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The SCJ is the professional
journal for strength coaches, personal trainers, physical therapists, athletic
trainers, and other health professionals working in the strength and conditioning
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April 15-17, 2014
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Johnny Gillespie is the Founder of Plexus Fitness, Empowered Yoga, and the Balanced Athlete program. He is a long-time presenter for the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) under the topic of yoga for athletes. Using “strength coach” terms, he presents yoga in a way that immediately allows athletes and coaches to experience the practice as a science of structural movement integration. 1. Describe a typical day in your life First I wake up at 4:30 am and sit in meditation. I teach by 6:00 am and am done by 9:00 am. The rest of the day is filled with meetings, one hour of exercise in the form of bare foot running, Hatha yoga, weight training, or a combination. Then I am home for dinner by 6:00 pm with my three kids and lovely wife. I will then read to my kids, read to myself, and go to bed. 2. Can you identify a key turning point in your life/career that put you on your current path? Early in 2000, I woke up and sat on the side of my bed. I looked down at my running shoes and said to myself, “I can’t do this again.” I was in pain and decided to go to a yoga class that morning instead. I hated the class, but I woke up the next day and was not in pain. All from one yoga class; I knew yoga was not just stretching yet I did not know what it was. This was the turning point for me in beginning to understand movement and the truth about yoga. 3. Do you have any mentors? My mentors include my father, Daniel Thomas (Roman Catholic Bishop), and David Nichtern (Shambhala Buddhist teacher). 4. Why did you choose the NSCA when selecting your certification(s)? The NSCA was simply the most accredited organization and I loved the whole “science meets the field idea,” because we need both. Since I became a member in 1996, I have met so many great people through the NSCA and I feel very committed to the NSCA. 5. Describe your area of expertise My expertise is in the area of interpreting Hatha yoga and Eastern philosophy in a pragmatic way for strength and conditioning professionals, fitness professionals, physical therapist, and others who are interested. I also teach integrated movement in multiple modalities. 6. What advice do you have for up-and-coming trainers who are interested in developing their career in the fitness industry? Focus on what you want for the future and make sure your daily actions match your future desire. Find a mentor and be a sponge. Treat everyone with kindness; this will not only create great opportunities but also a wonderful life. Work harder than everyone else around you, yet also display the importance of rest and vacation. 7. If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing, what would it be? Pay attention to this moment and appreciate what life is presenting you with now. Happiness is now, not off in some distant accomplishment. 8. Tell us about yourself - what captures your interest, what do you do for fun? My kids, my wife, and my family. I am a family guy until the end. I also love people who smile for no reason and people who partake in random acts of kindness. 9. Do you have any upcoming speaking engagements? I am working to complete the Balanced Athlete manual and book. I think I can be a game changer for most fitness professionals. I can help people see the interdependent nature of their mind, body, and life in a very animated and practical way. I do not think most people look at movement quiet the same once they have spent time with me. To see more about my upcoming speaking engagements go to www.empoweredyoga.com and look up the “Travel” page.