but on all platforms, it's @thefitadam, which I know is not very creative, but everywhere you can find me, but that handle. I also just recently started a podcast that's called The Fittest Guy in the Office podcast. So subscribe if you want to get some good information.

    Thomas Young:
    That's a fantastic name and we'll be sure to include all of these links in the show notes. But Adam, I want to thank you for taking the time today and speaking with us. I enjoyed that. It's different than what we normally talk about on this podcast and I hope that everybody listening enjoyed it. I think they will, but yeah, thanks again for coming on the show.

    Topics: Insider, podcast

    Published on February 26 2020