Chris and Eric Martinez are the founders of Dynamic Duo Training which offers online and in-person coaching services. Their mission is to provide world class services with safe, ethical, scientific, and healthy approaches. They pride themselves in helping clients reach their full potential health wise and their integrity as coaches. Dynamic Duo Training is all about providing optimal results at a world class level for each client.
Note From Matt: This interview was recorded from a phone call and then transcribed by me. Some parts may be edited slightly for an easier read.
Matt: What was the motivation that led you two to pursuing careers in the fitness industry?
Chris: The biggest burning desire behind all of this came from losing our father in our senior year of high school. After that experience we had a lot of anger inside of us. We used to get in a lot of trouble with the law and were in a very dark place. It wasn’t until we found the weight room where some of that pain started to disappear. We learned how powerful the weight room was and how the structure could really change your life. We felt that by pursuing a career in fitness we could help others find purpose and give them something to look forward to in life.
Matt: When you realized that fitness was something that gave you purpose and balance in life what were the first steps you two took towards pursuing careers as fitness professionals?
Eric: So we went to Sonoma State University and were doing business communications for our undergrad. There wasn’t much passion there. We were flipping through some magazines and saw an article by Layne Norton in Muscular Development. This guy was amazing. He practiced what he preached and was natural. He really inspired and motivated us. We ended up hiring him as a coach about 7-8 years ago. Layne turned our life around. Chris and I figured that since there were two of us we could build and deliver an amazing online coaching service of our own. We knew what our calling was and that was to serve others.
Matt: Layne’s been a big influence for many in our industry. What was the experience like when you connected and started to learn from him? What lessons did you take away that helped you move your professional careers forward?
Chris: The first one was that when we told Layne we wanted to start our own online business he told us to start slow. Don’t rush it. Don’t try to grow overnight and don’t take on too many clients, so that’s exactly what we did. Eric and I followed this advice for the first two years and took our time. The second biggest piece of advice was to treat everyone with respect and put customer service at the forefront of our business. As coaches in this industry we get a ton of inquires from people who are looking for help. It blows my mind how coaches won’t even take the time to jump on the phone or Skype to get to know their potential clients and try to connect with them when someone first reaches out. This is their health we’re talking about here. Layne taught us to not treat people as numbers in your business and to treat them as people.
Eric: Another thing I took from Layne that he always preached was to have integrity. This is one of our core values. People want authenticity and to be treated right. Layne’s slogan is to outwork people in and out of the gym. That really resonated with us and from those first days of working with Layne we’ve never taken our foot off the gas pedal.
Matt: Did you guys start with in-person coaching or online coaching first?
Eric: We first started with in-person coaching at a brick and mortar place in Rohnert Park, California. We were independent trainers there for about a year and a half. We got lots of good knowledge and experience from working with clients and seeing in-person what it took to create change. While we were doing this we were slowly building our online business. Our approach in the beginning was to create content for free for other sites and build our reputation.
Chris: I think that a big mistake that many coaches do when starting online coaching is to underestimate how much free content you have to put out there to build momentum. It takes a full year or more of producing content to start getting recognition. If you look at the big names in the industry you can see they all followed this exact approach. Free content over and over and over. Eventually it comes back and returns 10x, but it takes time.
Matt: So you two knew it would take time and weren’t afraid of the work it would take. Looking back, what challenges did you have with coaching, in-person and online, in the early stages? What do you wish you could have told yourself in the beginning?
Chris: That’s a really good question. I think if I could go back I would have told myself to have a little more patience. With myself, just the individual that I am, I am very motivated. I don’t really think twice and just go after what I want. For me personally it would be to have patience and to seek more mentors. Eric and I are huge on having mentors. You got to understand that these mentors are ten years ahead of you and more successful than you for a reason. They’ve gone through and made mistakes. You can cut down on your learning curve by building relationships and listening to their stories.
Eric: If we had a clearer vision in the beginning it would have made things much easier for us. There would have been far less mistakes if we had known our path. We are no strangers to failure. We’ve failed so many times and it’s made us much stronger. Failure is ultimately what has helped us move forward. As an entrepreneur you have to expect this. Looking back, having a clearer vision would have saved us time and a few heartaches (laughing).
Matt: So you guys have been building your online business for a while and have built up a solid brand. Can you tell us what Dynamic Duo Training offers for services? How do you split up your time between in-person and online work these days?
Eric: Right now we mainly offer online training and nutrition services. We have a package with both and we also offer each nutrition and training coaching independently. This last year we hired a life coach who really changed our mindset about our services. We’ve implemented a lot of lifestyle coaching into our services as a result of this. Regimens, weekly actions, and more. Anything that will help our clients towards continually working on their own self-development.
Chris: I’ll answer the second part of that. One thing that we don’t really want to have happen is to damage our reputation for customer service for our online coaching services. We know how many clients to take on online and how many to take in-person. For in-person we won’t take on more than 3-5 clients because we know that if we take on more and get greedy it will damage our online business. We know how to balance that out and trust the systems we’ve put in place. We’re task-orientated guys so we know what our weekdays and weekends look like. We’ve built the habits necessary to get the work done.
Eric: Every Sunday Chris and I have a meeting to set up a game plan for that week. We highlight what the one most important thing is to do on our list and get started. We’ll delegate certain tasks to each other. We each have our roles for posting on social media and producing content. We’re pretty on point with our schedules now that we’ve done this for a while.
Matt: How long did it take you to hit your stride with your online presence and business? Was there any one thing that really helped or was it just consistency that made the difference at the end of the day?
Chris: We had a couple of pretty big opportunities in the beginning. That’s another thing I can’t advocate enough for anyone that’s reading this. You have to capitalize on these opportunities when they come your way. For us, we were two years in, and fitness icon Jennifer Nicole Lee (she had just done her 90th magazine cover at the time) invited us to LA to do a photoshoot and promote us. That was a big break for us. After that, having patience and protecting our integrity really helped open a lot of doors for us. The two of us are in this for real. We’re not here to just make a quick buck. We have the science and resume to back up our work. Eventually Layne Norton put us on his list of recommended coaches which meant the world to us. We put in a whole lot of work to get to that point. Overall having patience, grinding it out, and never being afraid to reaching out to those bigger name people is what really helped us.
Eric: What Chris just said is spot on. The two of us are extroverts so we want to connect with people. We’re humble guys but we’ve never hesitated when it comes to building our network. We’re no stranger to introducing ourselves to people and asking what we can do to help with no expectation of receiving anything in return. We’re huge proponents of doing that. A lot of people are afraid of doing stuff like this because they might get a no. But if you get told no nine times and get that one yes it’s worth it. You should never be afraid to put yourself out there. We live in a time where everything’s evolving with social media and you have to put yourself out there and be confident to make connections. If you won’t put in time and effort towards making connections you probably won’t make it very far in this industry.
Matt: I really appreciate the time you two put into building Dynamic Duo’s online presence and content marketing. Can you break down the approach you have to producing content? You guys are all over social media and even have started a podcast of your own which is great. To follow that, how do you measure your content’s impact to improve over time?
Chris: There’s this great quote by Wayne Gretzky where he says, “ I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” You have to build an instinct to see where everything is going, you know? Just look at how Uber disrupted the entire Taxi industry or AirBnB disrupted the hotel industry. You have to continually think and predict where the puck is going. It’s the same thing with coaching and content marketing. Online coaches used to spend all of their time writing blogs and now its all about video. Facebook Live is a great example of something we’re experimenting with. You can put your video content on Instagram, SnapChat, Periscope, and more. I think we’ve done a really good job of keeping our eye on what’s happening in the industry and predicting where it’s headed. After that we just experiment and put our own twist on everything we do. At the end of the day it’s all just one big experiment.
Eric: Just to add to that, there’s a great TED talk by Joan Fallon called The Power of Disruption. We really take that to heart. How are you going to disrupt your industry? What niche are you going to carve out? How are you going to make things better and explode? That really resonated with us. We track our content with all the normal analytics tools, but we’re always testing things. We’re huge on experimentation. One of our mentors, Tai Lopez, really hammered this home to us. As an entrepreneur you have to continually make hypothesis and run tests. If you want something to run off of just print out the scientific method and follow it.
Matt: So you moved down to LA a few years back and also opened up a garage gym. Can you tell me a bit about who your target customer is for this and how the services are structured?
Eric: Yeah, so we first moved down to SoCal and started in downtown LA. It was just terrible. I didn’t know anything about the area or what I was getting myself into. We had a small studio and grinded it out for about six months. After that we moved over to Orange County which was more laid back. It matched our personalities better and was a much better fit overall. So, we’ve started a garage gym and are slowly building that up. We don’t have a specific demographic we’re targeting. We’ll take on beginners and intermediate clients who are looking to make fitness a part of sustainable part of their lives. One of our visions is to eventually make this a place where we can rent out the space to other independent trainers who pay us rent monthly. That’s been very challenging over the last six months so we’re still testing things out (laughing).
Matt: The last questions I have for you guys is what are you two working on for Dynamic Duo that you’re excited about? What are you two excited about for the fitness industry and where it’s headed over the next few years?
Chris: This next week we’re actually going to San Diego and starting the process of writing our first book. We’re very excited about this. We also just started our podcast. It’s not your normal fitness and nutrition only podcast which you see a lot of these days. We really want to dig deep into how people get to where they want to go and hear about their passions. We have a lot of projects on the backburner, but it’s that thing called time (laughing). Time and life getting in the way. We try to keep a balance. We’re actually at the point where we are looking to hire an assistant. We’ve worn a lot of hats over the last five years and it’s that time where we can invest into building our team.
Eric: We’re very excited to see how the industry gets disrupted over the next few years. We want to continue to work hard and maintain our core values. We will continue to focus on high-level customer service and educating people. It excites me that there is so much content out there now. There’s good and bad, but on the whole I think more and more people are getting educated and starting to filter out misguided advice. It’s trending in the right direction and people are starting to catch on. There’s a lot to be optimistic in our industry right now. There’s more opportunity then there’s ever been.
Matt: Thank you for sharing your story and exciting news guys. Looking forward to seeing what you two do from here. If you’d like to connect or follow with Chris and Eric check out the links below:
Subscribe to StrengthPortal Blog
Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox