Esia of ECR Performance talks about how "scientific principles" are key to any program.

Peter: Hello and welcome back! This is Peter Keller from Fringe Sport and I've got Esia Rivera from ECR Performance with me. Esia is based here out of Austin. Can you tell me a little bit more about yourself?

Esia: Sure. I'm a transfer into Austin. I'm not a local Austinite. I've been here since 2009. I was going to school a period of time when I graduated high school in 2007. Texas Lutheran University there in Seguin, playing football there, and spent two years there.
At that time I was dating my high school sweetheart, and she was going here to the University of Texas. Young love, whatever you want to call it. I fell in love with this city, so I decided to move here. Got here in 2009, finished school in 2015 and I bounced around a lot. I'm originally from the tip of Texas, an area called the Rio Grande Valley. Very, very cyclical, time lapsed area. It's a very comfortable place, but the feeling just isn't as high as other places. I felt like here in Austin, it really was a challenge to grow and do those things here.

Don't have any family here, everyone's down back in the valley. Even though we're in Texas you wouldn't even know we're still central Texas, or five hour drive down south. I've made it plenty of times, don't make it as often anymore, but that's where the majority of my family is.

I finished school, was in banking for about eight years, starting with Chase. During that whole time about four or five years ago I met a women's professional mix martial artist by the name of Maria Lopez. At that point with my background, always being an athlete, at the time I was just a major at that time. I kind of scout the middle herd. I would run the conditioning classes that we had there at the martial arts school where we were at, which was in the Academy. She had asked me to be her strength and conditioning coach and we kind of formed a partnership from there.

I was coaching the last four or five years, and when I graduated and got my degree from California University in Sports Management with a specialization in wellness and fitness, I started taking on more clients. I enjoyed banking in a small scope, it was something that would allow you to succeed financially. It was like coaching in those aspects and being able to get the most out of what God gave that person, whatever that may be or whatever their goals may be. I like my job and it's hard to think about just jumping in and not having security so to say.

With enough people telling me "you're never really gonna truly do something unless you go all in on it", I left my job this past year in 2016 in August. We had our grand opening for ECR Performance October 2016. We are beginning 2017 with the gym open and running. It's pretty good it's been an adventure so far but it's nothing that I had, when I was a banker I was a small business specialist. I got to learn from and pick the brain of a lot of other business owners. Fortunately I was involved with great high school coaches that really build great character and foundation. It's very similar to how you run a business and how you do a bank. That's what's let us up to this point.

Peter: I love it is sounds great. Leaving a career in banking, what do your parents say about that?

Esia: My mom and my dad always knew I loved coaching even when I graduated high school and was playing football. You start the college semester a little later even with the week before when we start working out and report to University. I was always at my old high school coaching with the kids and running because I was a receiver in high school and in college. I was in charge of the varsity receiver group every time I went back. I have them for 30 minutes they are in their conditioning sessions. Then when they got into practice their workouts before their class started, which was the second two weeks in August.

I always get that evening when I was here and started practicing martial arts, I stopped when I was younger. I was always coaching and doing all the strength and conditioning stuff; just going to the gym a lot. It was just a different type of passion for me than banking. My parents always knew I was that way when I was a kid I was fully immersed and not just being a great athlete but understanding how to be a better athlete and how to get people to maximize in themselves in team sports. Fortunately we had good coaches that taught us solid principles about a band of brothers so to say. You kind of grow with that and it;s something I've always known. It wasn't too big a deal, my mom was just more worried about insurance what are you going to do with this, what are you going to do with that. Just the typical mother.

Peter: Got it. Lets re-focus for a minute. What's your training philosophy? How are you training people that go with you?

Esia: Basically what I tell people anytime they step in is that my biggest job and my biggest role in whatever type of program we have, "you always base things off scientific principles". All those things are going to remain the same. You can go to a place that they just use kettlebells, you can go to a place where they just do suspension training. All those things can achieve goals that you desire, as long as their behind solid principles.

For me, my biggest thing that I tell people that enter here, my philosophy is helping people understand that as a primal creature we always have the flight-or-fight response in the hypothalamus. My biggest job is helping someone learn that when we get to that point and we're at that line, there's a very big difference between discomfort and understanding that your body is just uncomfortable with the amount of tension and stress that's being put on it because it's never been there before. Being able to help someone understand intrinsically that there's something inside them that is telling them no but, there's also something inside them that they can tell I can do this. that's where the real translation of doing something from getting to a goal and maintaining it is the difference.

When we get past that point, that threshold is where we can really teach people. All of my program really follows around trying to get to that line as best as possible. All my classes have several heights, they're all geared towards getting towards that line. Our classes are small so I'm able to really be heard and really talk and understand most of the members that we have and understand what motivates them inside of them. Being able to do that by keeping the classes a little smaller, keeping a lot of the workouts, explain with a lot of detail really helps in my terms to be able to get them to change the most and to want to change the most for sustainable life habits. So my philosophy is, I kind of call it the triangle of wellness. You are the body, which is the exercise here that we have at ECR Performance. You feel the body and that's about visiting chiropractors, getting massages; deep tissue. Taking care of the healing after you've warmed the body, for fueling the body with good nutrition, good food. Not necessarily following a specific diet but learning how to eat to perform. Whether that's 60 minutes of activity at a class here or walking, or jogging whatever that is. You need to be able to sustain life and perform at life not deter it. That's the triangle that we try to stay with.

Peter: Got it. So redirecting again, you had talked before about a partnership with Maria Lopez in MMA fighting. What's your type of client, are you training MMA people or what are you doing there?

Esia: No actually, most of the clients we have now, I'd say about 75% really never lifted weights before. So the clients that I really like are... I really really enjoy blank canvases. They're so much easier to teach, they have a much larger power for being educated on things and learning and trying to get things right. I always look for intangible people and part of my role is making those intangible traits translate to tangible, aesthetic traits that they want. There's already things inside people it's just about bringing that out, there's kind of like character in those things.

I really look for blank canvases. The type of people that walk into ECR Performance are people who kind of feel intimidated at some point by going to the gym. It is a very daunting thing to think "oh man I'm going to make the decision to go to a gym." Our facility, I like it because it's really one industrial complex. You kind of get that old school Rocky set and I enjoy that but it can be kind of intimidating to some people.

I always have the philosophy of membership through relationship. As soon as someone walks in we always take the first couple minutes of class and make people introduce themselves to someone they never met and do the same thing after class as well. For those people who are those blank canvases we're able to paint a picture of "hey if I come here I am part of a community", "I'm part of a culture here that not only facilitates growth but facilitates my growth". They invest in me just as I'm investing in myself and so it's much harder to leave a place like that as opposed to if you go to a larger commercial gym where some people may feel like their not educated enough to know what to do so they get discouraged. There's other people in there that are vastly different as far as their level of being able to lift, from a novice to someone who has been definitely seasoned. We definitely look for those type of people, those blank canvases that know that with all the information they get all the time, that they have to live a healthier lifestyle they just don't know how.

Then, of course, I do... If you looked on the website at there's a section called the Foot Doctor, Speed, and Agility Training. My real, real, real passion is training sport-specific performance athletes of all ages on the weekends. I've got two softball teams that I work with as far as sport-specific footwork, speed, agility, body control, awareness of space, how to be able to move their body, open up their hips and those things. That's another big segment that I really enjoy working with and that we try to get here inside the gym as well. Under that foot doctor label, which is just a separate part of ECR Performance.

Peter: I love it. So let's focus in on one hypothetical client and then we'll kind of pull this to the close. So you talked about helping people to unlock their potential possibly that they didn't even know about. Can you, without naming any names, talk about what that looks like and maybe use a prototypical client as an example.

Esia: Definitely, definitely. So talking about that blank canvas we have a client who comes in and they do a specific thing all the time, say that's playing soccer. They've never lifted a weight in their life, they enjoy playing soccer. They're relatively in good shape cardiovascular-ly, they're just wanting to be a little bigger, wanting to be a little stronger. Now when you play soccer and you're running around a lot that's a positive in training.

When you do those things, it's a very different principle. If I say I want to come inside and lift weights, a lot of what happens and a lot of what I tell a lot of our members is when we get to that point where your body is most uncomfortable, "I need you to talk to me and tell me what you're feeling and what you're thinking". I'm very very hands on when it comes to that kind of mental aspect besides that physical stand point of how they feel because, that's where we really truly make the most gain. It's not physically it's mentally. I always tell my clients that it's my belief that the body achieves it, that's just the way it works for 95% of things in life and we're gonna do that here.

Teaching them the proper technique and focusing on quality and always understanding this particular client that never lifted a weight in their life and 130lbs. Very light in that sense and being able to teach them and build a solid foundation, we start with a vertically routed program going by total body exercise and working through each muscle. Teaching proper technique we are able to... When we get to those mental breakdowns, when we get past that, you can teach anybody anything you can push them through anything because they trust you. That's back to that building membership through relationship point. Using the basic scientific principles behind programming you get a progressive overload and reactivity training, incorporating balance and enriched environment.

Of course in the beginning when we're building the foundation for that specific client for their needs, we move from "I just play soccer" to "I've never lifted a weight in my life, to I'm 140lbs now, I can dead lift 315lbs, I can bench press 1.75 times my body weight and I've never squatted before but, now I'm squatting almost three times my body weight." Those are in periods of six to nine months for most of the clients we get here. As far as the members here, we've got so many styles of classes that when they come in, once they've learned the flow, we've changed so much around that we're still working the same angle. Not the same angle, the same lines of force just in different angles to be able to teach people. When we have that prototypical client, that blank canvas, we're able to imprint upon them the mental grit that's needed to get past all of our programming so that they're able to achieve those results and get to their goals. That's really what we're teaching here that mental toughness. Goes through quality instead of quantity and also enriched technique.

Peter: I love it. Cool. Well that's been super interesting for me to chat with you. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Esia: I mean the only thing that I would say is that here at ECR Performance we really believe in that philosophy of membership through relationship. One of the biggest things I love about what I do and what we do here at ECR Performance is building that relationship with someone and helping them understand the very core of why they come in. When they're coming in, they understand that I am invested in them, the programming is invested in them, and one of the biggest things in our emblem is "Choose to Win", "Decide to be great every damn day". That's how you're suppose to live life, it's a decision that we're told from early age. We don't hope for a great life, you decide to have one. Obstacles happen to everybody but you decide to either react and make knee jerk decision or respond, take into account what's happened, and overcome. That's what you learn here at ECR Performance.

Peter: I love it. I think I remember a prayer "Don't pray to God for fewer burdens, pray to God for the strength to handle the burdens that come your way."

Esia: Yes and there's a lot of different meanings. Bruce Lee had said something like that in respect to... There is a specific prayer as well.

Peter: Bruce Lee, God, all the same right? Cool. Well Esia, I've got your website up here at and I'm looking you up on Facebook at ECR Performance on Facebook as well. What's the best way for people to get a hold of you, either they are in Austin and want to come train or for any other reason they want to get a hold of you?

Esia: They can visit our site and, it emails directly to me. It's also got a phone number on there, I'm completely involved in the business. If they have a call, they'd rather talk about things, I'm always open to talking, discussing what ECR Performance is like. They can always email us there on our site as well. We're pretty much on all social media, Instagram as well. We definitely post a lot of what we do in class. We've had live classes before. There's definitely a lot of avenues but the preferred one is I love to talk to people. So go to the website, get our phone number and give us a call and I'll be the one that answers and I'll be the one you get to talk to. It will be exciting to know right away you're not meeting a salesperson you're meeting the owner. ECR is my initials Esia Carlos Rivera.

Peter: Sounds awesome man. By the way, I know that your profile picture for Facebook for ECR performance is that beige Fringe Sport banner, love that stuff man. Thanks for the support and keep rocking along. talking with Esia Rivera of ECR Performance, have a great evening.

Esia: You too dude, thank you

Peter: Thank you.

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