There’s a new Tonal site for the UK and it’s not real. Be careful.
There’s a new update to advanced weight modes.
New Tonal Talk with Aly Orady and Ryan Vance.
Upcoming Tonal Talk with Mark Allen about his new Triathlon Series.
The Tonal app now allows you to track your week-over-week progress.
Tonal wants to see (and share) your workout videos.
More new programs have dropped – True Strength, Flexible Recovery, and Barbell Barre
Upcoming Tonal Lab with Theragun
All this plus our interview with Allison Tibbs
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
WARNING: Tonal UK Site Isn’t Real plus our interview with Allison Tibbs
Hopefully things go okay. We had a technical snafu on the other podcast today. Crystal sat in on Reel Spoilers, which is the movie podcast that I do with some friends, which is why we have all this wonderful equipment for the podcast. It’s for the podcast that people actually listen to. We were recording and the dog came into the room, and the dog is normally pretty tame. We’re like, “She’ll be fine.” She goes over and she starts, of all things, sniffing the power strip. Don’t worry, the dog is okay. Nothing happened to the dog.
The dog is okay. We would not be recording right now if that would have happened.
As she was sniffing, she hit the power button and killed power to everything.
It made this loud pop and then she was a little scared.
I don’t think she’ll be sniffing the power strip anymore. Enough of the behind the scenes shenanigans, what do you have in store for people?
We are going to talk about a website that has been spotted that is giving bad information, incorrect information. There are new features to talk about. There are Tonal Talks we’ve got to talk through. We have to talk about the Tonal Talk, new features, there’s a Tonal contest we’re going to talk about and then all kinds of new content that’s coming up as well. We have a lot to dig into. I forgot to say by the way that we have our interview with the brand new Tonal coach, Coach Allison Tibbs joined us for this episode.
Before we get to all that, shameless plugs, don’t forget we’re available on Apple Podcasts. You can go there and rate, review, subscribe. Be sure and subscribe, so you’ll never miss an episode. It shows up like magic right there in your phone or whatever device you utilize for the podcasting retrievals. You can also find us on Facebook, Facebook.com/SupersetPodcast. While you’re there, like the page, join the group. There’s all that. Let’s check everything out.
A Tonal website popped up this week.
It’s been around for a while.
It’s not a Tonal website.
It fooled me. I didn’t bring it up before because I was so convinced that it was real.
It looks just like the actual Tonal website.
For anybody in the audience and you’re running over to your computer to check, it’s called Tonal UK. I believe the website is TonalUK.com. This was my hypothesis. I thought that Tonal was making plans to move into the UK. They had put some information out there to start gathering interest and names, and that it was not live yet in the sense that you cannot buy the product. That’s what I thought. When I asked a Tonal member, they were like, “That’s fake.” I was shocked.
That’s crazy. On the offhand chance you live in the UK and you’re interested in a Tonal or maybe you have a Tonal and you have friends that live in the UK and you’ve been talking it up and they’ve stumbled across this. Do not give this website your information because nobody really knows who it is.
We don’t know who owns it. We don’t know where this information is going.
We don’t know what they’re planning on doing with it. It’s probably some lazy corporate espionage, but it’s creepy.
It is creepy. You’re sending your information. If you’re submitting your email address, you have no idea you’re submitting it to God knows where.
A lot of times when people get scammed through email stuff, it’s like, “Use some common sense,” but this one’s pretty crafty. I get why someone might fall for it. Hopefully people hear this and figure it out and steer clear of it.
I know that there are going to be people out there that are wondering, “Is tonal moving to the UK?” We don’t know what the timeline is for their international expansion.
We do know this isn’t it. What you’re seeing is not it.
Do not fall for it.
There will be dragons, don’t go there.
I’m going astray, but you said dragons. This year at Home Depot, there is going to be a smoke breathing dragon that you can put out on your lawn. It’s 6 feet tall and I want it for Halloween. Wouldn’t that be cool?
Yeah, for all the Trick or Treaters. Moving right along, they have made an update to advanced weight modes.
I have not noticed what this feels like because I’m a wuss and I don’t do the advanced weight modes as often as I could. They’re hard. Now, you will receive a slightly lower base recommendation when you’re enabling chains or the eccentric mode. That way it gives you a consistent intensity level for your set. I know that you don’t use a machine. Let’s say you had 8 pounds on a bicep curl. You put one of these advanced modes on, it might feel like double the intensity that you were doing. They’ve lowered it slightly to give it more even keel. If you went up a half an inch on your graph before now, maybe you’ll only go up a quarter inch to ramp it down a little.
Don’t be upset, that’s intentional.
It’s intentional and healthier.
You didn’t do anything to cause that. Don’t take it personal. They’re not judging you. They did this to everyone. It’s okay. There are people out there that are like, “What does that mean? I might not do it right tonight. Am I getting weaker? What is happening? Why don’t they love me anymore?” There was a recent Tonal Talk with Aly Orady and Ryan Vance, the CEO and Chief Content.
I think it’s Chief Content Officer. I neglected to put the word officer, but also I wasn’t sure if I was right. I just know he’s the guy that’s in-charge of the content. He is the uppermost guy. Sometimes when I run out of time to put episodes together, this is what happens.
You’re very busy.
If you have not tuned in, you need to go back and look. It is over on the Official Tonal Community. It is also on the Tonal YouTube channel, you can find it there as well. I love all the Tonal Talks so much. This was a very informative Tonal Talk because they discussed all of the inventions and design that went into making the Tonal. You remember way back whenever we interviewed Aly, and he talked about the very first version of the machine was strapped to his kitchen table. Do you remember how he told us about that? The entire theory of using electromagnetism is what is used in cars. He didn’t come up with that theory, but then he took that and was like, “I’m going to see if I can replicate the feel of a machine at the gym, a cable machine, by using electronic weights.” That in and of itself is an invention and patented. Aly was talking about how he has had patents throughout his career. This is not his first one. Also he patented things along the way. As they continue to refine the machine, the arms themselves are a complete new way to do exercise equipment. That was patented, etc. It was really cool.
Does that mean when we see some of these other machines with arms that they might have problems down the road?
I don’t know if they will have problems. I had noticed that some of the competitors that are out there, I’m going to pick on Forme because I’ve been watching them very closely, and that’s the one that sticks in my mind. Their arm goes all the way down to the floor, unlike Tonal. Tonal can slide up and down, but the length of it isn’t from the top of the machine to the floor. Whereas Forme’s starts about a fourth of the way down the machine, then it runs all the way to the floor. The joint on this thing looks like it’s a six-inch plate.
I noticed that it was a little clunky.
You can hide the arms on Forme. When it’s not in use, you can tuck that away so it’s not there. That specific thing that Tonal did, they took those arms and they made them look so sleek. When we own it, we take it for granted all of the work that went into it to make it look that amazing. I was blown away by how much went into the design whenever you really break it down. The AI, even the smart handles, they have the sensors in the handles. That’s one of the ways that it can measure if you’re struggling, and it turns on that spotter mode. It’s because that sensor can tell when it’s shaking. It’s little things that show how much time was taken in the design aspect to, “How is a person going to use this?” That question was asked over and over again.
Not just that, but it sounds like they were thinking past the next step. They were like, “Eight steps from now, what can we make this handle do by putting the sensor?” It’s not just, “What is it going to do tomorrow? What’s it going to do five years from now?”
It was a fun Tonal Talk to listen to because Ryan Vance kept dropping hints about new things that were coming such as new family content, new types of workouts that you can do with the instructors, but they still allow you to go at your own pace, which I’m curious to see how that works.
That will be fascinating to figure out the logistics on something like that.
Also more advanced modes. I’m so curious. Sorry, Kate, I had to talk about it.
While we’re talking about Tonal Talks, we should talk about this Tonal Talk, upcoming with Mark Allen, the guy behind the new triathlons here.
We’ve talked about before, and I think it was just the last episode because it was brand new, that Mark Allen is going to be a guest coach for the triathlon series. First of all, I want to make sure that I mention that there’s another triathlon program that’s getting ready to launch on August 17th called Triathlon Power. The first one was Triathlon Endurance. This one is Power. It is going to be in season training that’s going to maximize strength and muscular stamina without over-training, so you can keep doing your training. You can skip doing all your cardio and get to work on your muscles. You will get to hear from him directly on August 19th at 5:00 PM Pacific time. It also was mentioned by Ryan that there could be more guest coaches in the future. We’ll have to keep our eyes peeled for that one.
There’s a new addition to the Tonal mobile app.
This is freaking cool. Have I told you about this one yet, Tom?
I don’t know. You talk about a lot of things.
I’m glad you listened. I feel so validated and heard. This new feature allows you to look at your progress in a program week-over-week. This is pretty cool and also very humbling because my most recent program was Power to the Max with Coach Nicolette. It’s a freaking hard program. Even when we interviewed Coach Nicolette, she was like, “That was hard. That’s probably my hardest program.” There you go. I don’t think I was always doing my form correctly, which meant that sometimes I move up a pound or two in resistance over time and I wasn’t in the right form. I’ve been really trying to focus on form. As I focus on form, I have found that I have to reduce.
The weights are a little bit higher because you’d been cheating, but not doing it in the optimal way.
I wasn’t focused on the right muscles. When we interviewed Coach Nicolette, that was another tip that she gave me, and so I’ve been trying it. As a result as I look week-over-week, I have actually gone down. My scale goes the wrong way.
Just pretend it’s a Coronavirus curve and you’ll feel good about it.
That’s a cool feedback. It was a one-off. I’m not always going to be reducing it.
You’re essentially establishing a new baseline and then you will do the forms correctly and you will start to see that increase. You will get more benefit because you’re doing it properly.
That is absolutely true. It’s knowledge that I have that like, “Just because I’m completing a program doesn’t mean that I actually did any real movement forward.” I’m not saying it’s not good for me. I’m glad I did it. I know you’re thinking I’m talking myself down and I’m not. I know I do that sometimes. I’ve had a time or two. I’m saying that there’s more than one way to look at something. This was surprising to me to see that I decreased in a couple of areas. I really like it. It also shows you how your strength score progresses during the program. Just make sure that you have the latest up to date version of the mobile app which is 3.7.0.
You like it now. Once you reset the scale so to speak, then you’ll like it a lot. Tonal has a fun contest going on. They want to see your workout videos.
It’s pretty cool. I haven’t done it. I can’t believe I haven’t done it. I want to do it. I don’t even know if I can win. Can I win if I do this podcast? I feel like I can’t.
I’m thinking you can’t.
You guys can. This contest will have ended when you read this because it launches on 08/12. For those of you hadn’t heard about it, the cool thing is that you have to film yourself doing a couple of your Tonal moves. That’s it. You don’t have to have makeup on or do your hair. They want to see the real you. Three lucky winners are going to be randomly selected. They win a one-on-one virtual personal trainer with a Tonal coach. I am like, “That’s so cool.”
I’m a big fan of contests that give away experiences rather than things. Things are fun to win too, don’t get me wrong. We’ve done contests where we give away things, so I don’t mean to disparage that. When I was in radio, I was always like, “Instead of giving somebody tickets, what if we have the band go to their house for a barbecue and play acoustic?”
By the way, that’s really a thing that he did.
I think that’s a really cool prize that’s more than just, “Here’s a Tonal merch.”
I might have misspoken. The contest doesn’t end on the 12th in that, that’s not when they’re going to pick the winners. What’s going to happen is that’s the last day that you have to submit your videos. If you do read this on the 12th, you still have time.
You just got to be quick like a bunny. Put a little hustle in your bustle.
Tons of new programs are coming out.
This is one program with tons of workouts. I’m going to have to figure out a way to put these in a system that you recognize. We’re still getting the kinks worked out with this. The brand-new program in this two-week period is called True Strength with Coach Nicolette. It sounds terrifyingly hard, but also a super different way to do it. I love the way that every time I do one of these programs, they are incorporating different techniques. Whenever I did Power to the Max, she did what was a PAP Method, which we did five sets every workout of one move. Every time, there would be a different move that you focus on and there would be five sets. It would go back and forth between five reps and three reps.
My point being, this one is completely different. This one is descending reps that keep the volume low. As you move through the program, the number of reps during each block actually goes down. She’s also using chains mode for an extra challenge. It says here, which I’m super excited about, “The program features different moves in the second half for more variety.” That’s super cool. Then there’s a bunch of one-off workouts that they’ve been working on. That’s the other half of it. The first one is Flexible Recovery with Coach Francis. It’s 44 minutes of focusing on full body recovery, major joints, hips and shoulders, so you can work on your mobility. Then there is Barbell Barre with Coach Gabby, Advanced Full Body. That is a new kind of barre workout that uses the Tonal bar. It is interesting.
That’s a really clever usage of the barbell.
I’m very curious about this one because it says that it balances and compliment your strength training by improving posture and alignment. I’m curious how they integrate that barre into the workout.
Finally, there’s an upcoming Tonal lab.
It’s another cool collaboration that Tonal has done this time with Therabody. The Tonal lab is called Recover Like a Pro with Therabody. You can actually use your percussion recovery instrument and you’ll learn how to use it correctly to get the most out of that machine.
For starters, it’s not against your head.
Do not do that. That is correct. Also anybody in the Tonal community can get 10% off of purchase of a Therabody product. That’s pretty cool.
Joining us is the newest addition to the Tonal instructor staff, Allison Tibbs. Allison, how’s it going?
It’s going well. This is several days of being a Tonal coach so that’s exciting.
You’ve got it all down pat, you know all the things.
Easy money. You ask me any questions I’ll give you about maybe 2% of the answers that you’re looking for.
With everything that’s going on in the world, have you ever been to the office/studios yet?
I had. I’ve already filmed three workouts. They’re already up there on Tonal. They’re ready to go plus an at-home meditation. My journey into becoming a Tonal coach has been a long process because I’ve been going through the testing process. It was like birthing a baby situation of the whole thing. Towards the end it was COVID and that put a whole kibosh on everything. I have been into the office a few times, pre-COVID and then I was in the studio recording.
I’m curious about that. How did you first find out about Tonal? We want to hear all the details about this interview process.
I ended up learning about Tonal from one of my clients. I’m a personal trainer in San Francisco. My client got a Tonal for Christmas. I had this chip on my shoulder about Tonal and he then said, “Would you be okay coming over and helping me to get acclimated with this machine? I want to make sure that my form is okay.” I’m like, “Okay fine, whatever.” I go to his house and we do a session and I’m like, “This is pretty cool. I like this.” From that process, I would go to his house a couple of days a week to make sure that what he was doing, not with me, with the Tonal we’d have the right program for him and everything. At that point, he’s sitting down on the chair and the bench and he goes, “Allison, it would be awesome and also my worst nightmare if one day I looked up and saw your face in the Tonal.” He joked about it, and we laughed about it. Literally, 24 hours later, I get a phone call from someone in Tonal. They’re like, “Your name came up in a meeting. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of Tonal, or if it’s something you’ve been thinking about doing, but we’d love to have a conversation with you.” From there, things started happening.
Another reason why I was adamant about like, “I will wait for this interview process out as long as possible,” because the story was too good for me not to be a coach at that point. I went through the whole process and it’s been interesting. I learned so much more from it. Even from the first time I saw it until now, the changes that Tonal has made throughout the process of how they record and the structure, format, and even the set has changed drastically. I also feel like I’m coming in at that sweet spot where Tonal is like glitzy, glam, fancy, and super innovative. I’ve been along with the back seat, watching the process.
That had to be maddening to watch the growth, knowing that maybe you’re going to be a part of it, but maybe you’re not.
It was more maddening for the other coaches who knew I was going through the process. I have to give a big shout out to the coaches because they were emailing, texting and calling and saying, “What’s the status on Allison? What’s going on with her?” They were having coffee with me and keeping me connected through social media, letting them know that I had an advocate in them. It was maddening for them because it was happening and I’m like, “I don’t know what’s going on.”
It’s funny when you’re waiting to hear about a job with something like Tonal, the stakes are so much higher than “regular job.” Whenever you’re in the interview process and you’re super excited about it and then you don’t hear, it’s a long time and then you have another conversation with them. You get excited all over again, and then you don’t hear. You have to turn your brain off and be like, “I didn’t want it that much, anyway.”
I’m not going to lie I’ve had a few of those. It’s like, “It’s fine.” This was a good experience and I was trying to create this thing and then they would call me back, “Can you come and do another test shoot? We have a new set. We want to see how it works there.” I get excited again and then nothing for a little bit. The third time around, it was the brand-new set. They had a teleprompter and they had hair and makeup coming in. I was like, “They’re investing a lot in this three-hour shoot.” I felt a bit more like, “Things are moving in the right direction.” There was a little lull and weird because as a trainer, I know that I’m an efficient, good and effective trainer.
I know all of these things about my ability in that realm, but Tonal is another beast. I can create an Instagram video and it’s great but when you have this whole production, a part of you the insecurities from when you’re thirteen years old. “Do I look good or not on camera? Should I be thinner or should I have more muscles?” You start to do this weird thing with yourself. The reality was nowhere on the process did anyone say anything negative. All the feedback I got was always super positive or constructive to help me for the next time. I had to do a little bit of internal work with myself to ensure like, “You’re fine. It’s business, it’s a process, and you know how this works.”
It’s interesting as you see these connected fitness pieces of equipment burst into the cultural zeitgeist. It’s this new level of the profession that didn’t exist when all of the people who are hitting that level. It didn’t exist when you started your career. It wasn’t an option. It’s almost like when radio first started and the Vaudeville stars were like, “What? I can go and talk in front of a microphone and the whole country can hear me at the same time?” It’s such a shift in mindset. It’s fascinating to watch. There are lots of people that are I’m sure successful at what they do at a one-on-one level. There’s this other thing.
It’s interesting because you have to have a presence like you would if you were a rock star or a big country singer. You have to have this presence that a personal trainer one-on-one doesn’t have, and you have to have all this ability to do all these things at the same time, be watching where the cameras are, and be watching the teleprompter, or remember to cue things. Your mind has to do all that, but you have to look perfectly normal and natural while you do it.
It’s funny. I was filming for a new workout. One of the producers is in the back because I have this thing that I’ve never done until this shoot. I kept closing my hands in front of me. It’s not what you should be doing in that element with the camera, editing, and everything. He’s behind this another producer and he keeps showing me what I should do like, “Open your hands.” I say, “You’re such a good stage dad.” He was trying to help me through the moment of, “Open your hands, smile big.” All those little things that you forget about.
I’d never thought about that. From podcasting and having a radio background, I’m used to the idea of having a verbal crutch. I never thought of having to wear a physical crutch. A physical crutch is literally a crutch, but in this situation of having to do your hands a certain way, you can’t do that or a quick cock in your head to the side or whatever. I’ve never thought about it.
It’s easy if you’re doing a show because we can edit our own, “So,” that thing out. You can’t do that when you’re doing what you’re doing.
You learn about these weird quirks that you do, like raise an eyebrow and you start learning a lot about yourself in this process that you don’t even think about. It’s real. I was also intimidated because I’m looking at these amazing trainers and all the coaches are so smart. That’s another element. I listened to them talk, we’re in a group chat and they know their stuff and they are eloquent when they speak. I watched them and I’m thinking to myself, “I feel like I’m flailing around the whole time.” You see yourself like, “I know what I’m doing. You guys made a good decision. We’re good.”
That’s true whenever you start a new job though.
Tom and I talk about this all the time. I might’ve had my moments of that panic of the imposter syndrome. Tom has to walk me through like, “Here are all the accomplishments you have done. You did not make those up.”
“These things occurred. You have these skills. It’s okay.” I’ve been with you for almost a decade. I can attest. You’re good at bossing people around. Project management, it’s the chef’s kiss. You’re going to be great.
It’s nice to hear though, that even somebody at your level can have those moments of like, “I need to think about this logically not emotionally.”
That’s the point of it. Regardless of your level, you never think you’re at that level or you deserve to be at that level. I shouldn’t say everybody feels that. There are certain people. We don’t want to go too far afield who are maybe in a position that they’re not equipped to handle. We’ll leave it at that. They think they’re doing great. Most people feel like that. That’s a normal place.
It’s healthy. It keeps you humble and grounded and it’s a nice reminder that you’re human. That’s helping me with that process. I’m not expected to be perfect. I’m expected to be myself. It feels better and more authentic. Once I realized I’m talking like a robot, I’m using my hands. I’m having a Ron Burgundy experience. I was so fixated on my hands that I lost my spark. I lost my sparkle. I lost so much. I had to remember, “This has been a long journey for you to get here. You are here and now bring you. They can edit things out. They can coach you, but bring yourself to it.”
That goes right into the next question. What do you think makes you unique as a trainer, as an instructor?
I like to think of myself as I am silent strength or soft strength. I’m not one of those trainers that are going to jump on your back as you’re doing pushups. I don’t want you to throw up. If you throw up, then I’m going to throw up, and then it’s a weird thing. That’s not my style and no shade to anyone who does but for me, it’s this level of empathy and true care for each person. I want them to feel that I got your back, I’m in your corner, and we’re going to get through this together. I have feedback. My clients or when I teach group fitness classes, they’re like, “Your tone of voice is pleasantly annoying because you will tell me, ‘We’re going to go into about 45 seconds of mountain climbers and I want you to dig deep.’” They’re like, “Mountain climbers are awful and here you are lullabying me through this.” I don’t know what to do with that information. I do bring that. I bring a little bit of that. Also because of my journey into fitness, I remember the beginning and how difficult it was for me to get started in my journey and my struggles and the mental game that I played.
I like to meet people where they are, getting in the trenches with them, and also give them a good workout to where they feel strong. When you’re done with me in a workout or class, my goal is for you to walk out of that room, walking taller, feeling more connected to something deep inside of yourself, and realizing that it doesn’t end in the studio. It doesn’t end in the gym. It doesn’t end after you finish your Tonal workout. It transfers into your relationships. It transfers into how you walk down the street, into the office, and how you handle your finances. You’re more empowered to do more for yourself because you took the time to work on yourself at that moment with me.
You mentioned your journey of fitness. Let’s back up a little bit. How did that start? What were your struggles like?
I got into fitness by accident. It was never in the cards for me, Tom. In my mind, from the age of fourteen years old, I was going to become this marketing executive. I had a corner office somewhere in a high building, overlooking a city, probably New York, and wearing high-heeled shoes, suits, and a briefcase. That’s all I can imagine. I did that path. I went to school for marketing. I went to Penn State and I did all the internships that I needed with big marketing and media companies. I did all the things and I graduated from college. I went to work for a media company. It’s funny. I always joke and say like, “I worked for the man.” It’s the largest media company in the world and that’s where I worked. At 25 years old, I was stressed. I was like, “This is not what I signed up for.”
I also realized that I’m a horrible employee. I don’t do well with people telling me what to do. It comes back full circle. My mom said when I was about 4 or 5 years old, the doctor asked in a checkup like, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” I said, “The boss.” My mom was mortified. I’m indignant about it. I don’t lose full circle that, “I’m not meant to work in a corporate, like marketing job. This is not going to work.” Through that process, I was struggling with depression and anxiety and trying to figure this life out.
That has to be a super scary moment. When you spend your life, you chase your dream you get your dream when you’re like, “Maybe not that one.”
You’re lost again. It’s like, “I thought this was a thing.” I quit my job at 25 and I took a gap year because I never did that. I went to Europe and not doing it the visa legal way. I’ll go over for 2.5 months, come back home, repack my stuff, and then go back. After the third time, when the passport control people are looking at your passport, they’re like, “This is not right.” They start asking me questions. I said, “This is my last time to do this.” In that process, I was taking better care of myself. I was working out. I was in the small village in Switzerland between a pasture and a vineyard. No one spoke English. It was a lot of me spending time with myself and taking cheap flights to England or to London to visit a friend. I was looking better, I was feeling better and taking better care of myself. I come back to America and I gained the weight back. The anxiety and depression came back, skin’s breaking out, and everything’s going crazy and that’s when I knew. I knew that there was something that I was doing about my lifestyle when I was in Europe, that I was not subscribing and committing to and prioritizing when I was back in the States. From there, I started working out more and using social media.
At the time it was Twitter. I use Twitter to talk about my workouts and my food. I went through that process and people started reaching out to me like, “Can you train me or do this?” I’m thinking, “No, this isn’t for you. This is all about me. Go somewhere else.” It clicked. It was like, “If people are inspired by you and they want to connect with you, that is the goal. That’s the dream right there.” It’s passion-driven and purpose-led and it’s something that you enjoy. I did, I got my certifications and I did all of the certs. I did nutrition and life coaching and created this package. From there, it has grown. Years later, I’ve crafted this new life. To your point, me thinking that my life was going to look like one direction and seeing where it is now, who I am as a person, who I am as a woman, who I am as a professional, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I can’t even imagine that life that I thought I wanted. It seems inauthentic to who I am. It’s been a journey and I’ve learned a lot about myself and to your point with this new technology, and then we add in COVID and sheltering in place. The fitness world continues to evolve. It evolves quickly that thank goodness I love what I do. I’m in a place that inspires me and I’m curious to keep growing with it. I don’t mind all the changes. I’m open to saying like, “What could this look like and how can I fit?” When you find that dream thing, you want to do it forever. I want to do it as long as I can, so why not?
You can tell them that you love it. It comes through.
Here’s the thing. When your family looks at you sideways, as families are want to do, you ended up marketing yourself and you are back at a media company. You’ve come full circle but you did it your way.
I’m adding that at our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner.
He’s good, isn’t he?
It comes full circle. I can’t wait for Thanksgiving now. This is something good.
I’m sure your parents were like, “You went to Penn State, you spent all this money on this degree and then now you’re going to go tell people to lift weights? What?” Families boil it down to something that’s ridiculously simplistic. I’m not saying that’s what you do.
I’m grateful for my parents because they know their child. The perfect example is when I graduated from college, all my friends are getting cars, trips, and all these things. I got a life coach. I remember like no 21-year-old wants a life coach and then this life coach who then tells me that marketing and sales are not what I should be doing. I will not be successful in that. I’m like, “This person is telling me what I can’t do and everything.” When I made the decision to leave Corporate America, my mom is human resources. She’s been in human resources as long as I’ve been alive. She understands business and headcount and all these things. My dad’s an entrepreneur and they both were nervous because it’s like, “She’s built all this up. She’s done all the things. We’ve never had to worry about her. She’s always wanting to work.” When I left, it was mixed emotions. It was, “We’re glad that you’ve got corporate experience. We’re glad that you got to understand that game. It’s important.” Especially now that I’m older and I have the relationship I have.
Both my parents came from humble beginnings and both of my parents worked hard. For them, it was, “We want to ensure that our daughter, who is a black woman in America, has exposure and can live her life however she wants to.” There was a part of that of like, “She did that and now she’s on this new path.” They were supportive. They were always supportive. They didn’t quite understand it. Even with the Tonal launch, I sent my parents the Sizzle video and everything, but also my stepmom too. My stepmom is also supportive. My dad, he accounts for 200 of the views on the YouTube link. He watches it over and over again from different devices. My stepmom was super jazzed because she used to do fitness when she was younger so we can jazz on that. My mom is still like, “Are you in the machine?” They’re all excited about it. I talk to my mom especially because we’re close and she lives in North Carolina.
It has been tough. We haven’t seen each other and that’s been tough. Every time I talk to her and give her an update about Tonal or what I’m doing, she always says, “I can’t stop smiling. This is what every parent wants for their child is to find something that they love, be able to make an impact in the world, leave a legacy to have people who can say, ‘Because of Allison, I was able to do this.’ That’s all I care about.” My parents are happy that I can make a living from it and that I didn’t have to move back in with them, which I did during my journey. They both got their share of me living with them for a little bit.
Do they get their share of you or did they get their fill of you? There’s a difference.
It depends on the day.
We physically cannot spend physical time. My dad would drive by my apartment and give me an air hug. My mom sorted out Zoom so she Zooms a lot more. It’s good. That’s what I’m talking about now, the journey has come full circle. It’s funny, I even spoke on a webinar with that life coach that told me that marketing wasn’t for me. It’s been bizarre. It’s a nutty situation. That’s the part that we forget. Especially now with everything that’s going on in the world, sometimes we get stuck in our own stuff and it’s hard to see the bigger picture. You have these moments where you can talk through them or think through them. I’m a big fan of journaling. Sometimes I’ll go back to old journals that I’ve written. They’re right behind me and I grab them every now and then and I open the page of where was I?” In 2013, April 3rd and it’s like, “I was a hot mess. That’s crazy.” It’s important that we take these moments to stop and think because it can be easy to forget the bigger picture and it can be easy to forget who we are and what we bring to the world. This whole thing has been nuts, but it’s been fun and I’m excited for what’s next.
You should be.
On that note, what classes and programs should we expect from you on Tonal?
I have a bit of a reputation in the Bay Area around helping people to build the best booties in the Bay Area.
I like where this is headed.
My best friend introduces me to her coworkers and friends as her butt coach. Many times someone’s like, “You’re Allison, her butt coach.” I’m like, “We’re best friends, but sure, butt coach is fine.” I recorded a new workout that is all about the booty. I tried it out on Tuesday and I was sore up until Friday morning. It’s going to be a good type of burn. Hopefully, that core work is something too. I like doing bigger lifts that help you to engage your glutes, core, and help you feel truly connected to your body. I’ll speak for me personally. I feel the strongest when I’m working out is when everything is working together. It’s about feeling supported by my body that makes me feel like I can do anything. I love that aspect. I hate cardio so I put little bursts of cardio in there because if you’re like me and you don’t enjoy cardio, I’m looking at my bike that is probably collecting dust and cobwebs. I’m going to be biking.
That’s how I’m going to up my cardio game and I have not updated at all. Throwing some cardio in there, throwing in core always. Hopefully, anyone looking to build a nice booty that’s strong and helps it empower you through your day. My hope is that people train with me and we do a good booty program. They’re in the grocery store and they’re walking past the frozen food aisle and they catch themselves in the reflection and it’s like, “That’s my butt? My butt looks awesome.” That’s what I want for people. I want people to do that, walking down the street and take a step back and look and say, “That’s a nice booty. That’s mine. I built that.”
That’s a pretty solid goal. I like that.
I have a question about butts.
I’m President of Butt Coach. Let’s have it.
When you’re building the better booty, as you say, are the exercises the same for men as they are for women? Do people ultimately need to do the same thing because the butts would look different, but is that more biological than fitness-driven?
Yeah, it’s more biological. Even for women who are Q angle or the way our hips are situated in our bone structure, it’s going to be a little bit different. At the end of the day, the musculature of the butt or the glutes are the same. What I find is that for women, it’s more of their approach to getting there versus men. I’ll speak with my own collective experience, but men that I’m going to train, they’re interested in deadlifts, squats and going heavier and different things like that. Whereas I find women, they like more the toning aspect of it. They want it to lift. It has a little bit more of an aesthetic goal, which in both cases, whether you want to build it for aesthetics, for power or function, it’s still is the same thing.
It’s still ensuring that you have strong hinge patterns, you’re making sure that you’re being able to activate the glutes. This is something where a lot of people don’t realize is that the gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in the body. Yet we sit on it a lot of the times, it’s not as active as it could be for being as large as it is within the body. Activating the glutes and creating ways, these small micro-movements, to activate it so that it can get the best input and effort from whatever move you do, whether it’s squatting, lunging, running, swimming, biking, boxing, and whatever you’re doing or walking through life.
There’s a part of that too, of the understanding of don’t go and do one million squats and think that you’re going to build a better booty. It’s a multifaceted approach. That’s what I always say. We’re going to get to minute details of the glutes. We’re going to look at how your hips are working. We’re looking at what’s going on in the core. We’re looking at the whole body. We look at our bodies, our glutes are right in the middle. They’re right there between the upper body and the lower body. They work hard for us as well. What people start to notice when they start to activate their glutes and they start to feel their glutes fire when they’re doing other moves, that’s when they get excited about trying new things and getting into the spot right because it feels different and they’re feeling sore in a good way. They’re feeling stronger and they’re running faster or do all these things. That’s what I enjoy about that. I like butts and I cannot lie. What can I say?
The philosophy of the butt.
It’s a great muscle to work and we can always work it and there are many cool things you can do. That’s what I love about it. It’s a versatile muscle group to work on.
I don’t know that I feel like my glutes fire as often as they should, but I have noticed since I’ve had my Tonal, I can feel my abs in doing exercises or moves that I never could before. Maybe I’m getting to the booty.
It’s all connected. That’s what got me interested in learning deeper about the body when I started training. I love people watching and I would look at people and I would look at their bodies and their body posture. I would quiz myself, “If I were their trainer, what angle would I come at them with?” I would research it and I would go back and say, “This person seems like this way. What are the possibilities that are creating this dysfunction?” I learned a lot about how everything’s connected and I’m still learning so much because each person is different. I can be dead set on it like, “This is where it is.” I find out, “It’s your right pinky toe that has a dysfunction or something.” You’re like, “Huh.” I get to play in that space, but you’re right there, Crys. It’s that awareness that if we are more present in our workouts and that’s why I would say working out is a part of self-care and self-care is connecting with yourself and listening to what you need and being able to deliver that back to your body.
That’s why when you’re working out, you’re like, “I feel my core now. Things are working.” It’s like, “Where else can I engage?” Even with Coach Liz, she did a breath and core workshop and we were breathing. She was like, “Breathe into your left side, now breathe into your right side.” I was feeling things that I didn’t anticipate to feel. I got excited about that then I did my workout and I was thinking about that. It was a completely different workout. From my feet up to my core, I felt a different connection by paying attention to how I’m utilizing my diaphragm as I breathe.
You had mentioned one of the classes that you did was meditation. You’ll be doing more meditations on Tonal as well, right?
Yes. I love meditation because I’m bad at it.
I feel the same way about brain surgery.
Maybe it’s the Aquarian in me, I’m not sure, but I don’t like someone telling me that it has to be this thing like, “Sit down, quiet your mind and sit in silence.” My brain doesn’t work like that. My whole existence doesn’t work like that. I get a massage and it’s more stressful for me because I’m thinking of all the things I could do later. My brain is moving 1 mile a minute. The way that I approach meditation is more of active meditation. It’s guided and I’m asking you questions and I’m using meditation as a way to connect your breath with your thoughts and with your body. If you can access all three of those, then when you are in the real world, you start to get feedback and you know how to handle it. If you are in a meeting with a coworker that gets under your skin and you can start to process what you’re thinking about, you go meta for a second and think like, “What’s happening here?” You pay attention and you’re not breathing. You’re breathing into your chest and you’re holding your breath. You’re wondering why you’re reactive to this person. I’m trying to give you tools to help you to, “Let me get back to my breath. Let me redirect my breath to be supportive of me at this moment.” It’s a fleeting moment. Every moment it’s fleeting.
We put so much pressure and emphasis on every single moment of our lives and it becomes our reality where it’s like, “Take a step back, connect to your breath, and get matter with your thoughts, redirect, and then move that way.” That’s how I like to use meditation because I’m bad at the traditional one. It has helped me and I’m doing something in the Tonal community on our Facebook community about stillness. There’s strength in stillness. We’re used to being on autopilot and go, “I’m going 1 mile a minute. I’m talking about 1 mile a minute.” To slow down and sit with your stuff. I always say, “Sit with your stuff for a little bit.” Don’t try to avoid it. Don’t sweep it under the rug because it’s going to come back in the weirdest ways. Sit with it, acknowledge it, and breathe into it. What’s coming out for you? It’s been helpful to me.
I started doing it with my clients before sessions or sometimes they’ll come in to train. I look at them. I said, “There’s no way I’m putting you into a squat rack. You’re already carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. This won’t be resourceful.” Sometimes our sessions are breathing and I’m asking them questions like, “What are you grateful for at this moment? What are you looking forward to? What are you proud of?” Thirty minutes later, their posture is better and I say, “Let’s try something else. Let’s try working out. Let’s get physical.” They start. We have a 30-minute session that’s effective because they needed a moment with themselves that they didn’t take before coming into the gym.
Do you recognize those moments in yourself when you need them?
Yes. It’s funny because I’m an anxious person. I’ve been like that since I was a child and I wake up every morning anxious. Every morning I wake up and it’s about a few minutes to have a moment with myself. I’m intentional about how I start my mornings, because if I don’t give myself time to arrive into the day, then that anxiety takes the driver’s seat. Throughout the day, I pay attention to this biofeedback of when my breathing is shallow, my skin will feel hot or I can’t connect with my thoughts and it’s like, “You need to take a moment.” Something’s happening. There’s a disconnect and you’re not being resourceful. I intentionally want to show up resourceful as often as I can. It almost feels like I’m fighting with myself when I feel that come up and it’s like, “Something’s off.” That little check that comes on and you can do that. I’ve found that it’s been easier. It’s interesting that I’m in a healthy relationship.
When you’re in a healthy relationship, new things show up because you don’t have to rely on your past defense mechanisms and your coping skills. There are new things that show up for me. I’m relearning a lot of things within myself. I’m learning how to be silent like, “If I opened my mouth, fiery venom is going to spew. Maybe I should take my own advice and sit with my stuff for a little bit before I say anything.” It’s been like, “This is cool.” That’s what I love about fitness. It’s not just the physical. If we can learn to invite that other part of ourselves into it, the cycle that happens, it’s lovely.
I feel like I’m learning a lot here. I feel like I’m getting a personal training session. This is super deep.
She’s like, “I’ll invoice you.”
I didn’t bring it up, but I’m glad that we’ve discussed that.
Are you still doing your one-on-one personal training sessions as you transition into being a Tonal coach?
I am and with COVID and the shelter in place, everything went virtual. For me, once we had the notice of shelter in place in San Francisco, I turned the living room into a fitness studio overnight. I had ring lights delivered. We displaced the dog’s bed to another part of the living room. I got all this equipment. From there, it showed me how I want to spend my time and the clients that I want to take on. There are certain clients that they couldn’t handle the virtual space, which was fine. We have a different way that we work. It’s more of a group setting. It’s more of I put people in a group and the workouts that they do, and I coach them through that. It’s easier for them to make that transition. I only have a handful of clients that I’m working with. Now that it’s virtual, we go deeper. I’m going deeper into their sleep, nutrition, and self-care. It’s changed.
My quality of attention to each client has elevated. I’m not taking on as many clients now. It’s running well because they get not the high touch that they’re used to, but they still get me and they still get videos, recipes, and different things like that. I have about four clients that I work with more intentionally and intimately, looking at all different areas of their life and seeing how that translates. They may not have access to a Tonal. They may not have access to all the equipment. I have to ensure that they’re still getting progress in their wellness through this time until we can get back to something that resembles what it was when we had a gym.
To bring the narrative full circle, I’m curious, is one of those clients the guy who bought the Tonal?
Yes. We’ve taken a step back, but we’re coming back full circle because he’s a runner. We’re looking at new things because for all my clients was great. He doesn’t still know. He doesn’t know about the Tonal thing.
Let the surprise be when you pop up the machine on him? You want to create his worst nightmare. We create what we fear and here we go.
I’m waiting for the text message to come in. I’ll probably text him a picture of my program or something. I’m still waiting for that. He did send an interesting Facebook. He comes into something on Facebook and I’m like, “I think now he knows.” It’s nice and people also get it. Especially in the Bay Area, this is where we are so that whole, “This isn’t real,” those stages of grief that we all went through when we started to know that, “You’re going to be in your home for a long time.” I live in a loft with no doors, no walls, and no rooms. When you live with your partner, working from home, we’re all over the hump. More people are interested in, “What can I do at home?” That’s what my fitness looks like now. That’s what’s getting exciting for me as people are coming back and saying, “I’m ready to do this because my job says that we’re not going back to the office until 2021.”
It seems like that might well be the case. My day job is booking concerts, so you can imagine what I do all day, which is to read a book.
We’re grateful. We’re both still employed.
As you switch chapters, you’re like, “How long are they going to let me do this?”
I have a question. You said that you got all your certificates and stuff, and I know there’s a ton out there. Do you recommend one program over another?
My personal training is through NASM, which at the time that was the one. It’s comprehensive. I enjoy it the way that they program. Through there, I have my nutrition certification as well, which I love their approach to nutrition. I even have some clients who’ve taken the certification, so that way, our dialogue around nutrition is matched and is equal. Those are the two pillars, but over the years, I have Coach Natalie from Tonal. She recommended Girls Gone Strong, which I enjoyed that one because it created an opportunity to look at women in a different way. What we’ve learned is that the typical training protocol for certifications are based off of the male population. There were not that many exceptions to the rule or even considerations for the female body when looking at even the difference with hormones and how our bodies adapt differently to different types of workouts or different regimens of workout, different types of nutrition, sleep and different things like that. That helped me to zone in even more so in working with women to find those differences.
I still train my men and women clients the same, but I have a bit more information. I can ask different questions for women, and I can schedule their programming based on where they are in their life, their bodies and have a more productive training session versus the cookie-cutter. As a trainer, nothing should ever be cookie-cutter. It should always be deliberate. That’s what I love about Tonal. I don’t think a lot of people understand or know, but when we are asked to create a workout or a program, we’re submitting evidence-based information for why we’re programming what we’re doing. We’re taking time to research and to ensure that every move that we’re putting into that workout or that program has a purpose. It’s going to serve the outcome that we’re looking for and that it’s going to ensure safety and efficacy and all of those things where I think is why I love Tonal. Honestly, one of the big things I love about it is that there’s this evidence-based material behind it. It’s not, “Pull some weights and do some things.” That’s what I enjoy about it.
Those are the two then throughout that, I’m always looking for different ways to get certified prenatal and postnatal. I’ve done that. I’ve done trigger point, animal flow, kettlebells, and barefoot training. It’s a thing and it’s the whole movement. As a trainer and as a coach, for me, it’s important to always stay up-to-date and to always be interested in what’s new? What’s coming out? At the same time, my body is changing and evolving. I’m 36, things are different. After 35, the body starts to make up its own rules about what’s possible and what’s not possible. I started to research certifications that could help me understand my body better and then pay it forward to other people.
I might reach out to you if you don’t mind for a list of some recommendations because I am a little bit older than you and I didn’t have the background of being athletic when I was younger. I need to do some research to figure out what I need to do for a well rounded. I’m curious. I might pick your brain if that’s okay?
Absolutely. I can geek out on that stuff forever. Anytime.
Our last question is, do you have any advice for new people to the Tonal community or fitness in general?
The biggest thing is I always remind people and not just newer people. Even veterans and those who are more seasoned in their fitness journey. It’s not about perfection. It’s the effort and the progress that matters. That’s what the body cares about. That’s what the body thrives on is overcoming the adaptations that we’re having. If we remember that it’s not about doing everything perfectly. We want to make sure that our form is safe and that we’re keeping our bodies as healthy as possible, but showing up, that’s the first step because if you don’t show up, then everything else is for naught because you’re not even in the room, in front of the Tonal and lacing up your shoes.
Remembering that if you show up and you understand that fitness is this radical form of self-care, it opens up so much for you in your life. It helps you to frame your workouts as a privilege, a gift and an opportunity versus a chore, a to-do, or this thing that you have to do because society tells you, you have to. That way, you look forward to your workouts, seeing me or Coach Nico, Coach Paul, Pablo, Jackson, or Prince, all the whole crew. You get excited because you know that you’re doing something that’s going to pay these exponential dividends in every area of your life. It’s absolute magic. If you think of it as magic, then you lean into it and that fun. Don’t forget that. Lean into it and show up for yourself. If for no one else, show up for yourself, because you deserve that every day.
Before we go, where can people find you on the various social media platforms?
I’ve made it easy. It’s on any social media platform. If you look up Allison Tibbs, you can find me because I had to make it my name or I forget what my names were on social media. I was like, “It’s Fit By.” I was like, “It’s my name from now on.” If you look up @AllisonTibbs on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube, I’m there. I am sharing a lot of my life. I’m self-proclaimed occasional Hot Mess. You’ll see some of that hot messiness show up throughout, especially during shelter from a place. A lot of that has surfaced on my social. I’d love to connect with people. If you have questions or you’re looking for something, reach out. I love to connect and talk and talk shop or whatever it is you need. I hope to connect with more of you soon.
Thank you so much for doing this.
No problem. Thank you both and have a great rest of your day.
I guess that brings this one to a close. What pray tell do you have in store for people next time?
We are going to talk to someone and we’re going to hear about her fitness journey and as a side note, she hates cardio. I find that interesting.
Until next time, where can people find you?
People can find me at Facebook.com/CrystalDOkeefe. They can find me on Instagram and Twitter, @ClipOutCrystal.
You can find me on Twitter, @RogerQBert or on Facebook at Facebook.com/TomOKeefe. You can find the show online at Facebook.com/SupersetPodcast. Also don’t forget wherever you get your podcasts from, be sure and subscribe so you never miss an episode. That’s it for this one. Until next time, keep lifting.
About Allison Tibbs
Allison Tibbs is a certified Personal Trainer & Healthy Lifestyle Coach, as well as an International Speaker and Best Selling Author.
Her passion is to help individuals to move better, feel better, and live a better quality of life. She has trained and coached hundreds of entrepreneurs, corporate executives, as well as, professional athletes and performing artists around the country and internationally.
Her well-rounded coaching & training approach offers her clients with the tools, resources, and support needed to be healthy, confident, and successful. She has co-authored over a dozen books, including “Mastering the Art of Success” with Les Brown and Jack Canfield, and is the creator of “The Clean Eating Guide”.
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