Erik Arevalo is a strength coach to the willing and dedicated. Catch wrestler. Pro wrestler IGF Japan. Gym Jones level I, II, III certified. He has worked with guys like Beneil Dariush, Josh Barnett and many others.
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Full Transcription of Our Podcast with Erik Arevalo
Interview with Erik Arevalo talking about Commitment and Persistence and coaching methods
Corey Beasley [00:00:01]: Hey guys, is Corey Beasley with fight cam conditioning and I’m on the phone with strength coach Erik Arevalo. How are you doing?
Erik Arevalo [00:00:08]: Good. How are you?
Corey Beasley [00:00:09]: Good man. Thanks for calling in I appreciate it. Eric, give everybody a little two sense of who you are and what you’re doing?
Erik Arevalo [00:00:19]: Well, from the West coast, from the orange County born and raised going to a couple of different gyms, entrepreneur or right now I’m running around doing crazy things. Oh Shawn, stay active. But my love and passion is wrestling and no competition. Being stronger, being a better version of myself every day. That’s really what I’m about.
Corey Beasley [00:00:48]: Nice man. So Eric, you’ve been training for how long?
Erik Arevalo [00:00:53]: Well, since I was seven years old. Any time I could get around the set of weights, I was just focused on that. I actually got my ass kicked by a guy that was older than me. And I came back and fight him again. And from that point on, he actually mentored me and gave me my first curl bar. My mom didn’t want me to lift weights. I was young kid, but he gave me a curl bar and I hit it. I’m in my bed. I used to sit in my room all day long and just do curls and triceps extensions. So I was kind my first introduction to the weight room. I really fell in love with just competition. I just know I grew up in the 80s, and you had movies like Rambo and all those and it’s what men did. So that’s just what I did.
Corey Beasley [00:02:09]: Very cool. And then you kind of got more into the structured strength and conditioning side of things as you grew up, like you go to college. Did you study that stuff or where’d you guys go?
Erik Arevalo [00:02:20]: Yeah, so I wrestled in college in 2001. And I’ve always loved training I always worked out to my wrestling coach, was a great human being and used to always focused through I call abstract workouts at the time I guess what people will summarize is kind of CrossFit stuff. It was just circuit training, but it really wasn’t knowing a whole lot at that time, but they weren’t so after you took to that point, as far as I knew were always in the gym doing the same routine, no bench press and curls and let pull downs, all that stuff and no coach want to put these dudes on some cool stuff. And then it really piqued my interest and I just started studying and learning. I’ve never been want to focused on school and academics? I went to school to compete, to play sports. So he taught me was that I can really make a living doing something that I love that was focused on learning the skill to coach and making people stronger for me, my passing is people transform their lives. I just found the way to do it. Something I love. And that’s the weight coaching.
Corey Beasley [00:03:52]: So how’d you get you start working with the wrestling athletes as far as coaching wrestlers?
Erik Arevalo [00:04:07]: Well my mom actually forced me to wrestle. She actually in high school, walked on the campus and I’m the captain of the team and said, Hey, make sure my son stay in watching practice. And my dad wasn’t around and I really looked up to coach and from there wanting to be more like that man. It led me into developing my passion in coaching and I played football, I played arena football in the off season. I would go into a CSW with Eric Paulson. And that’s how I met Josh Barnett. That was when Josh was implied and there were all these guys that would come in to train with Josh and he would just beat the face of all of us. And for some reason, I don’t know if it was just fate or I was too stupid to know any better value so I just kept coming back and I was the only one that would be show up and show up. And I don’t know if you’ve heard the stories about how Josh train, but you may get knock out. But I loved that and from then on coaches really took me under their wings and I just, I fell in love with everything about competition. I love and those combat sports, an element of so one-on-one that’s just been involved. It’s been instilled in me so long that I really, I love giving that back now. I enjoy telling the path to the younger minds come to bodies and teaching them, work with them. And then just folding them into better people.
Corey Beasley [00:06:27]: Yeah. Eric Paulson’s like honestly, I didn’t know, I heard the name quite a bit. It was probably shoot six, seven years ago and I had a table set up and one of the couple of the boys that I train had a jiu jitsu tournament and I had a table set up outside where everybody’s walking in and stuff like that. And I guess Eric was walking in and saw a couple of the pictures that I had with some of the athletes that he’d worked with. And he goes, you work with those guys. And I said, yeah. And he goes, come inside, I’m going to introduce you around. He had never met me before, walked me around the tournament, guys are in the middle of coaching during the match he tap him on the shoulder and say, Hey, stand up. You need to meet this kid. And I was like, no way, dude. This is the nicest dude I’ve ever met in my whole life that’s crazy. Walk me around, probably introduced me to six, eight people.
Erik Arevalo [00:07:23]: That is Eric Paulson’s the bigger heart and I’m not joking he’ll give you the shirt right off the bat and he’s a really good dude man. You can’t say enough about the guy like that.
Corey Beasley [00:07:47]: For sure. Now, Eric, as far as you as a strength coach, you said you own a gym or two now?
Erik Arevalo [00:07:57]: Yeah, I actually started off with the two strength conditioning back in 2008. I stopped playing football and I wanted to coach, I wanted to get into it and I was very passionate about strength and my wife and I started this gym and me and Josh are hooking up a little bit more and he talked to me about opening the CrossFits and I eventually did that for the CrossFits route for a while, opened up two CrossFits and then as of this past year, 2016, I vacated those and went back to the strength. So at one point it was actually running three gyms. So I started off with a small internet spot and now I’m back in that same place, kind of gave up the bigger gym.
Corey Beasley [00:08:56]: A lot of times the size of places, everybody thinks like, Oh, I got this huge space. It’s big, it’s fancy, it’s expensive, all this type of stuff. There really honestly doesn’t always translate to one financial gain to it being just being happy as a coach. A lot of times it just berries, right?
Erik Arevalo [00:09:16]: Yeah. And if you’re going to call me coach, then I have to know everything about you and I take that title very seriously I want to know what makes you tick and I want to know what makes you pissed off and I can’t do that when I’m trying to coach 500 people. The word is deluded without bringing it back to a smaller location where I can only have 80 people in this gym not in a single moment, but collectively 80. And kind of answer your question about where I started, I’d open every book I could find every piece of literature I wanted to know and I wanted to know why it offsets really good mentors and peers. I’ve getting to work with some top people. So I’m very fortunate.
Corey Beasley [00:10:25]: Very cool man. Now, Erica, as far as when athletes are walking in your door, let’s say a new wrestler comes in, where do you start with them?
Erik Arevalo [00:10:39]: Compensation. I want to know what they’re about if they kids and how stable are, I got to build them on an individual basis before it can even be start coaching. Because that conversation tells me a lot about how they operate, how they think, are they are they a person of integrity? If they all in, I’m all in and if it doesn’t work I have one person that’s passionate. We’ve got to be in this thing all together. I really I don’t take a lot of athletes’. And it’s not that they’re don’t have potential. I’m not interested in working with a high dollar guy or the high level guy all time. That’s great. But with a lot of that comes a lot of ego and a lot of ideas of what should be done, how it should go. Don’t get me wrong I am in communication with my guys and girls all the time. But if you trust me to do a job, then you have to let them make the decision. I can’t come to you as a coach and tell you what I think I should be doing. I completely submit to you as that coach and say, Hey man, do what you need do with me to get me where I need to go.
Corey Beasley [00:12:17]: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think there’s two points to what you said that at least that hit me and one is that you truly take the time to connect with each person walking through the door. Right. And I’ve heard a couple of people talk about it recently just talking about buying in. And nobody knows, nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. And it might sound cheesy to some people, but honestly, as a coach, if you’re not connecting with those people, you lost it and they will, they will not stick around. And I’ve made that mistake in the past too, for sure. And it does make a big difference because a lot of places where you walk in, like you were saying about, you were talking before when you have several hundred people going through your gym and you’re just crazy. I’ve met so many people that are busy and that honestly, like when I sold my gym last year, it was kind of like, that was the biggest thing I wanted to run away from was busy. Because I don’t operate real good on busy, I like to take things a lot slower. I want to not rush, if we talk for 15 minutes after the session, I don’t want to be somebody be pissing and moaning and I’m not jumping into the next session right away because I can’t think. It’s a huge one.
Erik Arevalo [00:13:39]: Yeah. I mean when you get older, you start to realize, well that’s what’s valuable to you, you get a family who can kids, you have a wife and you had your ass trying to balance all those and running three gyms. And my wife and I opened the restaurant and then on top of competitions and everything else, trying to stay healthy on top of everything else, it’s very demanding and the older you get you try to prioritize everything. So I say, look to balance one or two things instead of a lot.
Corey Beasley [00:14:23]: Very true. And it does, sometimes people just got to go through that stuff first before they realize it. But I think that’s good advice for sure.
Erik Arevalo [00:14:31]: Yeah, that’s just experience. If you would have told me that when I was started out I will do the same thing all over again.
Corey Beasley [00:14:39]: Well that’s cool. So Eric, if so guys are walking through the door, you’re connecting with those guys, then what? I mean they in and they’re good way to get started, you’re both on the same page about what to expect. What’s the typical week looks like?
Erik Arevalo [00:14:59]: I’ll starting out the process with every process I will say, you don’t need to train anything more than a two to three days, three days max, three days in the weight room to me is my ego trying to prove you that, but I do support your actual sport. When we establish those rules, I have to find the imbalances in the body. I have to find, the things like the flexibility issues, the old injuries, what you lead to injuries, that kind of stuff, prehab and then sometimes in this whole process and as an athlete, sure you understand it you want to go advocate a hundred miles an hour, especially when you’re young, you just want to go, you want to get in the rain and go. When you get to be little bit older, wiser you can take a step back, do look, evaluate, then has everything starts to kind of formulate you gel with the person you’re working with. But they see the plan. They may not see it out of the gate, but we start off, we do a strength test, build that trust along the way it’s more than just a weight room stuff. There’s a lot of aspect that I feel you need to give these guys little bit of everything.
Corey Beasley [00:16:52]: Yeah, the sets and reps and stuff like that. The more I’ve talking to different coaches and stuff and the guys that have actually been around for a long time dealing with especially the MMA guys, wrestlers are very similar. But me personally, like I feel myself having to pump the brakes way more than to hit the pedal and try to push him harder. Because these guys are flat out going crazy all day, every day.
Erik Arevalo [00:17:19]: And they don’t understand why they’re injured, they’d be chocking up the sport. It’s not the sport did you? It’s the individual because what you just don’t know or you’re not listening, you know what I’m saying? And it’s a tragedy when you have a really good athlete or just anybody for that matter that gets injured cause it shouldn’t happen in the weight room and I feel for them just there’s guys that will go out and just do everything they shouldn’t do like, train way too much. And not rest enough. And then they go in the weight room and they get hurt and they blame the weight, the injury didn’t really happen the date you got hurt, it was set in motion weeks ago, months ago, years ago. But the fact that you didn’t take care of your body, keep right, sleep, minimize stress, you went out and partied and went out and drank, you’re doing drugs, whatever it is, it’s that, that’s caused the injury, not the coach. I mean there’s some neglectful people out there, but we talking about people that have been around.
Corey Beasley [00:18:54]: Yeah. Now can you talk about the boys, the boys coming in and seeing you two or three days a week? Then obviously they have their skill practice, whether they’re wrestlers or MMA guys it doesn’t really matter, but they all have the skill practices. How are you coordinating with the other coaches that are involved with that athlete?
Erik Arevalo [00:19:16]: So I always reach out to the coaches. Fortunately for me the athletes that I worked with, I’ve always been part of that team. So it’s been a real easy fix I get along with them but the biggest thing for me as strength coaches come in and not pretend like my job is more important than theirs not only you have to win the athlete over, but you got to win the coach over. So discussion what it is that these guys do, what’s the practice look like? And most of that can be summed up by the athletes. But I think it’s important for coaches to reach out and talk to all the team because it is a team. The individual can achieve a gold medal or a title on his own. I mean, even the lone ranger at taco. So you’ve got to find a way to connect with everyone on that team. And that’s troublesome, that can be a conflict at times. But I mean it’s very important for me to talk to the coaches and feel what’s going on fill it out. Sometimes you’re athletes’ will lie to you. It’s not because they want to lie, it’s because they don’t want you to take that gasket along if you will. They want to go, go and when programs for an athlete to hit the blueprint and the blueprint change, I worked with Beneil Dariush and I’ve been with him since he started, which is an awesome because I’ve seen him grow and evolve and we have a relationship now where I can trust everything that he says. If he feels good, I know he’s not holding back, he feels good. And if he comes in and says, look, I kicked the leg today. And I need to change up the blueprint sometimes, what we’ve had on the board is let’s splits, warm up, let’s stretch, deadlift, let’s go home. And at this point in our relationship, he’s good with that because he’s the long run and he knows that I’m, I’m not trying to hold him back.
Corey Beasley [00:21:45]: Well, and I think it’s cool at all. I mean, obviously that stems from you earning his trust and truly connecting with him. Right. And realizing that you’re not just there just to beat the piss out of him. But you’re dead on, we were talking about it with somebody else and it’s not every single time when I plan out long-term, it bites me, because the dudes walk in and they’re like, Hey coach, I Jack up my elbow, my shoulder, my knee, and my back. Like, what do I do? And you got to be flexible along the way.
Erik Arevalo [00:22:22]: Yeah. And that’s exactly it. And there’s a million other variables like he may come in he has a newborn and says, Hey look, I didn’t get any sleep last night for example, it’s for him and the girlfriend maybe you got an argument or whatever it is, whatever. They were a pressure is on him and he’s got a practice later in the afternoon I mentioned to him to go home and sleep. Because that’s more important than you coming in here and beating yourself up when you’re not ready to do it. I could wait.
Corey Beasley [00:23:05]: So Eric, you got these guys two to three days a week. You’re obviously flexible. You’re well thought out. You’re feeling out the boys talking to them about what’s going on in their life. You’re communicating with other coaches and stuff like that. I mean, what other things, from your experience over the years are big missing pieces of the puzzle are things that are common mistakes that guys are doing?
Erik Arevalo [00:23:30]: For the most part, I mean we talked about it that’s rest. There is this thing with athletes that they are not doing something, they’re not getting better. I think if you’ve heard the term, the phrase got to work smarter not harder and it’s so true. I hate saying it, but it’s a hundred percent dead on that is 100% accuracy at that. Got to ask the guy that knows when to go and when to have the balls enough to rest. I’ll say that most people don’t and that that is really, That number one mistake But it’s just everything I point to everything I come back to you is going to be really these guys learning as much as they can and about themselves and how they’re pay attention to their body. But it all boils when you peel back all the layers that I can say, nutrition has to be on point, you recovery has to be on point. It all comes back to education and most important lessons, and I’ll not go too much
Corey Beasley [00:24:52]: Now, are there like flags that pop up techniques that you guys use? As far as recovery goes how you monitor your guys and guide them, when they need that type of stuff?
Erik Arevalo [00:25:11]: Well nutrition is crucial without eating the right amount of calories and the right type of food. There’s so many ways that people diet and show different philosophies on nutrition and that’s a whole other podcast and a whole thing. But nutrition is a huge priority what I’ve learned is that, there’s some guys that, and girls, I just say guys, the general term, some people, some athletes that feel that they cryotherapy and STEM works better than massage. I don’t care if it makes the athlete at peace and they’re putting some kind of a recovery effort in, I’m okay with whatever they’re doing there’s some people go through that Reiki, the energy healing there is healing stones. I don’t give a shit what you do if you feeling better and I’m all for it. When it comes down to the basics, it’s really about nutrition, recovery, like sleep with recovery I’m a fan of massage, I’ll do a chiropractic, those are my go to, but just because they main go to, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to force them on you, so everyone’s got their thing. Some people like cold bath, some people don’t believe in them, I personally, I like to call Beth so.
Corey Beasley [00:27:05]: So Eric, we talked about a lot stuff and its killer information. We’ve obviously got a lot of experience, not only, which is your own athletic endeavors being around like guys like Paulson and those guys back in the pride days to all the way up to now with guys like Dariush and those guys, a lot of dudes in Southern California doing some cool things. And it sounds like you’ve got everything pretty tight. If people are wanting to learn more about what you’re doing, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Erik Arevalo [00:27:39]: My email, my gym right now, I have a kind of website up. It’s not really been a priority. It’s interesting because the gym that I run now, it’s, we don’t advertise for it you can’t find it we’re undisclosed. And it’s not about a thing for me, when I met, when I’m coaching people and my focus is on them and I don’t want people coming in, checking it out. You already know and I train people that aren’t athletes and you already know you can’t fake if you want to be in shape you’re either in or you’re out. It’s very black and white to me, so I don’t list my address. And I mean, anyone can train that, but I understand I’m not for everyone. And I want to make sure that the people that contact me, I have control of how we introduce him to the other people in the gym. I want to know if they’re the right fit, like I said about interviewing the athletes, it really goes through to anyone that I work with. I’m very particular about my time and I don’t want to invest in people that aren’t of integrity and that covers integrity about their fitness. If they’re going to show up, I don’t want to be worried about that because there are people out that I know that I can impact and I want to get ahold of them and take them to wherever they want to be taken to. So long winded that’s my answer. Short winded is going to be my email. That’s Ericvirtus@training.com.
Corey Beasley [00:29:23]: Cool. And guys, I’ll put that email address down below the podcast, so if you guys do want to reach out and talk to Eric, you guys definitely can. But Eric, I really appreciate you taking time out of your day. I know you’re super busy, but a lot of cool gyms and stuff you’re talking about. You’re dialed in I love hearing it.
Erik Arevalo [00:29:41]: I appreciate. One last thing before I go. I got to give credit to my coaches now that I work with West Vayner he’s a phenomenal Olympic lifting coach. He runs the brave barbell club out of my gym. You can check them out on Instagram as well. I’ve got a lot of cool stuff, man. So I appreciate your time and thank you.
Corey Beasley [00:30:07]: Yeah, of course, have a good day.