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Tonal Raises $110 Million in New Funding plus our interview with Bernie Rizzo
Tonal raises $110 million in new funding.
Tonal launches a leaderboard.
You can now workout while listening to Apple Music.
Workouts now feature Muscle Map diagrams.
Tonal introduces boot camps.
Pre and Postnatal classes arrive courtesy of Coach Amy.
Don’t miss the Best Self September Community Challenge.
Tonal launches its Black Excellence Series.
Tonal celebrates Latinx Heritage Month.
All this plus our interview with Bernie Rizzo!
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
Tonal Raises $110 Million in New Funding plus our interview with Bernie Rizzo
What pretty tell do you have in store for people this week?
Tonal has been on a crazy roll.
Last week was a little flight on the news for us.
I figured it out. It’s because Kate was on vacation. I think that she’s such a great communicator.
She came back and her desk was all piled up with things that she had to tell people.
It was overflowing. This week, she’s done a great job and it’s two weeks between episodes. In two weeks, she’s done an excellent job of getting her desk cleared off. I have this feeling though, I think there’s more. She is tricky.
Here’s how tricky she is. She has things up her sleeves, even when she’s wearing tank tops.
There is so much exciting news. There’s the $110 million influx of cash that Tonal just got. I’m pretty excited about that new funding. Then they launched all kinds of features we have to talk about. There are all kinds of new content. Just this day, they dropped a whole new thing that we have to talk about. I don’t want to say too much at the beginning. It’s all new.
Before we get to all that, shameless plugs, don’t forget we are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, wherever you find podcasts, you can find us. If we’re not there, you tell us and we’ll fix it and we’ll be there. While you’re there, be sure and subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode. Check us out on Facebook, Facebook.com/supersetpodcast, so you can stay up to date on things that happened in the world of Tonal between episodes, especially with lots of stuff that has happened since the last episode, and you might not want to wait to know. There’s all that, let’s dig in, shall we?
Major news from Tonal. If you’re wondering about the future of the company, because with startups, people are always like, “I don’t know.” People were like that with Peloton at the beginning. When we started the Peloton podcast, people for the first 40 episodes were like, “I hope this lasts.” Here’s a real day brightener for everybody. They had a new funding of $110 million.
With new investors, and they were all amazing sports athletes.
There were lots of big names. Some of these names were so big, I even knew who they were.
That says a lot.
Barry Bonds. I think I only knew one. Do you have a list in front of you?Listen to your coaches. They’re putting programs together for a reason. Click To Tweet
We have Stephen Curry, Paul George, Michelle Wie, Rudy Gay of the San Antonio Spurs, Kyle Rudolph of the Minnesota Vikings and Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks. They now have a roster of more than twenty athletes who are recognizing Tonal as the connected fitness, the strength training system.
I think that says a lot that you have these athletes coming on board as investors. It’s like they’ve used it and they’re like, “This is not a toy. This is a real thing. Real enough that I’m going to put my money in it.”
I did not know that Serena Williams was one of their investors, and so is Klay Thompson and Tony Gonzalez.
I did not know that either.
That’s new information. I need to dig deeper in the Tonal archives and see what else.
You’ve got to pull out some SEC filings or something.
They note in their press release that Tonal was used by over half of the basketball teams within the Orlando bubble during the Playoff games.
That’s fascinating. People like that, that’s their most important asset, their physical wellbeing. If they thought that thing wasn’t actually accomplishing, they wouldn’t use it.
Not only that, but some of them are investing in it. That’s how much they love it.
You don’t get a better endorsement than that.
In one of the many groups that I am in, there is a gentleman who we’ve known for a long time now, Mike Kyle. He posted about connected fitness funding for digital fitness during COVID. This was on Twitter by Joe Vennare. Zwift is $450 million. Tonal, number two, is $110 million. Then there’s Keep at $80 million, Tempo at $60 million, Hydrow at $25 million, Wattbike at $14.8 million, FitXR $7.5 million, Ergatta $5 million, NEOU is $5 million. Playbook is $3 million. FORTË is $1.25 million. Aaptiv is an undisclosed amount. I thought that was fascinating. Yeah.
I feel like Zwift only got so much because everybody is focused on bikes right now.
I would agree with that, but I don’t know. They’re probably doing some cool things like.
I’m not saying that they’re not doing cool things and that people shouldn’t invest if that’s their jam. I think it’s only that high because bikes are so hot right now.
I find those numbers absolutely fascinating.
I feel like Tonal is positioned better because right now, I feel like there are many people trying to get into the bike space, and obviously there are a lot of people trying to get into strength too, but way more in bikes.
I find it interesting that there are many people trying to get into strength, yet only one of those other companies was on that list, and that was Tempo. There are a lot of companies trying to get in the space right now. I didn’t see any of them on that list. I find that very interesting. I don’t know how much research that person did, so maybe they weren’t on there because they couldn’t find them.
Back to the endorsement aspect, I was thinking about this. Michael Jordan endorses shoes. When Nike came to him, he wasn’t like, “What a fine shoe. How much money would you like for me?” That wasn’t the conversation. That was that, which is the exact opposite that we’re having, “What a fine product. Please take my money and make more of it.” That’s what’s going on. It says a lot.
It’s also very smart of Tonal. As we know from growing podcasts, the more people you have spreading the word, like they’re in it now, they invested not only their money, but also their pride. You’ve made them part of the product. That’s smart.
Tonal has a leaderboard.
This has been a long time coming.
People have been wanting something like this for a while. I know there’s been a lot of conversation about what would a leaderboard look like in this setting?
The answer is now out there. It would look like how many hours and minutes you’ve spent on your Tonal in a given month. I’m digging it.
It seems like as good of a metric because it’s not really fair to compare how much weight you lifted.
To give you an example. I was telling Brian, my stepson, your son, because he uses the Tonal, “They put out this new leaderboard feature.” He was like, “I don’t want to know anything about it. That stresses me out. I’m just going to be at the bottom.” I was like, “Let me explain. You didn’t even ask what the metric was.” He goes, “I already know, it’s going to be the number of pounds.” I was like, “It wasn’t.” He was super surprised to hear that it was this and he was much more excited about it. I’m happy that Tonal put so much thought into what would motivate people.
Is it time in the class or like time under tension?
It’s time in the class. It’s any time you’ve spent using the Tonal machine.
What if you take 45 minutes between reps? If you’ve got that much time, then congrats.
This comes back to any kind of fitness thing. I’m always just like, “If that’s what you’ve got to do to win, what does that say about you? Are you really winning?” I was feeling pretty good about that there are 2,000 people that have signed it. You have to go in and register your leaderboard name. Way more people than that use Tonal, but they haven’t gone in and made a leaderboard name yet. Right now, it’s about 2,000 and I’m right in the 600s. I’m edging down to 700. I’m okay with that because I do many fitness things that to be over halfway on leaderboard, I’m probably good.
Not 100% of your fitness is on the Tonal, so it stands to reason.
I’m very proud of that. I thought that was a great thing.
You can now use your Apple Music with your Tonal, which that’s pretty spiffy.
People from The Superset podcast aren’t as familiar with my plight. I am an Android girl.
Now, you’re finally going to cave and switch.
One thing that was cool about this is when Tonal came out and announced this, they had a blurb about how Android users could still get the Apple Music app if they wanted it. I really appreciated the attention to detail.
They at least have some option out there.
I haven’t decided, but I love that the option is out there and I love that they’re constantly finding new ways, so that now you can listen to your own music.
You can tailor your list and it saves money. It’s a way for you to hear the music you want to hear without them having to license everything under God’s green Earth. If you want to listen to something hyper-specific, you can, or if you’ve got some local band that you really love, you may have at it.
It’s a smart way to do it.
Then they added a little guy to the screen. Is that what they’re calling it? The Tonal Little Guy.
Yeah, that’s their official marketing. It’s called Tonal Little Guy.
The Tonal Little Guy is on the screen. There are two little guys. There’s one little guy on the front and back. They cut them in half, but not down the middle like sideways, and you get Tonal Little Guy front and back.
They decided to call it a muscle map.
That’s a missed opportunity if they asked me. You’ve got Tonal Little Guy front and back, staring me in the face.
It’s muscle map because it’s a map of what muscles you’re using at any given time. I have to say that I love this feature because one of my favorite things is not that the little guy as you call him is down in the bottom of the trainer. My favorite part of it is at the end of the workout, you can go to one of the tabs at the end of the workout and see which muscles you’ve worked in conjunction. Not only are you getting to see what muscles you’re working on in a given movement.
You can see if you light the whole little guy up.
I like being able to see all that I’ve accomplished. I’m such a visual person that whenever I see this map lit up of all the muscles I worked on, it’s like, “I did do a lot.” That’s a different way to show an accomplishment.
It is probably cool if you do a full body workout to see the whole thing.
In conjunction with this, they also made the weight circle translucent. When it’s not on, it’s less visible. I want to say quieter. That is great for people who are doing yoga and more of the chill like a meditation. You don’t want to be looking at that weight bar all the time. I thought it was a smart thing to do at the same time.
Everybody is going to bootcamp crazy.
Do you know what a bootcamp is?
I’ve heard of bootcamps. I know about bootcamp because that’s where Abbott and Costello go in Buck Privates. They go to bootcamp.
This is a little bit different.
I would hope because it was a hot mess, but a lot of fun for the viewer.
Tonal officially has bootcamp classes. This is exciting because they’re starting to make a lot of variety of classes. This is a big deal. You’ve got your yoga, your meditation, all of our amazing, plain old strength training, but now to be able to have bootcamps. The coaches actually workout with you when you do it. That’s pretty awesome too. There are several of these bootcamps that dropped and my guess is they’re going to be dropping more. You guys need to check it out. I haven’t gotten a chance to, it is on my list to do. You’ve got full body options. I want to say that one of these is the bootcamp with Coach Allison, and it’s going to work on the booty because she’s the booty coach. It’s a full body one. They’re going to be focused on whatever body part, like in this case it’s a full body, but they’re going to be fast moving and a lot of body weight exercises. You’re going to get a very different workout than just using the bar, using the accessory. It’s a totally different way to work out with our coaches.
Speaking of a different way to work out with coaches, there’s now pre and post-natal classes.
Not only is this content super exciting, but we also have a new guest coach. I don’t know her name because this literally dropped. By the time that this airs, everyone is going to know the information. All I know is her first name is Amy and that she’s going to be a guest coach. That’s all I know. There’s going to be a Tonal Talk on the same day that this episode drops. It will be September 23rd at 6:30 PM Pacific Time. I am very excited about that. I’m excited that they are expanding. I love seeing that. I love the variety.
There is a new contest for people to participate in.
Hopefully, people have already signed up for it because the deadline was on September 21st. This sounds really cool. What they did is they created this whole separate group for everybody to focus on together. It’s called Best Self September. It’s a community challenge. It’s going to be hosted by Coach Natalie and Coach Allison. It’s to help you be your strongest physically, but also mentally and emotionally. The thought was it’s been a trying few months, which I think we can all agree with.
I think regardless of what side of the aisle you’re on, we can all agree it’s been a lot.
There are lots of cool stuff in here. You’re going to get daily inspirational videos from Coach Natalie and Coach Allison. There’s a BINGO card that you get to fill in. Whenever you try to win, when you do these tasks, you get to complete them for prizes. I love prizes, which is why I joined the group.
They shouldn’t let you in.
I won’t win, but I will still join. I will do all the things.
There’s a cool Zoom event coming up.
This happened right after we aired last time, this was announced. It’s a very cool thing that Tonal is doing. It’s the Black Excellence Series. The very first guests that they had is Coach Jared and his sister, Caitlin Rodriguez, who is a PhD. They were sharing their views on the school to prison pipeline. What they’re going to do going forward is have these events on a regular basis. It’s always going to be like a Tonal employee or a Tonal coach or somebody like that moderating or hosting the event. They’ll bring in other guests as well to have deep conversations like this one was about some serious matters. I think that’s pretty cool. I applaud Tonal for doing that.
They are celebrating Latinx Heritage Month.
There is some cool stuff coming up. First of all, on your spotlight row on your trainer, that’s where you can get your workouts from your special Latin workouts to be very specific from your favorite Tonal coaches. We’ve got Coach Nicolette, Coach Pablo, Coach Francis and Coach Jared. Also that’s not all, there’s more. They’re also going to do all these cool events. On September 24th at 1:00 PM Pacific Time, Coach Francis and Coach Pablo are going to discuss their Latin roots on IG Live. On the 25th, Coach Nicolette and Coach Pablo are going to be making Tonal treats in the Official Tonal Community on Facebook. They are going to make their favorite Latin dishes. The last time I saw those two cook together, it was hilarious. On October 13th, you can chat with Coach Jared and Coach Nicolette on IG Live about what their Latin heritage means to them. It’s all kinds of cool events. That’s one thing that I absolutely love about Tonal. They have events going on every single week, your Tonal Talks and Tonal Labs and guests, people coming in and telling you all kinds of cool stuff. I learned something every day, and of course the Tonal treats.
Joining us in this episode is Bernie Rizzo. Bernie, how’s it going?
It’s going well. How are you?
Thank you for joining us.
What I always like to find out is how people originally found Tonal. How did you come across it?
The miracle of internet marketing. When Facebook throws ad at you, it does resonate. They’ve been hitting me with the Tonal ads for quite some time and I was intrigued. It was a beautiful piece of equipment. I looked at it and I was excited by it. My office is where I work out. It’s the second floor of our home. It’s a rather small room, 13×9. I’m trying to fit weights in here. I’m trying to do my workouts in here. It was always a problem and I saw this Tonal machine and I fell in love, but I waited a few months and I had some stock coming due. I had it matured and I decided I’m going to treat myself to a little something. I purchased the Tonal and they installed it after the New Year. It’s been a marvel ever since.
Was it just space for you or were there more decision points that you were like, “I have to have this machine?”
Originally, it was the novelty of it, having all the classes available, and the space but what it boils down to is I need adult supervision. I’ve been overtraining for decades.
What does that mean overtraining?
What does that look like for you?
Less is more. There can be too much of a good thing. What does overtraining look like? One thousand one hundred pushups a day.
How do you have time for anything else?
I would put in about an hour and a half every morning. I cut that down to every other day because my shoulder was getting all inflamed. One of the modalities I was doing was all bodyweight work. That was the last one before I purchased the Tonal. I realized that I was reaching a place where there were no more gains and I was blowing my joints out. I’ve had two surgeries on this shoulder. One on my right ankle and I did not want to go through a third. I decided I needed the artificial intelligence that’s in Tonal to supervise me, to keep an eye on me, to help me stay within a framework and it works.
I want to back up and talk about these 1,100 pushups in a day. I don’t know that I’ve done 1,100 pushups in my life. It’s an achievement so I don’t mean to take that away from you, but it sounds ungodly boring. Is that in a row? Is that spaced out? What are you possibly doing in your head during 1,100 pushups?
There’s not a little device or a little clicker.
I’m curiously counting. I was doing it in sets of 100. I finally reached a point where I was doing them in sets of 125 with a minute or two in between.
You have to get rehydrated from 1,100 pushups.
I’ve always developed my own workout programs which is why I have a variety of overuse injuries and why I’ve not had the gains that I’ve wanted to have over all these years. When I started doing this, there was no internet so I would pick up a book. There’s one person’s viewpoint on it and nobody was in that book jumping out and saying, “Don’t lift like that. Lift like this.” I would develop my own programs. There was a group of young men called Bar Stars and they were doing these incredible workouts on pull up bars, chin-ups, dips. I looked at these guys, I’m like, “This is amazing. I love the way these guys move.”
They had one video online where it was an elderly gentleman in New York and they’re interviewing him and he says, “I’m so-and-so and I’m 61 years old. I come down here to this park from my apartment upstairs every day, twice a day and I do 700 pushups.” He went through the pushups, pull-ups, chin-ups, the dips that he does. I looked at that and said, “This man is my fitness icon.” One of these young men looked at him and started shouting from the background, “You have a young man’s body, sir.” He looked a 61-year-old man’s head grafted onto an eighteen-year-old man’s body. Years ago, I had a tendon replaced in my right ankle. I’d snapped it. It was an ongoing tendinopathy where it was beginning to fray and it snapped while I was on a camping trip. I tripped over a tent stake. My brother would see this and call up and he go, “He’s lying.”
I had the surgery and I was determined to not lay in bed and put on 40 pounds. I decided I was going to work out through this process after the first two weeks of healing. How do I do this? I started clicking my head. “I can’t stand and lift. I can go back to doing all bodyweight.” I went back and I looked at this video and I went, “That’s my target. I want to hit 700.” I hit it and exceeded, I got to 1,100 which was a personal achievement which drove everyone, including my wife insane because I couldn’t stop telling everyone about it. When my orthopedic surgeon said, “You know you’re bragging.” I went, “I’m sorry. I’ll stop.” That’s how I got there. That was the last self-taught modality I did before I got the Tonal.
When you first went down this road of your goal is 700, what did day one look like for you? How long did it take you to get to 700 and then to finally get to 1,100?
I don’t recall the exact timeframe. I do know that I started out with sets of 50. I stuck with it. I know that I was in the house convalescing for about three months and I believe I hit that milestone another couple of months after that. I’d say about anywhere from 4 to 5 months to get there.
You would be sets of 50 until I hit it. If it takes all day, it takes all day or you would do sets of 50 until you were exhausted, and then that was what you did for the day and you drag in the next day.
I would do sets of 50 until I hit what I thought was a reasonable number. I started out and I got 200, 250, and I would build up each week. The whole goal was not to do sets of 50 but to get to sets of 100. I wanted to get to sets of 200 but the inflammation of my shoulder got to be too bad. As I’m moving up in those sets and moving up in the total number, I started looking at, “I have to increase.” It was like, “Let’s do 52, 53, 54.” I started increasing the individual reps to get to the individual sets and then increasing to the individual sets. It magically happened. A month to all this, I was doing pull-ups, chin-ups, and dips.
I was like, “That’s not magic.”
You were working your butt off.
If I woke up tomorrow and I was ripped, that would be magic.
I will tell you this, anybody can do this. A few years ago, there were a few apps that were put out by Apple. How to get to 100 pushups, how to get to 100 crunches, how to get to a five-minute plank. I did all of these and I got to those points, those milestones. You can do these things if you take them a step at a time. What’s the old saying how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
As you’ve gone through your personal journey, besides the time that you weren’t using weights throughout your life, have you always used weights or did you go through different periods of time where you didn’t? My background is that I started more of a lot of cardio. I’m curious where your fitness journey took you from that perspective.
I started with cardio as well, I moved into weights, and then I would rotate. It was bodyweight work. It was a high-intensity interval training. I came across Gym Jones online, the people who had trained the actors in the 300 movie. I came across these guys, I was amazed at what they did, and they were very hardcore. They were the first people I had come across that talked about functional fitness. I embraced it but I wasn’t in their gym and they didn’t have much online. I’m looking at what they’re doing and I’m trying to piece it together myself. This was about 2005. CrossFit was invented in 2000 but it wasn’t in a growth phase until about 2005. That’s when it exploded. I had that note done. I was looking this up in anticipation, I was talking about this. I said, “What was the timeline of this?” I was trying to develop what essentially turned out to be CrossFit for myself.
I was living in Northern California in Richmond near the Bay. There was this strand of beach on the Bay and there was a big old truck tire buried in the sand. I dug it out and I would sit there in the sand. I would go down there and I would lift it, flip it, and drag it. I would go on my long walks because that was about the time that my IT band tightened up so much that I couldn’t run anymore. I walk with weights. I had a 35-pound weight bar and I would stop, hit the ground, pushups, keep moving, work the weight, stop, hit the ground, crunches, keep moving. It was all exercise in motion. It was something that I had invented myself.
It sounds a Rocky montage. I have hearts on fire playing in my head.
I promise you, it was not anywhere near spectacular. I’m 5’8” tall. It doesn’t look quite as good on me.
So is Sylvester Stallone. He’s a tiny little thing.
That’s the magic of the camera. They make you look taller. It was all self-taught, self-run which is why I’ve made all of these errors over all of these years.
I never did a lot of weights before I have my Tonal. I’m curious to hear your perspective on what is it like to use the Tonal versus using traditional weights?
The thing that thrilled me the most when I finally got Tonal was how organic it felt. It felt like weights. It was the closest I’ve ever come to actual lifting iron. I had a Bowflex machine at one point. One of the original ones with the arms that would flex.
They were bows that flexed.
I’ve worked out with tension bands. I’ve used regular weights as well as working in here with dumbbells, kettlebells, and the magnetic resistance in the Tonal was literally the closest I’ve ever come to saying, “This is almost exactly like iron weights.” In some ways, the Tonal is that much better. When you’re doing any resistance, you find on some of these machines like the Bowflex machine or using resistance bands, as you’re moving up, it’s very light. It’s when you get to the very top of the motion that you get that full tension. That’s when you feel that it’s coming down. Of course, it lightens up again so that’s the same thing. You’re not getting that whole resistance from that tension.
That’s the same thing with the bows as well but here in the Tonal, that resistance is constant. It’s always there. How does it feel? It’s very much like it. It’s got tremendous flexibility. One of the last bouts of weightlifting I did where I was heavily in the gym was in my late 40s. I had built myself up to a place where my bench workout, not my top-weight of my workout weight was 350. It’s too much. The Tonal because it’s limited to 200 pounds of resistance, it keeps me in a place that’s proper for my joints, my age, and my place base. It is a miracle.
You talked about how at one point you were at 350 and you were a lot bigger. How does that work on your body? If you gained a bunch of weight and lost it, you would have excess skin. If you put on a bunch of muscle and you come back down, does it do the same thing or does it depend on how you come back down?
I will make this observation. When I was working out with my trainer Dr. Liz Letchford. She had snapped a shot of me doing a kneeling pull down using a bar and I was looking and going, “Daddy still got it.” I looked at my chest and went, “Oh my God.” A certain portion of my chest that used to be here was now down here. I had a biopsy in my early twenties under my arm. The scar is now here. How does that happen? Exactly what you said, as you get older, the collagen underneath your skin begins to disappear. I’ve been in derm drug sales for 23 years. It was in my wheelhouse. Collagen disappears and your skin loses elasticity. I built up some muscle, it went down and the skin didn’t exactly snap back.
I always think of that when I see pictures of The Rock. His arm is huge. I’m like, “What’s that going to look when you’re 75?” Not to be like, “You shouldn’t do that.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s physique is older and it’s thinner but I wouldn’t say that it’s saggy. I haven’t seen a picture of him naked.
It’s been a couple of years but I’ve seen pictures where he’s at the beach or something. He doesn’t have a shirt on. I don’t mean to be mean.
I get what you’re saying. You’re asking does it work the same way?
Creepy skin will come to us all.
I’m not saying he’s not working out but I don’t think he’s obviously working out at the level that he used to. With your whole journey of self-taught, I believe the fancy word is autodidactic. What do you think is the worst choice you made during that journey? If you go back, you’d be like, “I would never do that again.”
I could point out to ten things. Skipping leg day constantly.
It’s hard to make yourself do leg day.
I’m focusing on that. One day I looked at myself in the mirror and I said, “You look good on top but the bottom, no.” That was bad. Flies in that fly machine, that ruins your shoulder. That’s a major mistake. Upright rows, that’s another one that blows your shoulders up. In my opinion, overtraining, training by the numbers which is what we did years ago. How many reps? How many sets? How much weight? Which body part? It is the worst possible period way to work out, the old paradigm.
Compare that paradigm to the one that you prefer now.
We’re doing blocks with circuits. We are doing things that are complimentary. You’re doing one push movement, you’re doing a pull movement. We’re doing multiple compound movements. We’re doing things that are benefiting me and protecting my joints. Coach Liz is injury proofing me and helping me to work around all of these injuries that I have given myself. Old paradigms can lead to overtraining and it’s fine for a young body. When you start getting into your 40s and 50s, not so much.
I’ve heard Coach Jackson talk about that a lot too. He says that he used to train that way where it’s one body part a day. It’s like, “I’m going to do chest and back today, and tomorrow I’m going to do arms.” He says that that’s not the way to do that anymore because, to your point, Bernie, it hurts those because those muscles that you’re using, you tend to use the same workout over and over again. You tend to try to lift more weight than those joints can handle. A lot of other smart things that he said. What Bernie is saying is that working with Coach Liz and whenever we’re using Tonal, all of the Tonal instructors, they build in all of those things to make sure that you don’t hurt yourself.
They build in all of the things to make sure that you’re stretching your muscles properly after you use them and before you use them. That’s something I appreciate from Tonal. They’re bringing in the cutting-edge knowledge and looking at it from this whole holistic approach instead of piecemealing it together. I didn’t know weightlifting could be that way. I thought it had to be exactly what you described, Bernie, where it’s like, “Today is leg day. Today is arm day.” A lot of people still work out that way.
It’s an ancient paradigm. It’s not the way to do it. If I were to give one piece of advice to your audience who have a Tonal, it would be this, listen to the coaches. They’re putting those programs together for a specific reason. The way they’re putting them together is specifically made for you to get a maximum amount of return with a minimum amount of time. You don’t need to spend 1.5 to 2 hours a day doing this. I am doing what I’m doing with the Tonal and from what the coaches have been doing with me, I’m doing three days a week, 40 minutes at a pop, I’m down from 1.5 to 2 hours a day, six days a week and I’m getting five times the returns.
Your post spoke to me. Tell us what those returns look like for you. Are you seeing specific gains like muscle or you’re able to lift more? What does that look like for you?
I’m fighting these joint injuries. What this looks like to me is that I’m able to lift, not inflame everything, not wind up running back to my ortho and getting a shot of cortisone. I’ve been doing this for years so I keep myself in good shape but I’m seeing some definition in places I hadn’t seen before. That’s what it looks like to me. It’s keeping myself lean because it’s forcing me to work out in a way that is a stepped-up pace which gives me a cardio benefit. It’s forcing me to engage my core in every single exercise and it’s given me a better result on my core that I ever had. I’m at 15% body fat. If I can get myself down to 10% which I like my scotch too much.
We all have our sins. At 58 years old, I would have a rocking six-pack. This is what Tonal is doing. What I love about Tonal, what I respect enormously about the company is they didn’t hire actors, dancers and video them with a canned presentation. They hired coaches. They hire real honest to God trainers with tremendous CVs and their professional traps are incredible. They’re active. They’re interactive with us. If you own a Tonal and you’re not on that Facebook page, you’re missing out.
I posted that I had done a new workout from Coach Jared. His advanced weight training so it uses eccentric chains and all of the different modes. I posted about it and he immediately posted. It was like, “I want you to do that workout again in a week and see how different your body feels. One workout, one week later, do it again.” I’m excited to try that but to your point, you would post something like that, they talk to you. They want to be involved in your journey. Tell us about this one-off training you’ve been doing with Liz. How did you get into it? What are you loving about it? You’re still using the Tonal. I’m curious how you’re using them together.
That’s one of the things that I insisted on when Liz and I started working with each other. I said, “Everything we do, I want to do with Tonal because this is how I’m moving forward. I want to start as I need to go on.” I came to Liz, I got my Tonal and I started doing the programs. There were exercises there that I said, “I shouldn’t do that one but I’m going to do it anyway.” Of course, I inflamed my shoulder again. That was becoming a problem. I inflamed my left ankle and that wasn’t Tonal’s fault. That was a very narrow treadmill that I put under my desk for COVID times so I could walk while I worked at my standup desk. That began to deteriorate my left ankle. I started getting very depressed at this.
At the very beginning of COVID, I was moving about 6, 7 cubic yards of mulch and spreading around the yard. I pulled my bicep tendon on my right arm, which has always been a problem. I was infuriated and I was depressed. Coach Jackson was trying to help me reset my mind on how I viewed physical therapy. I’m the worst possible patient when it comes to physical therapy. He got me to change my attitude about it but it still wasn’t progressing fast enough for me. I was doing this PT that was online. My ortho gave it to me and it was a canned presentation for someone post-surgery, not somebody trying to repair an injury. I stepped away for a few weeks then I went back to the page one day. I was fooling around and I was complaining about what was going on.
One of the other members said, “You need to reach out to Dr. Coach Liz.” Somebody had mentioned her before her shoulder and the weight program which I thought of doing and I had not picked it up because that used to be my strongest point, now my weakest point. I said, “This is great.” I’m typing, “I will reach out to Coach Liz.” She reached out to me, “Let’s talk.” We did a little Zoom meeting. We talked about what the process was. I said, “Let’s set one up.” We set up the initial evaluation which was about two hours. She custom-built a program for me based on how I was moving, what my problems were. She did a tremendous job doing an intake with me. All of my injuries, my medical history, how I eat, how I sleep, everything.When you buy Tonal, you’re not just buying a piece of equipment. You’re buying a place in a community. Click To Tweet
She was more thorough than the physicians that I work with. She hit every single spot and anything that could affect what we were doing from a nutritional standpoint, to a rest standpoint, to a mechanical standpoint, she zeroed in on and then she built the program. The first week of each program, we’d work each day at Monday, Wednesday, Friday. As you moved into the second week, we would taper it down to 1 or 2 days and then we would take off for about two weeks because it was six-week evolutions. Towards the end, we would touch on another one. The very end we go to another two-hour evaluation and develop the next program. We’re on evolution two. We’ll go to evolution three and then she’s going to cut me loose to fly free from the nest. It’s been amazing. Coach Liz is incredibly knowledgeable.
She is patient. She is fun to work with, and she’s tailored this in a way that has not only kept me from injuring my shoulder but it’s helping me heal it. She’s teaching me how to hold myself. I would always rotate my shoulders forward, which is a problem, especially when you’re lifting. I’m learning to relax my shoulders, keep my scapula spread apart, and engage my lats because I was not engaging my back. Do you know the old saying throw your back into it? There’s a reason for that. That’s one of the strongest parts of your body. I was underdeveloped and this was overdeveloped here which was causing imbalances. She would work with me. She observed what I was doing. Of course, there’s a lot of moving of the iPad camera around but she would correct me.
I would grab onto that correction and I immediately self-correct. We would move onto the next one, the next exercise and it became very collaborative. The first one, it was what she was doing to me. The second evolution is what we developed together based on what was going on, what worked, what didn’t. As we’re moving on, she’d say, “How is that feeling?” I was like, “I’m having pain here.” She was, “That’s your labrum. We’re going to stop that exercise. We’re going to modify it this way.” I was like, “There’s pain here.” “That’s the labrum and that’s the biceps tendon. The pain back there is the torn rotator cuff.” Wherever it was, she would zero in on it and go, “We’re going to change this move to this or you’ve got to modify it this way.” It’s very in tune, thorough, and it’s incredible what I’m able to do now and not injure myself.
Did your mobility has increased from this?
Yes. My pain-free mobility. My range of motion has not been bad. It’s been good for two shoulder surgeries. Coach Liz looks to me, she’s like, “You had two and you can do that?” I’m like, “Yes. I’m flexible.” What I can do now is I can get in there and lift and within two weeks, not blow my shoulder back out.
That will mean that as you move forward, you’ll be able to hit your goals because you’ll be doing it safely.
I hope so. There is an underlying autoimmune disorder that a doctor spotted for me which we’re still working on. We think it’s psoriatic arthritis which the irony is incredible because I sell a biologic for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The first new one in years and it’s exceptional. As soon as we zero down to that, I’ll wind up taking that particular biological treatment which will stop the degradation of the joints. If I can stop that then there’s no stopping me from moving on to the next milestone and the next milestone and the next one. What I did in my 40s set me up for how I managed my 50s, and some of the reasons why I didn’t break my neck in Hawaii when I was body surfing and got slammed headfirst into the sand was because of all the exercise. Why I didn’t snap that ankle completely in half is because of the shape I was in. What I do in my 50s is going to set me up for what I’m going to be like in my 60s and partially into my 70s. What I do in my 60s is going to dictate how mobile I am in my 80s. I’m thinking ahead.
I was going to ask if you had any other advice that you wanted to share with the community that you feel they need to know about Tonal, getting started, anything like that.
We talked about listening to your coaches, truly listen to them. Rotate your programs. There’s a reason why these programs are only a few weeks long or they’re fairly short programs. Your muscles will adapt very quickly to whatever you’re doing. Your body will find the most efficient way to do it. Your gains drop because your body is that interested in doing and expending the least amount of energy. There is a reason why they do that. Follow along with that, don’t overtrain. I see a lot of people saying, “Can I add in? Can I do two programs at once? Can I add something in?”
Be very careful what you add in. I would stick mostly to one particular exercise program at a time. If I add anything like I decided to add a few things in with what Liz and I are doing, it’s usually abdominal work. Coach Nicolette’s ten-minute abdominal workout, I would recommend highly. It will kick your rear end in sideways. I was in the ground going, “Oh my God.” I have grown to both love and hate that one as much as I both love and hate Bulgarian split squats. Crystal, how often do you torture Coach Jackson about Bulgarian split squats?
I honestly don’t. I don’t say much to them about it because I know that I need to. I know that it’s good for me to do but I hate them so much.
They are good for you but I don’t miss a chance to throw something in there. “Thanks, Coach. My legs are killing me now.”
Before we go, where can people find you on social media if you would like to be found?
If they want to find me, I’m on Facebook under Bernard Rizzo. You see my shiny face on the front page. There’s one thing I’d like to plug if I may. I would urge anyone if they’re getting started with Tonal and this is a new thing for them and lifting is new, reach out to all of our coaches. They’ll answer, they’ll work with you. Almost all the coaches do training but if you have specific issues, specific problems, or if you want to work with someone with a doctorate in this entire realm, Coach Liz Letchford. I would suggest contacting her at LizLetchford.com and set up a one-time evaluation. That’s all you have to do. It is worth every dime. If you can do a couple of evolutions with her, if you can work with her for a period of time, do it. It is worthwhile. All of the coaches, if you buy a Tonal and you decide you don’t want to pay the $49 a month, you’re crazy. Pay it, it’s worth it. You get all of these coaches, you reach out to them, they’ll work with you. This is integral to the whole piece of equipment. Avail yourself with that.
That’s a great piece of advice because I bet a lot of people don’t realize that these coaches are reachable and hireable for individual plans and whatnot if you’re interested.
I thought I was buying a piece of equipment. I didn’t realize I was buying a place in a community.
You get both.
It’s incredible. I’m having so much fun with this. It’s the most welcoming community I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard people say some things about the Peloton community that they’re mean to each other.
It’s gotten large, anytime you get that many people, you’re going to have some D-bags in the mix. There are a lot of great people in the Peloton community but what you’re saying also is not inaccurate.
I’m sure there is. I’m painting a very broad picture.
I do the same thing. You’re not wrong in that. There is certainly that element out there. That’s less about Peloton and more about the scale that it’s reached at this point. Crystal talks all the time about how the Tonal community feels like what the Peloton community felt like years ago.
I hope that they keep it this way.
For people, when you were talking about joining the Facebook community or reaching out to coaches, if Tonal has even half the trajectory that Peloton does, you need to do that now because in 2 or 3 years, these coaches and stuff are going to be so swamped. They’re not going to have time for this or it’s going to be so expensive because they’re big deals even more so. Now is the time. Get it on the ground floor.
I don’t have an inside track to this. It makes sense to me that they will wind up adding, not ad hoc coaches but as coach light I guess. The people that you can reach out to who will train you personally and they will be all over the place. Once the scalability of this piece of equipment is incredible and once they activate that camera, it’s going to be a whole new world.
To the viewers, we’re spitballing. We don’t know anything. It’s what we think is going to happen. Don’t hold us accountable.
I do not work for Tonal. I do not receive money from Tonal but I can dream.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to join us. We appreciate it.
Thank you for having me. This was a treat. This was a wonderful experience, and I’m glad to be able to share what I’ve learned and my experiences with Tonal, my workout and fitness experiences over my lifetime. Thank you very much for this opportunity.
I appreciate you sharing and being candid. It helps people understand the gem of the equipment that we have. Thank you again, Bernie.
That brings this episode to an end. What pray tell do you have in store for people next time?
I’m winging it a little bit. I’m looking for people in the Facebook community if anybody wants to be on the show.
Or if anyone has got any suggestions for people that have great stories.
I’m still getting to know all the people in the Tonal community. I’m coming to look for you.
Be prepared, check your other box on Facebook sometimes. Until next time, where can people find you?
People can find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/CrystalDOKeefe. They can also find me on Twitter and Instagram, @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. Wherever you’re getting your podcasts from, be sure and subscribe so you never miss an episode. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time, keep lifting.
- Apple Podcasts – The Superset
- Spotify – The Superset
- Joe Vennare
- Bernie Rizzo – Facebook
- Twitter – Crystal O’Keefe
- @ClipOutCrystal on Instagram
- @RogerQBert on Twitter
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