If you are someone who is not strength training yet or are looking to get back into activity, you might be nervous. Getting back into movement in a way that keeps you safe and healthy starts with understanding your foundation and finding mobility practices that meet you where you are now.

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Key Takeaways

If You Want To Encourage Mobility, Representation, and Justice In The Fitness Space, You Should:

  1. Get assessed to find out where your body is at and what mobility practices could benefit you
  2. Stop viewing mobility practices as an optional extra and start including them in your daily routine
  3. Work to view people in the fitness space as whole people, not just exercise machines
  4. Seek out voices other than your own to find out how you can increase representation in the fitness space

Taking Care Of Yourself as a Whole Person

Rich Thurman, better known as Coach RT3, is a mobility specialist who is passionate about sharing his experiences as a black man in the fitness industry and advocating for coaching in a way that takes care of your body, mind, and spirit as one whole person.

Rich knows that mobility practices are not an optional extra but something that helps you get better at what you are trying to do and is here today to share how mobility, inclusivity, and representation intersect in the fitness space.

Investing In Yourself Through Mobility Practices

Mobility is the best investment you can make for yourself. By giving time to mobility practices that will improve your longevity, and preserve, improve, and enhance your ability to do the things you love longer, you will save yourself the necessity to give it up later.

Something as simple as preparation can help you create strength in the realms you may not have strength in anymore, save you from injury, and help you find a workout that fits your body’s strengths and shortcomings. Mobility practices are the key to move better, feel better, and ultimately do more for longer.

Representation Is Power

For too long, underrepresented people in the fitness space, such as Black, Asian, and LGBTQ+ persons, have been burying themselves to make other people feel comfortable. Rich is here to say no more to that and encourage organizations, coaches, trainers, and anyone involved in the fitness space to do the work, become aware, and take steps to view someone as a whole person.

Instead of assuming the needs of others and pushing that agenda, Rich wants to challenge you to work to improve yourself, learn about your community, and recognize the intersections between identity, representation, and fitness. It is only by working to be better, that we can include the voices that have been marginalized for too long and lift up our fellow humans.

Are you ready to give yourself the gift of time through mobility practices? How do you work to stand up for your fellow humans in the fitness space? Share your thoughts about Rich’s perspective with me in the comments below.

In This Episode

  • Why mobility is an important piece to getting active again that a lot of people skip over (6:16)
  • Tips for tackling mobility as part of your overall training program (21:35)
  • The role of social justice when it comes to the experience of being in the fitness industry (31:07)
  • How walking away from certification bodies can be liberating, challenging, and transformative (38:43)
  • The importance of mental health and representation when coaching a whole person (44:32)

Quotes

“When we look at training mobility, and why it’s important, it’s more along the lines of preparing your body for the things that you want to do.” (10:02)

“You can spend the time now, or you can give up the time later. There are only really 2 options. So when we create more room for the things that we love, we are basically creating more time.” (22:31)

“Peripherally, all of the wealth that came as a peripheral means of those bodies, the bodies of my ancestors who survived this ordeal, to make me possible, that is carried inside of me.” (33:07)

“The onus is not on us to find out when these things happen, the onus is on the organization to say ‘this is what we want, this is what we would like, can we find the people who are doing good work within our organization who have paid us money and maintained our certification, can we find those people?’.” (41:34)

“These conversations need to be had throughout all of these organizations and need to be commonplace. Because we need to know how to best serve the people we are working with, the people in front of us.” (48:01)

Featured on the Show

Strength Workout Mini-Course

Upgrade Guys Mobility Membership

The Upgrade Guys Website

The Upgrade Yo Sh*t Podcast

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LTYB 327: Getting Back to Exercise Without Feeling Wrecked

LTYB 143: Inclusivity & Social Justice In Health & Fitness with Dr. Tee Williams

Mobility, Justice, and Representation in the Fitness Industry w/ Rich Thurman FULL TRANSCRIPT

Steph Gaudreau
If you’re a frequent listener of this podcast, you know that I have a love for strength training, and hopefully, you have it too. But if you are someone who is not strength training yet, you’re not lifting weights or you’re just looking to get back into activity, you might be nervous, and you might have injuries or sore spots in your body that are just keeping you from getting active again. Recently on this podcast, I’ve shared so many episodes about getting back into movement and doing it in a way that helps you stay safe and healthy, instead of rushing back in and getting hurt. On this episode of the podcast today, I’m so happy to welcome coach rich Thurman, better known as coach RT three, he is a mobility specialist and he’s here to help you understand how mobility fits into your overall picture with taking care of your physical health, moving better, feeling better, and being able to do more and beyond mobility. Coach RT3 is here to share with us his experiences as a black man in the fitness industry, and why we still have so far to go in terms of diversity, equity, inclusion, and representation, and why it matters. The next evolution of Harder To Kill Radio is here. Welcome to the Listen To Your Body podcast. on this show, we’ll explore the intersection of body, mind, and soul health, and help you reclaim your abilities to eat and move more intuitively. Hear Your body’s signals, and trust yourself more deeply. I’m Steph Gaudreau, a certified intuitive eating counselor, nutritional therapy practitioner, and strength coach. On this podcast, you can expect to hear expert guest interviews and solo chats that will help you deepen your trust with food movement, and your body. Remember to hit the subscribe button and share this podcast with your friends and loved ones. Now, on to the show.

Steph Gaudreau
Welcome back to the show. This is Episode 338 and I am joined on this podcast episode by coach Rich Thurman, better known on Instagram as coach RT3, he is one half of the Upgrade Guys. And his mission is to help you move better, feel better, and ultimately do more. Now since gyms are opening up, or it’s nicer weather and so many of you are thinking about getting active again or going back to the gym. The other thing that I’m hearing a ton is what about that old nagging knee thing that I have, or I just want to make sure I’m doing this in a healthy way. And I don’t rush into things and end up getting hurt. So today on the show, Coach RT3 is sharing with us: What is mobility? Why do we need mobility, and ultimately, what it looks like in practice? And part of coach RT3’s podcast with his partner and his work in the world is to also bring awareness to issues that affect the black community, and specifically issues of representation in the fitness industry. So he’s sharing with us today, his perspectives, why this matters to him, and ultimately why it matters to all of us who are in the fitness space if we’re trying to make fitness more accessible and to increase representation. Alright, I hope you love this show. It is such a great one. Let’s go ahead and dive in. What’s up coach RT3, Rich, welcome to the podcast.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
Thank you for having me. I really appreciate you having me on.

Steph Gaudreau
I’m really looking forward to this conversation with you on many different levels. We were talking off-air and not only are you someone who’s super passionate about helping people move better, which is something that people, at least in my community need. They’re like, I want to be active, but I got this little back thing. I got this knee thing. Yeah, or whatever it is. But you’re also really passionate about talking about how justice issues are so important in the fitness community in the fitness space and bringing that to the table and having these conversations with people so that they’re even aware of it in the first place. So I really appreciate you just being open to talking to me about that stuff with me on the show and sharing with our listeners. On both levels. I think it’s really important stuff overall, moving better and having these conversations.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
Yeah, it’s all one thing.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah. So I would, gosh, there are so many things I want to ask you but just to kind of get started, let’s talk about maybe some of the mobility stuff. First, I feel like when people are, especially now, wanting to get moving again, obviously, with the pandemic, reduce access to fitness spaces, perhaps, or just feeling like it’s time now to get moving again, on whatever level, there’s also a lot of hesitation slash, my body is protesting. Going to do these exercises, whatever it happens to be. Or there’s, there’s hesitation because it’s like, well, I used to have that, you know, I have this elbow thing from a long time ago or my knee A long time ago, and I don’t want it to get worse. So there’s a lot of fear and trepidation that people are having about getting active again. Can you kind of give us the 30,000-foot view and your practice and experience view about why mobility is like this really important piece that so many of us like, kind of skip over?

Rich Thurman (RT3)
Yeah. Well, so I think the main thing that people don’t tend to think about when it comes to training is what is your base looks like, you know, what are your foundation and base look like? I think oftentimes, the body that we envision bringing to the tasks that we want to do is not this, or the body that we think we’re bringing to the task that we want to do is not the body that’s actually coming to the task. And I also think that a lot of us are aware that we are not the same as we were, you know, especially if you’re in my age group, which I’m turning 44 this week. And, you know, my body doesn’t do the same thing, or behave or respond the same ways in which it used to when I was in my 20s. And it’s noticeable. And this is not, you know, I think there’s a lot of people who try to say things like, you know, age is just a number and this than the other, I’m sorry, but when you got more miles on the tires, like it’s just like, these are, these are natural, there’s a natural process of human adaptation. And we stave it off through movement, and exercise, and remaining active and all these things. But our recovery is not the same, we have to spend more time, you know, recovering, we have to spend more time preparing, it’s just a totally different ballgame. It’s like you want to eat the cake. But you’re like, I don’t want to actually spend the time going to the store to get the eggs and then beating the Can somebody else beat these eggs, I just want to eat the cake. Right. So that’s how I feel like a lot of people approach their training is is they want to skip over the vegetables, then the real, like important aspects of it, which is, you know, do the things that I have, you know, in my body, do my joints, which are the prime, you know, spaces for movement, where movement, you know, begins originates?

Rich Thurman (RT3)
Do they do the things that they’re designed to do, in order to achieve the task that I’m trying to achieve? And so, but most people look at their training from the other aspect of, I want to do this thing. These joints better do these, this thing for me, right? And so we’ll go and we’ll say, All right, I’m going to the gym, I’m going to start bench pressing today, but you never asked yourself, like, do my shoulders do what a shoulder is designed to do. You want to squat and you’re like, Why? You know, I want to squat all the way you know, to the Ask the grass bottom, you know, bottom out, but it’s like do your hips even do that? Do your ankle? Does your ankle have enough range of motion for you to get in that very, very bottom of that deep squat? Can you get into a deep squat without weight? You know, so, you know why? why people think that like why can’t get there with weight but I can’t do it without weight and why people think that that’s something that’s correct is mind-boggling to me. So when we look at like training, mobility and why it’s important, you know, it’s more along the lines of preparing your body for the things you want to do. Do going into the pandemic and I work within a physical therapy clinic. I’m not a physical therapist myself, but throughout the pandemic, I’ve had a chance to observe like, you know, a lot of the people who are still coming in and you know that it tends to be like I started running, I started doing, you know, Peloton or I started this jump roping program.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
And or I started, you know, as I saw this on Instagram, and I started, you know, doing, I looked for my workouts on Instagram, oh my god, like, do not look for your workouts on Instagram, try these three exercises, you know, 10 rounds, 30 seconds, like, don’t do that, don’t do that stuff. So these are people coming in and, and saying like, something’s been aggravated or something has happened. And they haven’t been initially assessed before they started the activities, which is something that I say like, regardless, if you’re going to work, if you’re going to start working with me or not, like even coming for an assessment, you know, if I can assess you and give you an idea of where your body is at, and give you some direction, like at least you have that as a roadmap to begin doing the things that you want, in a safe manner. But most people don’t do a diagnostic, to begin with. So you don’t know where you’re at, when you’re entering the thing that you want to do. You just decide, like tomorrow, I’m gonna go run. And I don’t know how far I’m going to run, I mean, just rent, I’m tired. And then, you know, I thought was a good idea, because I want to keep in the habit, I’m going to run the next day too. And then I’m going to run, but she’s in track how far you ran, how much volume and you just keep doing it. And you’re like, oh, something was happening when my Achilles or my foot started feeling funny. But the truth of the matter is, is that the foot, the ankle, the knee, all those things were not prepared for the load that you were going to place upon it. So mobility training for in my, through my lens is, is strength training. It is an aspect of strength training, and it’s an important aspect of strength training.

Steph Gaudreau
I’m just sitting here nodding because I’m like thinking Yes, yes, yes. I’ve seen this a lot. And I know a lot of people listening to the show will relate to this. I also love recently you were you post you find like the most amazing videos on Tik Tok of these like, incredibly athletic folks. There’s like some somebody jump roping, and I was sitting there like never in my life, would I be able to do this? Or, you know, street dancing and like, their, their ankles and knees are moving in these really incredible ranges of motion. And I feel like that’s one of the things that happen now with social media, right is this we see these like really cool, sexy looking things. And we’re like, I think I’ll go try that, you know, that we can’t walk for a week, because our hands are blown up because we tried to jump rope. We’re primed for that. So I think it’s really important that you’re, you’re eliminating these things and sort of, like calling them out in a fun way. But also saying like, please don’t do this. And here’s how I can help you with that.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
I mean, Danny Glover was what, 41 years old when he said he was too old for this shit. And was that movie? I can’t of the name of the movie? He was only 41. He was like, I’m too old for this shit. And like, I sometimes you got to actually just take a hard look at yourself in the mirror and be like, I’m too old for this shit. And I’m not saying don’t do anything. I’m saying like, what that’s what you’re basically saying to yourself is that I need to prep myself for this. Like, my son is seven years old, almost. And he’s like, Let’s go play football. And I’m like, you know, I need to warm up. Yeah. It’s like, I can’t just he just starts from runnings like this is I got the ball, let’s go. And then like, tackle me. I’m like, I’m not about to chase you across the field there. I’m not proud. I got to do some movement prep. Is this not? Like really like 100%? Right. Like, I’ve seen too many, mid-40-year-old people come, into the physical therapy clinic, all because of something silly. They just this quick start, you know, that they had, and they were like, I just started I just went out and did it. And I’m like, yeah, blame yourself. I’m gonna get nice and lubricated. Like, don’t.

Steph Gaudreau
Yes, absolutely. And I’m 42 and so you’re saying you’re about to be 44 which happy early birthday. But I feel like you know, I trade with a lot of people who are in their 20s and sometimes I get those looks and I don’t succumb to that kind of peer pressure anymore. So I know my body well enough, but sometimes I get those looks like why are you taking the rest are like, Oh, you’re not going as hard today and I’m like, I have nothing to prove to you like you’re you literally kind of rolled out of bed because you’re 22. And and and just like done this and gone. Alright, I’m ready. Let’s go. It’s I feel like it does take that with that like wisdom and sort of self-control almost that discipline of mind to know your body and go Yeah, like, I need to get ready for this. So can you explain to us also just like, really super quickly, and I know this is like your like I could give you a dissertation on this because this is what to do. But what is the difference between I think what a lot of people think mobility is, is I’m going to sit there and like hold the stretch. Or I’m going to you know, do some side bends. And like that’s my mobility. So what’s the difference between doing some kind of stretching and doing dedicated mobility work?

Rich Thurman (RT3)
So stretching is definitely an aspect of mobility training. We have so there’s three, or there’s a couple of things here. So first of all, we need to understand what passive stretches, right? So you put yourself in a specific position and you stretch there passively. You’re not training the tissues, you’re not loading the tissues, you’re not doing anything. You’re just like, for example, in yoga, you’re like, Okay, let me like pull my leg up to my face with my hand. And you’re like, Oh, just hold it there and breathe. And say ohm. And then you’re like, Alright, cool. Like that’s just passively being in that position not doing anything. Then if I asked that same yoga person, like, Can you lift your leg to your face without your hands? Right? And let’s say they come up only halfway, they’re not able to get it to their face, right? So now we know that they have an active range, so that the first was their passive, bringing here, active range, maybe they go halfway, this is just being extreme. Maybe they go halfway. They’re like, Okay, well, your active range does not match your passive range. Right, so I can stretch you this far. But then actively, you only able to control this much. So then there’s a huge window or a huge gap between your active and passive. So with a lot of people, we’re trying to close that, that gap between the two. So we’re trying to say, Okay, can we work on creating strength within those spaces where you don’t have any control of that range of motion. And so that’s one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is saying, like, I don’t have enough passive in the first place, right, like, so, if you don’t have passive rains, you can’t build in the passive range.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
So like, if we’re, if one of the things that we like to say is that you can’t train where you can’t train, right. So if, like, you want to do a deep squat, for example, and you’re trying to access certain muscle fibers, you can’t actually train that tissue in those ranges, if you can’t move into those ranges in the first place. So we need to be able to have a passive range in order to train the passive range or to train that tissue. So we tend to I tend to focus on things from those two perspectives, like, do you have passive range? Okay, great. What’s your active range look like? Okay, great. Let’s close that gap. If there is a gap. Do you have passive range? No. Okay, I don’t even need to look at your active range at this point. Because I’m, I don’t know the baseline passive range to do the activities that you’re asking yourself to do. So and oftentimes in yoga and things like that is people spend a lot of time passively opening up space, but they spend very little time strengthening. So oftentimes with, with people who come yoga, yoga people who come to me for help, because usually, it’s like, oh, my back’s been bothering me, or this is happening. Oftentimes, we just look at their hips, and you look at what they’re able to control and you start closing some of those, those, you know, aspects between their passive and active and it’s oftentimes a strength deficit. For a lot of people. I’m not saying that, you should just be like, Oh, I have a strength deficit, like, go get assessed. If not, doesn’t have to be me. There’s plenty of other people out there who can assess you just have to know where to look.

Steph Gaudreau
That’s super interesting and I think there’ll be helpful for people to be able to sort of conceptualizing what we mean or what you mean when you’re saying you know, mobility because I think a lot of people you know, think okay, this is just like how far I construct with something.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
So, for you in particular like jujitsu, right, you get into certain positions, if you think about it, right. Like if Somebody put you in a position. And you can’t create force there to either hold that position, keep them from pushing you further, or to push yourself out of that position, guess what you’re going to be doing me like tap? Like, like, I have no way out. Right? Yeah. So that’s, that’s one of those areas where you can specifically look at like, you know, passive versus active, like if somebody pulled pushed my leg all the way to my, to my chest, and I can’t produce enough force to push them out and away from me, then I’ve lost that battle, I’ve somehow got, I’ve got to either maneuver myself and change positions where I do have strength, but you want to be able to have strength in all of those spaces, or as many of those spaces as possible.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. So in your opinion, and I know you have lots of amazing programs to help people out with this stuff. But one of the other things that I see people kind of resisting mobility is they’re like, oh, I don’t have a lot of time, right? Or, oh, I don’t have can’t spend extra time before after my workout, or, you know, I’m in a rush, or, you know, I just don’t know, you know, should I just be like, doing some bodyweight squats and like, that’s probably me for my squat workout. So there’s sort of this, this idea of, like, there’s either not enough time or people aren’t really sure how to tackle mobility as part of their overall program. What are some of your, your sort of like core pillars in that? Like, how do people approach mobility, from a point of view that it becomes just like, you were saying, part of a kind of what you do, it’s not like an optional extra, it actually helps you get better at what you’re trying to do.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
So for me, I believe the time is the most important thing that we have available to us. And so I usually try to frame things in terms of, like, you can spend the time now or you can give up the time later. Like, there’s, there’s only really two options, right? So when we spend, when we spend time, like when we create more room for the things that we love, and we’re basically creating more time, right. So if you, if you are doing, like all the supportive things built around the things that you want to do, you know, you’re basically building up a, well, of time and resources for the things that you love. And, and the thing is, like, if you give the time now, then, you know, it’s like an investment, right? It’s the best investment you can make for yourself because it’s a long-term investment. It’s, you know, it’s a low-risk, high-yield, over time investment, as opposed to high risk. high yield now, but potentially, big loss, sort of investment. So if you, if you look at it like that, I think it’s, it becomes more clear, especially, I think people who are a little bit older tend to get it because we kind of has an eye a better eye.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
I don’t want to be an ageist or anything like that. But we kind of, at a certain point you have so much experience with your body and you know, at in your mid-40s you know what it’s been like to be 20, like at 20. You don’t know what it’s been like to be 40. And that’s just straight up like, anybody who tries like, you know, I don’t want to sound like the old man who’s like, you know, I told you back in my day, like no, like, like, this is just straight up facts. Like, I know what it’s like to be 20 you don’t know what it’s like to be 40 periods, point-blank. There’s no end of the discussion period, I used to train people in my 20s I used to train people who were in their mid-40s. And, you know, oftentimes in my state of mind, I was like, I don’t understand why they can’t, or they can’t keep up with this. I don’t understand why they get so fatigued so quickly. I don’t understand why they need more recovery. I don’t understand why they want to warm up, they show up they actually show up earlier in the session to start warming up before the warm-up. I’m like I don’t understand all that but then you get to a certain age you’re like okay, well, you know, I think I need to do that extra stuff. So if you put in the time now, so that you don’t have to give up the time later because in my mind which is worse, being giving time.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
To a thing that’s going to preserve, and improve, and enhance your longevity, and ability to do the thing you love longer, or not putting in the work or not putting in that effort and time, and then having it taken from you, because of something so simple. As preparation, you didn’t prepare, and your body is now saying, I didn’t like what you did there, or I didn’t have the ranges, or I didn’t have the ability to do the things that you wanted me to do. And, you know, ending up injured. And injury, as you know, you know, is the biggest thief of our time. You know, if you got to wear a boot, guess what, you’re gonna be walking a lot slower. And, you know, you’re not going to be able to do all the things that you want to do for some period of time. And you’ve got to work extra hard just to get back to the baseline where you started. You know, and then most of the time, like in therapy, and physical therapy, they only take you to two to like maybe where you were before. A lot of times, they don’t take you past where you were before it’s left, you’re left to your own devices after that. So oftentimes you end up like through this endless cycle coming back spending more time. And guess what you also spending money. And money is equal to time because you have to work to make money. And so like, it’s all-time, I mean, do it now or do it later? Which one do you want to do?

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, it’s so true. It’s so true. It’s, it’s an investment either way. And it’s sort of like, do you want to behave the proactive version of that? Or do you want to have the kind of reactive version of right, having those things, you know, taken away, and then you have to get back to that point. And it was really frustrating. I’ve had to happen. And I have a lot of compassion and empathy for people who are in that position, right. And maybe they don’t have the best information or they don’t have a great. I think the Internet has helped with that some and probably not helped with it. But now we have folks like yourself, who are, you know, putting things out there that folks can consume digitally as well if they can’t get there and work with you in person. And I think that’s one of the really beautiful things about working in the space that we work in is you can go out and find these programs and like yeah, take the time during your day to incorporate it into your workouts and see how you’re better a better mover for it.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
Yeah, I mean, that’s one of the reasons why we like when the pandemic started, we, me and my colleague that we already had this, this program, or we already had this thing that we’re doing together called the upgrade guys. And then we thought when the pandemic happened, you know, this is a great time for us to just, we’ve got extra time half of our clients are gone. Let’s you know, fill them all the stuff that we wanted to film classes, short classes, 15 minutes if you only got 15 minutes, and then some longer classes, and just put this information in one place. And that’s how we know, started UpgradeGuys.com and it’s got over 100 classes available and some multi-week programs as well. So a hips program, which we’re in the middle of one of them right now we decided to do a guided one this past month. We hadn’t tried that before. But we just wanted to see what it would look like to go along weekly and communicate with people through it and kind of keep them moving through it. Because 12 weeks is a long time to commit yourself to something without someone by the second enemy like, Hey, did you guys do it? Did you do this stuff this week? But it’s been great. It’s been great. It’s been a great way for people to kind of access us without necessarily being with us, which, you know, for whatever reason distance, being able to afford it like whatever the case is, it’s a more affordable way to get in our brain a little bit.

Steph Gaudreau
If you’re listening to this podcast and thinking, yep, you convinced me stuff, I want to get stronger. I am ready to take that next step. Or it’s just been a while since I’ve worked out and I’m ready to get back into it. Then I want to invite you to sign up for my free strength workout mini-course. Not only do I walk you through all of the incredible benefits of strength training, but I’m also giving you three workouts completely done from start to finish with all of the tips and pointers you need. To make sure that you are executing them, as well as you can, and getting all of the benefits out of them. So if you want to get this free strength training mini-course, it is super simple. Just hop over to StephGaudreau.com/workout, that StephGaudreau.com/workout, and get enrolled in my free strength workout mini-course. I was listening to your podcast earlier this week. And I know that one of the things that you said in your very first episode is that when you talk about mobility in the fitness industry, it will come with discussions of justice, social justice, what it’s like to be a black man in America, and how all of these experiences for you are super intertwined. And I just wanted to give you some space to you know, to talk about that, like what is the fitting? What are what is the fitness industry? In your opinion, still not seeing still lacking? Or what are some of the issues that people aren’t thinking about, or even aware of in terms of how fitness and you know, your racial identity, this piece of who you are, or your you know, whatever your multiple different intersectional identities are, like how that factors into your experience with the work that you do with movement and, and being in the industry overall?

Rich Thurman (RT3)
So I definitely think, like, it’s taken a while for me to get to the point where I could find my voice and be unapologetic about any of it. I mean, this is I can’t take this off. I mean, right? Like, this is not something I can do like is to take the shirt off today and change into another one. No, I can’t wear blue today, let me just take this off, that was a direct shot at Blue Lives Matter, by the way, but every single day of my life is, you know, this is the context in which I’m living in the ancestor of slaves, the ancestor of people who worked this, this land for free, and, you know, basically allowed you know, capitalism to flourish in the way that it has in this part of the world. Because without that free labor, it would not exist. And, you know, peripherally all of the wealth that came, you know, as a peripheral means of that those bodies, the bodies of my ancestors who survived this ordeal to make me possible. And so that’s carried inside of me. You know, I listened to a guy yesterday on Tick tock, tick tock is amazing. Actually, listen to a guy yesterday on Tic Tok, he was talking about superheroes. And someone was like, you know, when did Captain America or when did Black Panther beat Captain America and apparently, somewhere in the cannon, Black Panther, you know, fought Captain America and he did win.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
But one of the things that he was expressing within this conversation that he was bringing up was that the difference between Captain America and the Black Panther is that Captain America is can be anybody, like me just give him the serum, you know, but Black Panther, as a character is the combination of Black Panthers throughout the history of forever. So, the Black Panther that is now a part of T’Challa is the combination of all of his ancestors and experiences combined. So whatever, like fights or whatever things that have been learned and gleaned throughout the history of his ancestors is now a part of what makes him which makes him markedly different than then Captain America. And so as I’m, as I’m thinking about that, as a person, I’m like, I am the combination of those things as well and for me to you know, bury that for the sake of someone else’s comfort is just not going to happen. I mean, I’ve done that for my life, the vast majority of my life and you know, It’s one of those things where you just, you feel like you’re not fully able to express all that you are. And you have to be something you’re not in order to make other people feel comfortable. And I’m no longer in a space where, like, I, I need to make someone else comfortable at the expense of my own comfort. And so I do a lot to make sure that I’m speaking on issues that are happening regularly. My Insta stories are always full of information and content.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
You know, my feed not as much, but it’s pretty, I mean, it’s sprinkled in there, either for through caption, or sometimes just blatant, outright post just depends on my feelings at the moment. But my stories generally have a lot of information and a lot of pointing people in a lot of directions on a regular basis. And then podcast, the upgrade guys, by design was meant to amplify black voices, but then on, in turn, that’s where it started, or that’s where it kind of, you know, that was the catalyst, but as as a platform, because you know, Black Lives, you know, within the fight has always been the baseline for, you know, pushing out, everybody, it’s like the tip of the spear. So, that’s where we started. But also, you know, we make an effort to bring in women, LGBTQ as well as Asian and Latino. And so, we haven’t, we’re having a harder time actually, oddly enough, getting enough Asian and, and, you know, Latino people to come on. But, you know, we’re doing our best to, like, reach out to as many people as we can to try to get that, get that going and get these conversations to happen. And it’s raw. So if you listen to our podcast,  I think you either like it, or you just be like, this is just not for me. And if it’s not for you, that’s fine. That’s, that’s fine. You have to ask yourself more. You know, why is that? You know, why does it make you uncomfortable?

Steph Gaudreau
So, yeah, I appreciate you sharing all that and I’m taking it in. I know earlier before we started recording, you were talking about, you know, the certification in the fitness industry, and how there’s, you know, your experiences and your all the things that you’ve done, like a continuous education, and how even now, like having to decide whether or not you want to continue to be aligned with and like giving money to certain certifications and organizing bodies and governing bodies can be like, this sort of decision that you have to make, from your point of view, like what are some of the ways that you’ve found it to be a challenge slash maybe even liberating to walk away from or consider walking away from some of these, like, certification bodies to kind of do your own thing.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
Um, it’s a little bit, I guess, to some degree is a little scary, because, you know, it’s like a, it’s like a pay to play sort of thing, right? Like, if you want to be kind of, you know, if you want to go into a major gym, or if you want to hold any sort of activity in a major gym or things like that, you either have to have established your own certification or be certified by someone you know, who’s handing out certifications and added costs and has relationships with all the major gyms and has kind of run the racket on the whole thing. Unfortunately, to be in a position where I don’t necessarily need that at the moment and but it is kind of scary when you think of like, well, what if I do want to, you know, do certain things you know, I’m kind of like, not able to write you know, it is one of those things where like, I attended all these different conferences and from the US to Asia and like I’d been, I would have been to the Asia fitness conference like, three, three times. And there have been no black presenters.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
You know, and, you know, as you’re there, you kind of think about that, and you think about what is this? What is this exemplifying to Asia? You know, so it’s like the continuation of perpetual white supremacy, you know because there’s barely any representation, when you get any of the flyers from, from these organizations, you know, saying there’s gonna be a workshop or a conference or seminar, and you can go through it. And you might find, you know, there’s 100 presenters, and there’s like, one black person. And so, you know, so many people were like, Well, you know, it’s because you have to, you have to apply, like, maybe not enough black people apply, and I’m like, maybe, but maybe none of the black people know that you when you’re supposed to apply, or how to apply, like, that’s not, it’s not the onus is not on us, to, you know, find out, you know, when these things happen, the onus is on the organization to say, this is what we want, this is what we like, and can we find the people with who are doing good work within our organization who have paid us money and who have maintained our certification? Can we find those people? You know, where are those people, they do no work to actually find those people and, and, and elevate. And so, you know, in my, in my mind, it is the responsibility of the entities themselves to, to do that. And then, you know, as you like, as I said, if you go over to, you know, Asia and just like, Well, now, the image of who’s bringing us the knowledge is not of people who look like me.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
So I’ve had to, like, I have a pretty solid, you know, following throughout Asia, simply because my, I spent a lot of time living in Asia. But that’s been the only way I’ve been able to kind of carve out some space for myself abroad, is by actually being there myself, for long periods of time. But, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s a challenge. And it’s one thing I would like to see changed within the certifying organism organizations because they also don’t, you know, it’s this is not just a black issue, right, it’s like, there’s not enough Latino representation, there’s not enough Asian representation in the leadership, there’s not enough LGBTQ openly represented in these spaces. And also, there’s not enough education, within those entities about coaching or training or working with people in these populations, whether it be working with black, you know, athletes, like I think we, we spend too little time actually trying to find out, like, what the needs are, and instead impose what we think are the needs, and it really bothers me, because when I look at black athletes, who are a commodity across, you know, every major university, every major sport, you know, raking in all this money, but their bodies, once again, are just being used and discarded.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
And a lot of these guys have no idea about the health of their body, like how to maintain the health of their body, how to improve their joint health, or how to take charge of their own stuff, they’re relying on other people. And then, you know, also add into those things that were never what’s never thought about is the mental health of these young men, as well. Because a lot of these young men come from places that are not, you know, like a college campus and are very different. And these things are stressful, and the spotlight is stressful. And, you know, that can be hard for people to find their voice and find what they want to do. And so it’s great when I see NBA players finally like saying like, you know what, we’re gonna We own this, like, we’re going to speak out, we’re going to say, you know, the things that we need to say because, you know, it’s allowed them to be like, strong together and unified together. And it’s allowed them to push for changes, unlike the NFL, but I think there’s all these things, all these things are factors, right. And mental health is a big one, because like, a lot of times, you know, these guys come from communities and like, you know, somebody in their neighborhood dies, somebody in the neighborhood gets shot and killed. And there’s no grief counselor there.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
You know, there’s always no grief counselors for, you know, these other neighborhoods, when there’s mass shootings, and in these other, you know, demographics, you know, but we don’t even think to talk to these guys who come out of Florida, or whatever Ward and in Louisiana, or whatever we don’t even think to, like, discuss these things as coaches. And then flip that around to like people like myself, as a trainer, working with people on a regular basis, you know, when I’ve had black clients, you know, it’s like, when Trayvon Martin happened, like, and I’m working, then I come into work with a client, it’s like, clear to me, that there’s like, we need a moment, like we both needed moments, you know, like, we need to, it was more than just workout today is we need a moment to really kind of break down these things, right? Whereas I think a lot of trainers who are not of color who are even working with black clients, may not even consider the fact that their client might just need to be asked, you know, what, how, like, how are you doing today? Because you know, this stuff, I saw this stuff happened, and this, you know, affects your community? And how are you dealing with this? How are you doing? And I think these things are, are things that are not discussed enough, because it’s a wellness thing, it’s a health and wellness thing. And so if you’re going to be the NSCA or the NASM, all these organizations, you cannot detach yourself from these issues as they relate to human health and wellness. LGBTQ trans rights, like trans people being murdered, like trans athletes, like these conversations, need to be had throughout all these organizations and need to be commonplace? Because we need to know how to best serve the people we’re working with people in front of us.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah. As like, whole people. Yes. Yeah. I really appreciate you sharing what you did. And just being able to hear it. listening to you. And, you know, I hope this gives people listening to this show who are not of color another point to seriously think about, especially if they are in the fitness space, the wellness space, right, a lot of people who listen to the show are coaches or they have some influence. And it’s not like it’s gone away, right? This is not like, this is just, all of a sudden, things are better. And, you know, these issues continue to persist. And continuing to think about and then take action on like, how can I make some kind of impact here? Right? And, and yeah, if you’re coaching people like seeing them as entire whole people, and that’s, that’s where a lot of people like me, because of my background, my upbringing, because I’m white. We don’t have that lived experience and it is that privilege, and it’s so important to do the work to become aware, to take steps, right. And be willing to mess up along the way and, and do your best. And so I really appreciate the time that you’ve taken here to share all this with us.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do so I really appreciate it. Yeah, I mean, I think we each play a role in effecting change, and we can either be a change for a better future for everyone or we can just be like nothing like there’s this I mean, like, and, and, you know, honestly, you know, I think people take offense when you say like, if you’re not, like, if you’re not anti-racist, you’re racist, right? Like, there’s racism is a spectrum. And, you know, sexism is a spectrum. And, you know, all these things are a spectrum. So you can either be work, there are only two spaces you can reside, you can either be working to improve yourself and your relationship to that for the better, or you can be doing nothing. And if you’re doing nothing, then you’re, you’re simply like not a part of the inertia, right. So you’re, you’re, you’re not pulling the rope in either direction. And so you’re giving space for it to be pulled in the opposite direction. So my thing is, is like, we all have to be doing a little bit of work, even just a little bit, you know, I don’t understand I don’t fully understand LGBTQ stuff. And so I spend time, like, on my IG live talking to trans people talking to other LGBTQ people, because I don’t fully understand all of it. And so I’m trying to learn and I’m trying to be better, you know, how can I be better support for that community, which is a part of my overall community. And so if we all had that mindset, to do just a little bit, I think we could all move in, in a better direction.

Steph Gaudreau
I think so too. This has been an incredible conversation, I really appreciate everything you shared with us about mobility, and of course, you want people to go and like to move better. But also everything you shared about these intersections of, of identity and fitness and how to meet people and, and really care for them as whole entire people, not just as people who are there to do squats on that given day and make them do more squats, you know, is that you know, caring coaches especially and any kind of like, caring person, helping person therapist of any kind, I mean, nutritionists, like it’s everybody, is like to see that person as that whole person and to go that extra step to care for them as a whole person is so key, for sure. Will you tell us where people can find all of your delicious movement snacks and mobility snacks and all of your programs and how they can follow you on social.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
So you can find all of our delicious mobility snacks, 15-minute mobility snacks, as well as we’ve got full consideration mobility classes, we’ve got a membership for just $39 a month at UpgradeGuys.com and so you can just hop over there, check it out. Check out the free intro to mobility just to get a taste and see you know what it’s all about. You know, be aware that there’s some cursing in there and there’s some like, I mean, me and my colleague we don’t we have like we don’t really like two grumpy old men.

Steph Gaudreau
Get off my lawn…

Rich Thurman (RT3)
Sometimes you know, like I’m filming or and he’s like doing the class I mean you never know what you’re gonna get. I mean you just it’s a roll of the dice so yeah, there’s banter there’s all that sort of stuff in there here and there. So be on the lookout for that. Mostly people like to enjoy it so but even if they didn’t so what are my people, yeah so so you can find that UpgradeGuys.com. Also, you can find me on Instagram well everywhere… Instagram, Tik Tok. What else is there? Coach_RT3 on Twitter. Yeah, I think I’m still that it’s Coach Rich Thurman on YouTube. So that’s the only one that’s different. But yeah, on Tik Tok, only come follow me on Tik Tok if you’re interested in learning some Mandarin. Podcasts, other podcasts but yeah, only come to Tik Tok if you’re interested in learning some basic Mandarin because that’s what I’m doing on Tik Tok most of the time. Which is fun. I mean, it’s easy. But yeah, that’s it. And Instagram is where I do most of my stuff on a regular basis.

Steph Gaudreau
Cool. We’re gonna link all of that in the show notes so that people can hop over there in case they didn’t get it. This has just been so fun. And so eliminating. So you know, just, I just really appreciate you being here and sharing with us today. Everything that you did. It’s been wonderful. Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast.

Rich Thurman (RT3)
Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

Steph Gaudreau
You’re very welcome. That’s a wrap on this episode 338 with coach Rich Thurman, Coach RT3, one-half of the Upgrade Guys, and podcast hosts from the Upgrade Yo’ Shit Podcast. I’m so incredibly grateful to him for coming to the show today. And yes, give us the real-real on mobility, but also, more importantly, to continue to raise awareness, and to have these discussions about why representation, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion matters so much in the fitness space, and why these issues are things we still need to talk about. So I’m so grateful to him. I hope this really gave you a point of reflection, no matter who you are, and what your role in the industry is if you’re a coach, or you’re somebody who trains or you’re just trying to understand the fitness industry better. Thanks so much for being here and listening today. I’m really taking it to heart. Of course, you can get the show notes for this episode, on my website, StephGaudreau.com, along with a full transcript. So if you want to go back and read, or just have it there in text, and of course, all the links that coach RT3 talked about, please go follow him on Instagram, and share this podcast out, tag us both. We would love to hear what you thought about it, and what your reflections are after listening. That does it for this episode of The Listen To Your Body podcast. I’m so grateful that you listen. As always, it means a ton to me. We just passed our six-year anniversary a few weeks ago. And it just continues to blow my mind that I’m able to bring in some amazing people in the world who you might not otherwise know about and you’re able to connect with them. And last but not least, if you’re looking for some simple strength workouts to get started with, you can get my free strength workout mini-course. It’s on StephGaudreau.com/workout. If you’re on Instagram, you can also find it from my LinkedIn profile. All right, I’ll catch you next week with another thought-provoking podcast until then feel strong and be well and we’ll talk soon.

Mobility, Justice, and Representation in the Fitness Industry w/ Rich Thurman | Steph Gaudreau.

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