NSCA’s Coaching Podcast, Episode 69: Molly Galbraith

by Scott Caulfield, MA, CSCS,*D, RSCC*D and Molly Galbraith, CSCS
Coaching Podcast January 2020


Molly Galbraith, Woman-in-Charge at Girls Gone Strong, talks to the former NSCA Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Scott Caulfield, about the history of bringing Girls Gone Strong to fruition and filling the void of fitness information geared towards women. Topics under discussion include getting involved with the fitness industry and the NSCA, how to better coach women in a fitness setting, and creating educational content to support those who want to learn more.

Find Molly on Instagram: @themollygalbraith or @thegirlsgonestrong

Show Notes

“It's time that more women rise up in the field of strength and conditioning. Now you all have each other's contact information. Do something awesome.” 8:01

“And 81% of women in the US report having experienced harassment. 35% of women globally are survivors of sexual assault.” 13:32

“So it's a tall order to change the culture of the health and fitness industry.” 17:33

“Or my favorite is asking them to explain what they mean by that. And then they get real awkward. They'll like make a joke or make a sexual reference, and you're like, I don't get it. What do you mean? And then they actually have to say out loud. They're like, I mean that I would do-- OK. And then they start to realize…how bad it was.” 21:39

“And basically we talked about how important it is to create an environment in which the women that you're working with… feel safe, that you're helping them feel strong and capable.” 22:45

“I'm a huge fan of this understanding that we're better together.” 32:47

“They can find me on Instagram @themollygalbraith, also Girls Gone Strong @thegirlsgonestrong… probably the best way is we have a free Facebook group for health and fitness professionals current and aspiring, it's called GGS Coaching and Training Women.” 46:50


[00:00:01.15] Welcome to NSCA's Coaching Podcast, episode 69.

[00:00:06.73] But there are-- again, I gave the stats earlier. 81% of women have been harassed, and that number is as high as 98% in other countries. And 35% of women are survivors of assault.

[00:00:16.81] So it's like this is a big deal. If you work with women, you are working with women who've had these experiences. And so figuring out-- being mindful of that and figuring out how you can create an environment in which they feel safe is really important.

[00:00:29.93] This is the NCSA's Coaching Podcast, where we talk to strength and conditioning coaches about what you really need to know, but probably didn't learn in school. There's strength and conditioning, and then there's everything else.

[00:00:40.45] Welcome to the NCSA Coaching Podcast. I am Scott Caulfield. Very excited to have my next guest with me today here in Washington DC at the NSCA 2019 National Conference. Molly Galbraith, woman in charge at Girls Gone Strong. Molly, thanks for making some time for me.

[00:00:57.92] Scott, thank you so much for having me, not only for being an integral part of me being asked to speak at the NSCA, which is really powerful, but for also having me on the podcast.

[00:01:07.35] Yeah, I'm excited. We have been friends for a while now. And I say friends in air quotes, because we've been friends on Instagram. But we've been talking about how cool that is when you're finally able-- we've gotten little interactions here, likes and comments and say hey and send you this, or you send me that. And then to finally meet someone, it is kind of like you know them a little bit, which I think is the coolest part of social media.

[00:01:32.87] Yeah, I do too for sure. Your reach grows a lot, and you can cultivate relationships that then in person you can solidify. And as I'm sure as we'll get into later today, like a lot of great things in my career as a coach have come from meeting people on social media and online and developing relationships that then turn into bigger stuff down the road.

[00:01:53.54] Yeah. And then you've done NSCA stuff for a while now. This is obviously the kind of biggest stage we have, but certainly not your first foray into doing NSCA stuff. You've spoken at clinics. You've attended clinics. You're a CSCS. I didn't mention that at first. So again, kudos for that, because it's such a great accomplishment. And maybe tell us first about your story about attending, and then what you've other have experience speaking.

[00:02:26.06] Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So 2013-- So I became a CSCS in 2012. I've been in kind of the fitness space since 2004, 2005. But didn't go for the gold for the CSCS until 2012. And in 2013, I attended my first national conference in Vegas. And you know by that point, I'd been in the fitness industry for, gosh, nine years. And I got to watch Dr. John Berardi speak in person for the first time. And I'd bet it--

[00:02:55.81] So good.

[00:02:56.17] Yeah, so incredible. And I'd been a huge fan of his for a really long time. And I afterwards did what you do when you get to watch someone that you're really excited to see speak and meet. And I stood in line to talk to him. And I stood in line for like 45 minutes or something, of course, because he had the biggest line. And at the end, I got to meet him. And I was incredibly surprised, because he had heard of my work and Girls Gone Strong, which was just mind blowing to me at the time. And we exchanged contact information. Because I wanted to get PN certified. And we exchanged contact information.

[00:03:32.29] And about a year later, when Girls Gone Strong released our first strength training program, I got an email from him. And he was congratulating me talking about how incredible the work that we were doing was, and how proud he was of me. And he's like, you did it. You really did it. And even cooler, we released a strength training program digitally and physically. And he was just so impressed with the idea that we had created a physical product that we could ship that was something he's passionate about at PN.

[00:03:58.93] And he said, I really want my wife to do this program after she gives birth to our third child. And I was like, that's cool. I want her to do it now. So let me start researching what needs to be done to adjust this for pre- and post-natal. And that's when I had a big epiphany in my coaching career how much I didn't know about coaching pre- and post-natal women, even 9 or 10 years into my career.

[00:04:20.29] So long story short, we ended up working together. We worked on a product together called Moms Gone Strong with his wife and a number of other experts. And over the last five or six years, he's become one of my best friends and biggest mentors and has really changed the trajectory of Girls Gone Strong forever. A lot of people who work with Precision Nutrition also work with Girls Gone Strong. And so it's just been this really wonderful personal friendship and relationship and also kind of business mentorship. And it's really changed the trajectory of where Girls Gone Strong has gone and what we've been able to do.

[00:04:52.67] That's really cool. Yeah, he's such a good guy. And I guess I could really too-- you know, I've followed you guys at Girls Gone Strong for a while, I think since probably its inception. But some people obviously might not know. And you've done pretty much everything. You were in powerlifting. You did figure fitness whatever. You're now shifting into all this education and different realms. And maybe tell us where or why was Girls Gone Strong a niche that was missing and a thing that you guys needed to start to help the industry out

[00:05:31.92] Yeah. So I first got into fitness in the beginning of 2004, so over 15 years ago. And just like most people, I just kind of wanted to get in shape and feel better and lose a little bit of weight, get stronger. And so started working with a trainer. And thought as a poor college student, I couldn't afford to work with a trainer much longer. Shortly after that, started dating a guy who was a trainer. And he was competing in bodybuilding and powerlifting. So I was thrust into the world of intense exercise very quickly.

[00:05:59.10] Over the next several years, I competed in figure multiple times. I dabbled in powerlifting a little bit. And this whole time, I was having to read information that was geared towards men, written by men. And there was so little information out there about coaching women or training women. And it certainly wasn't from women. And so there were just a few-- there was the Rachel Cosgroves and the Leigh Peeles and the Sue Kleiners. And so there were a couple people here and there, but it felt like there was a really big void.

[00:06:33.36] And so all throughout that time, I had started a fitness software business. And I had opened a brick and mortar gym. And my business partner in the gym and I had actually started a seminar called Train Like a Girl, all about training women. And so I was doing all this stuff kind of on top of each other. Because I was just so passionate about being in fitness. And I wasn't totally sure what I wanted to do.

[00:06:54.93] But in 2011, by that point, I had been in fitness about seven years. I had been posting on Facebook. I didn't even realize I was kind of technically like blogging-ish on Facebook. I was just sharing information that I was passionate about.

[00:07:09.77] And I had also been off Facebook for a while. I got back on in 2010. And I did this thing that I'm really grateful for now, but is kind of ridiculous. I started just finding people on Facebook, and like Dan John, I want to be friends with Dan John. Friend. Rachel Cosgrove. I want to be friends. And I literally started friending all of my idols in the fitness industry. And this was 2010. So at that point, it wasn't it a quote, unquote, "marketing tactic" like it is now.

[00:07:35.55] And so they all accepted my friend request. So I kind of started building this network on social media of other health and fitness professionals. And one of them was Bret Contreras, who's speaking at this conference as well. And he started featuring me and a number of other women in his blogs and interviewing us for stuff.

[00:07:53.50] And I think it was the spring of 2011, he sent an email to myself and about maybe 10 or 15 other women. And he said hey, it's time that more women rise up in the field of strength and conditioning. Now you all have each other's contact information. Do something awesome.

[00:08:09.27] And it was this really cool like, OK, now my network of other female health and fitness professionals has expanded a bit. So fast forward a few months, and a woman named Alli McKee, who is also a CSCS, sent me a tweet. And she's like, it'd be so fun if we could all just workout together.

[00:08:28.81] And it's funny now, in 2019, to think about how difficult it was to find other women who were so into strength training and really loved it. Now it's like, oh yeah, anybody-- there are people in your city that are at your gym that love it. And at that time, there was just such a lack of community for us.

[00:08:47.65] So she's like, it'd be cool if we can work out together. And I was like, well, we're going to go be supporting Julia Ladewsky at her powerlifting meet in Cincinnati. Come hang out. And so I sent an email to all of the women that Bret emailed-- plus a few of my other friends-- and said, hey, we're going to get together for a training session and to support this woman at her powerlifting meet. I'd love for y'all to come.

[00:09:06.66] And seven women showed up from all over the country, and even from Belfast, Northern Ireland. And we had this incredible chemistry of like, well, I want to help more women strength train. I want to help more-- I want to help more women strength train. And we're like, this is so organic and so powerful. We have to turn this into something.

[00:09:24.62] And so shortly after that, we started a Facebook page called Girls Gone Strong. Day one, we had 1,000 fans was what they were called at the time. And we're like, maybe we're onto something here. And it took us a little while to get our website up and our articles published. But day one, we had 17,000 people visit our website the first day we launched it. And it was because of guys like Bret and Tony Gentilcore and other guys who were like, hey, check this out. You've got to see this. This is awesome.

[00:09:52.47] And that really kind of was the beginning of Girls Gone Strong. So it was us seeking community, seeking support, seeking other women who were like us, who are passionate about the same things we are passionate about. And I always joke, we're wanting to preach the gospel of strength training to other women.

[00:10:06.92] Yeah, that's so cool. It's cool too that you mentioned Julia, because she was one of the first people-- when I was an aspiring strength and conditioning coach, I was telling you that I was trying to find-- people were telling me about this NSCA thing, and the CSCS. And I had found Elite FTS through my tenet seeking knowledge. And they used to have the blogs or the logs, the training logs.

[00:10:34.18] And anyway, I had reached out to Julia. And she was at I think Buffalo or somewhere where she was a strength coach at the time. And she was so great about giving me advice. And so she was really one of the first people that kind of helped to mentor me in the whole strength and conditioning world. And--

[00:10:50.43] Wow.

[00:10:50.94] Yeah, it was kind of neat. And that's probably where I got first along the Girls Gone Strong lineage.

[00:10:57.73] Yeah. So powerful. She's incredible. She's like total elite in three weight classes and has been a strength coach forever. And that was one of the cool parts about GGS as well, is we all came to it with kind of a different area of expertise. Some women were RKC, and other women were power lifters. And she was a collegiate strength and conditioning coach. And some of us had done figure. And so it was just, like I said, this is kind of serendipitous coming together of all of these different ways to train for and display strength in women. And it was really powerful, and obviously resonated with people a lot.

[00:11:31.20] Right. Right. And it's clear it's not-- it was clear that it was lacking, and it's not like you totally failed, right? Like you guys are still pushing the envelope, growing, and finding more things to talk about. I mean, the big one I think that's been on the radar recently too with some things that have happened is the way that women are treated or talked about or language that's used. And we've had some incidences that have been in the press and social media and just not acceptable behavior. Right?

[00:12:13.77] So maybe tell us a little bit too about the topics that you guys put that course out on recently. Because that was really great. And I thought it was really helpful, and that probably everybody should see it. USOC put out their safe sport information a couple of years ago. And that's an entire organization separate now from the organization. Everybody that coaches youth has to take it. So yeah, I'd love to hear about what you guys are doing in those lines too.

[00:12:39.99] Yeah. So again, when we first started Girls Gone Strong, our big focus was on strength training. And we did a little bit of nutrition stuff and some cardio. And over the years, we really realized, wow, there's so much more to women's health than just strength training and nutrition.

[00:12:54.16] So we started covering mental health and sexual health and pre- and post-natal health, and just continually kept expanding the type of information that we were providing. And our mission kind of expanded as well, right? And so last year, like you said, when some-- there was a lot of press coverage about an influential health and fitness industry person harassing women at conferences. We were like-- all these guys came out. And they were like, this is horrible. And what do we do about it? We have no idea.

[00:13:25.62] Because it's easy to say, I'm against that. It's like, cool. So what are you going to do about it? And 81% of women in the US report having experienced harassment. 35% of women globally are survivors of sexual assault. And those numbers are probably a lot higher. It's just very underreported, and/or a lot of women don't even know that that's what's happened to them, which sounds a little interesting, but we're not taught about clear consent and coercion and things like that.

[00:13:57.40] And so we were like, this is really important. We need to talk about this in the fitness industry. Because again, as women have been included, there's still been so much objectification of us. And there's been a lot of what we call behavior that lays the groundwork for the type-- that allows this stuff to happen. So if you look at historically, there are pyramids of violence and pyramids of what's called rape culture actually. And at the very bottom is words like-- or jokes and objectification and sexist references and things like that. And each one of those lays the foundation for the next more violent thing to happen.

[00:14:38.41] And so same thing with racism and genocide and things like that. At the bottom are racist jokes and dehumanization and stuff like that. And at the top, you get to violence and genocide. So same kind of thing. It's like the bottom part is what a lot of people still find to be acceptable and allow to be OK, but it's what empowers or emboldens people to do the next thing. So yeah, we see that a lot in the health and fitness industry, from objectifying women, from making sexist jokes, from leering at women, even touching women inappropriately, things like that.

[00:15:13.14] And when you're in a male dominated field-- and often a field where stuff like that is laughed off or kind of shrugged off-- it's like, oh, what's the big deal, you know? It can be really pervasive. And a lot of women feel like they have to assimilate into that culture and accept what's going on, so that they can advance in their career. Or they brush it off because they don't want to be the person calling it out or making a fuss or whatever.

[00:15:41.06] Yeah, it makes me think of one of the things you hear in strength and conditioning a lot too. And it's more related to culture or the program is, you get what you tolerate, right? And it exactly makes me think of that. It's like, well no, if we make sure that we know that these jokes and this language and this is not tolerated one iota, then it's not going to let-- then hopefully, things won't build on that.

[00:16:06.99] Yeah. So we created a free five-day course called What You Could Do About Sexual Harassment in the Fitness Industry. And it was really cool, because a lot of guys in the industry supported it. And it has to often come from them in order for people to take it really seriously. And they kind of have to lead the charge for change a bit. So it was cool to get a lot of support from a lot of guys in the health and fitness industry.

[00:16:32.18] And so we just educate on like, hey, this is what this looks like. This is kind of what planting the seeds of this behavior looks like. Here's how you can identify what's going on. Here's how you can speak up. Because it can be super uncomfortable to be the guy to raise your hand and be like, that's not cool. We don't do that around here. Because again, you could get ostracized or blackballed or whatever.

[00:16:55.62] So we give ways to do that, and ways that you can still also teach the other people and hopefully maintain a relationship, right? Because if you just call them out and shame them, then their brain is going to shut down. They're not going to be in learning mode. They're going to get defensive. They're going to lash out at you.

[00:17:15.61] But if you can say like hey, you're better than that, Scott, you know what I mean? Like, we don't do that around here. What's the deal with that, or whatever. And kind of approach it in a way that you're calling them to do better, instead of shaming them for what they've done and saying hey, let's not do that around here.

[00:17:33.11] So it's a tall order to change the culture of the health and fitness industry. But we feel like giving people actionable tools-- and we even include case studies and scripts and things like that. What do you do if a woman tells you she's been harassed? What do you do if you see it happening from afar? What do you do if a woman is not in the picture, but it's a guy saying something inappropriate about her? You know what I mean?

[00:17:59.42] Because again, if you don't say anything, then he thinks that that's acceptable. So it's how to identify. It's why it happens, how to identify it, how to speak up. We have really powerful tools and resources, anti-harassment policies that you can send out to you know your team and your--

[00:18:15.80] Which the NSCA now has. Everyone had to do that for this event. It was the first time.

[00:18:21.64] Yeah. It's so cool.

[00:18:22.34] Can you give us another specific example from the course of a situation and the recommendation that you guys have?

[00:18:31.37] In terms of--

[00:18:33.41] Dealing with a certain situation [INAUDIBLE] comes up.

[00:18:37.16] Yeah. One of the things that we find that happens a lot-- so there's a lot of misogynistic language used in the weight room, which is, again, if it's a bunch of guys, they don't think that it's a big deal. But they're telling each other-- like to hype each other up or whatever, they're often using words that are degrading to women. Which I think you can hype each other up without saying that type of stuff. And if you can't, you need to expand your vocabulary. You know what I mean?

[00:19:05.12] So that's a really big one, just speaking up. Because that's going to then discourage women from wanting to be there. If they're in that type of environment, again, they either feel really awkward, or they feel like they're not welcome, or they feel like they have to assimilate into that behavior or they can't advance, or they're not going to be wanted in the weight room, right? So I think speaking up about that kind of stuff is important.

[00:19:27.14] And then even speaking up if you're talking to your guy friend and he's objectifying. A lot of times he'll see a woman from across the gym and talk about what she looks like in a really objectifying way. And it's not like man, she's really hot, or I think she's gorgeous. It's like talking about her body parts, talking about what he wants to do to her, things like that. And again, it's like, oh, it's just boys will be boys. It's just what guys do. And it's like he's not saying that she's beautiful or whatever. He's objectifying her as a sex object, which is a really big problem.

[00:20:00.15] I talked about that a little bit in my presentation yesterday. If you look at how-- we see 4,000 to 10,000 images a day on average, thanks to social media and traditional media. And a media scholar Jean Kilbourne says we only consciously process about 8% of the image that we see. So the other 92% of what we see is processed subconsciously. And it shapes and conditions our beliefs about the world and other people and our bodies and things like that.

[00:20:24.91] And so often the images that we see of women are-- and I go through this in my slides. So if someone didn't get a chance to attend the presentation, they can pull it up on the NSCA app and go through the slides. But it doesn't matter if it's a magazine cover or a cheeseburger or a bag of Pop Chips. All of these advertisements are displaying women in sexualized poses, in ways that appear attractive to men or whatever.

[00:20:52.27] And there's a Dolce and Gabbana ad with a woman on her back with her arms pinned down and four guys standing over top of her. And it's like, that's supposed to sell sunglasses? You know what I mean? So there's a lot of that kind of stuff out there. So when you see that all the time, your brain starts to be like, yeah, you know what I mean? This is what women are here for kind of thing.

[00:21:11.70] So I think the first step is always raising awareness and starting to kind of pay attention to the language or the way that you're speaking about women or treating them or whatever. So I think using the misogynistic language is super common. And I think also the way that guys speak to other guys about women is really common. And those are two powerful opportunities to be like, I mean, you can think she's hot, but that's not cool, you know what I mean?

[00:21:38.67] Or my favorite is asking them to explain what they mean by that. And then they get real awkward. They'll like make a joke or make a sexual reference, and you're like, I don't get it. What do you mean? And then they actually have to say out loud. They're like, I mean that I would do-- OK. And then they start to realize--

[00:21:54.08] Yeah, how bad it was.

[00:21:55.47] Mm hmm, how bad it was, yeah.

[00:21:58.34] Great point. You also had some great examples too, some case studies or examples of, this is the athlete's first time in the gym. And you're going to do kettlebell deadlift, except that they're self-conscious, and they're super busty. How do you adapt this?

[00:22:19.29] Maybe talk a little bit about those examples you were throwing out, because there was some really good ones. Because I know strength coaches are going to run into this all the time. And it might be in your setting with 30 athletes, right? And then you've got a really tough situation. And you may or may not have females on your staff. Hopefully you do, but you never know.

[00:22:39.56] Yeah, so my second session yesterday was coaching and training women, what they didn't teach you in school. And basically we talked about how important it is to create an environment in which the women that you're working with-- whether they're female athletes or general population-- that they feel safe, that you're helping them feel strong and capable, that you are creating an environment in which they can succeed and feel comfortable.

[00:23:04.11] And that looks like a lot of things. That looks like not assuming what their goals are for them. That looks like not determining their ability level based on the way that their body looks. That happens a lot. It's about being mindful of your coaching cues. And that can be the language that you use. That can be whether you're cueing them manually. And did you get consent first?

[00:23:25.38] That can be where your eyes are looking when you're observing them. That can be where you're standing in proximity. That can be how you describe certain exercises. That can be the exercise selection. That can be the education process about why they're doing that exercise.

[00:23:40.68] So I often use the example of one of the case studies yesterday was a 19-year-old girl who's a beginner trainee. She's a little shy. She's new to exercise. And you're teaching her how to do a glute bridge. What are all of the things that you're thinking about?

[00:23:55.59] And there's a laundry list of them. And first things first, you want to demonstrate the exercise. You want to not sexualize the exercise, right? Because it is a legitimate valuable exercise that she's going to do in her training program. So demonstrate the exercise. Educate why she's doing it. Use plain language.

[00:24:14.04] I told the story yesterday of I was coaching a client several years ago, and I kept talking about glutes, glutes, glutes. And then I finally kind of pointed to my glutes. And she's like, that's what glutes are. I didn't even know. We have the curse of knowledge.

[00:24:26.40] That's a great point, yeah.

[00:24:27.20] We think people know. So educate her on why she's doing it. Use language that makes sense to her. Ask her. Say, hey, this is the exercise we're going to do. This is why we're going to do it. This is why it's valuable to you. If you have any questions, let me know. You feel comfortable? You feel like you know what you're doing?

[00:24:42.24] And give her the space to speak up if she doesn't. Think about where you're doing it. Are you doing it in a super busy weight room, which can be a little bit uncomfortable for some people. And also doing it in complete isolation can be uncomfortable for some people. So it's just making sure, asking them if they're comfortable performing it.

[00:25:02.12] Not standing over top of them when they're doing it. So a lot of times coaches don't want to kind of kneel down or get down on the ground. It's just you're doing it all day. It feels like they're going to do this set real quick. I'm not going to change my body position necessarily. But getting down on the ground, especially if it's a one on one scenario, so that you're kneeling and on their level and kind of away from them. Where exactly-- are you on their side or by their head?

[00:25:25.90] So there's just so many different things to think about. And yeah, and it's stuff that we're not really taught to think about. And stuff that, as a guy, if you haven't had experiences-- if you haven't experienced harassment, assault, things like that, you might not think about it. Because to you, it's not a big deal. It's just like I'm coaching one of my athletes. But there are-- again, I gave the stats earlier. 81% of women have been harassed, and that number is as high as 98% in other countries. And 35% of women are survivors of assault.

[00:25:54.53] So it's like this is a big deal. If you work with women, you are working with women who've had these experiences. And so figuring out-- being mindful of that and figuring out how you can create an environment in which they feel safe is really important.

[00:26:07.52] So many good examples too. Yeah, and I actually coached basketball for a long time before I got into strength and conditioning. And one of the teams that I've coached back in my basketball days was JV girls basketball. I coached a team for two years. And I think I learned a lot about just how you talk to especially freshmen and sophomores, and how to stand and where to stand, and where you coach from. And yeah, I think that was innumerable in helping me. And my mom was a basketball coach, so I was obviously brought up by a good coach who was able to teach me some pretty important lessons that I didn't really realize that would probably transfer over like they have.

[00:26:50.62] Yeah. And just explain what you're going to be doing. If someone's doing a barbell back squat, and you're going to spot them, and they've never been spotted in the barbell back squat before, that can feel like, what in the heck is going on? This person's right behind me, has their arms underneath my armpits. They're squatting with me. It feels like my bum is in their crotch or whatever. You know? Depending on how you're spotting them.

[00:27:12.86] Or if you think maybe they're shifting in their squat or something, and you just walk around and stand behind them and stare at-- what they feel like you're staring at their butt, right? So it's like hey, it looks like there might be a little bit of a shift going on. I'm going to step behind and check your hips and see. And then you can explain what you're doing, do it quickly, and then get back into a position that feels a little bit more comfortable or whatever for them.

[00:27:34.86] So I think just keeping them informed on what's going on is really important, and the why behind what you're doing. And not being awkward about it. Like I said, you don't have to sexualize the type of stuff that's happening. Women's bodies are sexualized enough on their own when they're in the weight room. So being mindful of it, letting them be a participant and having open lines of communication, having the anti-harassment policy like you talked about and actually enforcing it when something happens.

[00:28:00.86] Like if you say from the get go, this is the stuff that's not OK, and not only do we have this policy, but here's how we're going to enforce it and protect you, then from the get go they feel like you're on their side. And so they're going to automatically feel safer. And they're going to trust you more. And so I think that having that stuff very clear-- that clear policy, and making it clear to the coaches and the trainees is really valuable as well.

[00:28:32.62] And that's a great example of what ties into my soap box of coaching philosophy. And when your coaching practice is not aligned with your coaching philosophy, and what you say you do-- you say, we empower women and blah blah blah, and then you let stuff like that slide-- or again, weight room example, we say we keep everybody as safe and effective programming, and safety is our greatest, highest priority, but then we don't teach people how to miss lifts right or spot properly. I think that's a great example too.

[00:29:12.75] You've been connected to you mentioned Bret on the board of directors, and Brad Schoenfeld, a former board member, and how those guys have been connected. And maybe talk a little bit about those relationships and how you guys have worked together and helped support the message and spread the message of what you're doing.

[00:29:32.30] Yeah. Like I said, Bret sent that initial email. And then when Girls Gone Strong started, he was one of the people sending traffic our way and telling everybody to come visit us and featuring us and visit our website, and featuring us in blogs and such. And Brad's another person I connected with on social media. Before the talk, we were talking about how powerful social media can be. And he's brought me in and asked me to lecture to his class and referred clients.

[00:29:58.58] And I gave him a kind of blurb or testimonial for his book that was released a couple years ago. Because I just believe in what he's doing so much. And it's so powerful. And then when we created the sexual harassment course, I was-- again, there were so many guys in the industry saying, how can I help? But I'm like, this is how you can help. This is a concrete way, is you can stand up and tell people that this isn't OK, and they need to take this course, and it's really important.

[00:30:27.12] And so I emailed Brad and said hey, would you be willing to share this with the NSCA and see if maybe we can get it in the hands of more coaches and trainers? And he did. And then I ended up getting an email shortly. So they shared it with the community. And then I got an email I think shortly after that between you and Virginia asking me about presenting about that topic at the conference.

[00:30:49.34] And so it's really cool to see how these connections made online can then actually come to fruition in developing relationships and opening up opportunity in the quote, unquote, "real world."

[00:31:03.50] Right. Right. No, and even just like you said earlier too, trying to get more information about whatever it might be that you are trying to get information about, right? So you had been-- when you were powerlifting, you ended up finding Mike Robertson, Bill Hartman. And you were driving from Kentucky to Indy to go get coached by these guys and trying to get better.

[00:31:26.42] I think one thing too I think about with when I talk to people on the podcast is I ask them, what's a day in the life like for the woman in charge at Girls Gone Strong? Give us a snapshot of what your day looks like.

[00:31:44.15] Yeah. So things have changed for me a bit lately. So we have a sizable team at this point, which is so nice. Because for so long I was doing everything. My partner, KC and I-- business and life partner, KC-- and I were doing almost everything. But we've built a team at this point. So the last several years have been a lot of research and development.

[00:32:02.06] So we've created two certifications, one that covers coaching psychology, female anatomy and physiology, nutrition, exercise, rest, recovery, and programming for women across their lifespan. Because there is, again, so little. Like no one had ever put all that together in a textbook with references, with evidence, with taking practical experience into account. That just didn't exist.

[00:32:23.46] And so we created that. And then we created a similar one, but for pre- and post-natal women. And so that was-- in the last 18 months or 24 months, we've published 18 books containing 750,000 words of information. So that was really what I was doing for the last two years, was bringing together the experts. So I clearly didn't write all of that myself. I'm a huge fan of this understanding that we're better together. And that was, again, what was so powerful about the beginning of Girls Gone Strong. All these women came from all these different areas. So with the certifications we brought together pelvic health physios and PhDs and strength and conditioning coaches and registered dieticians and MDs and OB/GYNs and just incredible people-- doulas, midwives, nurse practitioners-- to work together and have an interdisciplinary approach to the information. So every chapter was written, reviewed, challenged by no fewer than 6 to 10 of those women. So it's not like, Scott, you're going to write about coaching philosophy, and you're going to write about this. It's like no, we're going to get in there and challenge each other and make sure that we're providing the best-- the most evidence-based, right? Take into account research, practical and clinical experience, client and patient values, and provide that information.

[00:33:37.04] So that was a massive undertaking for several years. So I was in charge of bringing the women together, deciding what was going to go into those textbooks, and editing, and making sure that it all still represented the Girls Gone Strong philosophy, the values of safety and autonomy and empowerment and things of that nature. So that's been a lot for me for the last-- and we also-- it's a physical book, and we print it and fulfill it ourselves. And so there's a lot of managing with that.

[00:34:08.01] So that was kind of a day in my life, was waking up and focusing 100% on that, and putting out any other fires within the business. But since those have been released, it's been a lot of-- 2019 is a lot of team building with our team. We now have about 12 people that work 15 to 35 hours a week with GGS, and about 20 people that work 5 to 15 hours, and then a number of volunteers. So we have a massive team. So it's doing a lot of team building and figuring out, creating systems and processes and things like that.

[00:34:43.43] Being a startup organization, you're often just spending your time putting out fires and trying to figure out how to stay afloat and what to do next. And so we're doing that. And then we're circling around and leveling up our free resources, our articles, our social media, and our free courses to be at the same caliber of our certifications.

[00:35:03.76] Because I think if you go to our Instagram right now, it's great. And also it doesn't quite reflect that we're a world class education organization. Because our time was spent on that. So we're really excited about circling around and leveling all of that up. Because we truly started as a women's empowerment organization. We wanted to-- I always say, in 2011, we said women should strength train. In 2018, we're like women should do whatever they want with their bodies, and we hope they strength train because it's really good for them.

[00:35:32.17] So we, again, started out kind of preaching the gospel of strength training to women. Now we're like, autonomy is one of our highest values. So we like to show women all that's possible for their bodies and their lives and give them the space to make decisions about what's right for them, and then provide them the evidence-based sustainable tools to do it.

[00:35:50.00] So now my days are spent mostly managing over the team, managing over content. My partner does a lot of marketing, strategy, financial, legal, accounting, that kind of stuff. And I'm mission, vision, content, and voice.

[00:36:05.29] You have a lot. Do you guys do in-person training too? Is that part of certifications or events as well?

[00:36:12.59] We've done events in the past. And then as I'm sure you know, they are an enormous amount of work to put on. So we had to press pause on those for the moment. But yeah, we did in-person events where we did hands on and presentations and things like that. And a lot of the women who work for Girls Gone Strong do other things outside of Girls Gone Strong. So they do a lot of in-person stuff. But within GGS, for the moment, we're not doing it under the GGS umbrella.

[00:36:39.76] But pretty much everybody that works for us also does presentations, workshops, works with clients, works with patients, which is really important. Because we didn't want to be an organization providing information from people just sitting behind a computer. You know, the keyboard warriors. It was critical that we bring in experts who are working with women in quote, unquote, "in the trenches" every day in their clinics, in their hospitals, in their facilities, in their studios, and things like that. So nothing under the GGS umbrella specifically. But all of the experts that work for us pretty much work with women in person through, like I said, training or workshops, presentations, things like that.

[00:37:18.24] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. No, that's great too. That's a lot of the reason that my position exists at the NSCA, was that strength and conditioning coaches can have the connection to-- for lack of a better term-- a real strength coach. Because a lot of the times we're saying oh, NSCA headquarters are just whoever. It's a faceless place.

[00:37:42.85] And then we now have people in personal training, strength and conditioning, in our tactical, which are main audience groups. Where you have somebody that actually still does that job and that goes around the world speaking about it, and that is helping-- whether it's writing articles or exactly what you said, running workshops and clinics. That is a credible legitimate source too.

[00:38:05.05] Yeah. You can't do it all. You know what I mean? I couldn't possibly run Girls Gone Strong. I had a brick and mortar gym for years. I tried actually to run Girls Gone Strong with a brick and mortar gym, and my hair was falling out from stress. So you can't possibly do both.

[00:38:19.03] And so for me, I consider myself-- there are a couple areas in which I feel like my knowledge is really deep. But for the most part, my knowledge about coaching and training women is incredibly broad. And so I'm like, OK. She's on the cutting edge over here of pelvic health physiotherapy. And she's on the cutting edge of strength and conditioning. And she's on the cutting edge of OB/GYN and medicine. And so I feel like that having-- again, being OK with not being the person who knows everything, and saying I'm going to bring all of you all together to provide this information under the Girls Gone Strong umbrella has been really powerful.

[00:38:58.09] And it's allowed us to really give a holistic picture of women's health. Like if you're talking about something, like pelvic organ prolapse, for example, which might sound really niche, or like a niche, but 19% of women will have surgery for pelvic organ prolapse or incontinence by the time they're 85. That's 1 in 5 women. That's a huge deal. And that is something that can often be successfully treated with pelvic health physical therapy.

[00:39:25.66] But you can't just have a pelvic health physical therapist talk about that. You need a psychologist's perspective to say, hey, how do we talk to women about these things that might be happening in their bodies without-- and offer them support. Because this is a big scary thing. And then you want the OB/GYN's perspective. So being able to bring all of these people together and figure out what the coach's role is in all of that.

[00:39:46.87] Because we are the ones who spend 2, 3, 4 hours a week with our clients, with our athletes. And a doctor might see them once a year for 15 minutes if they're lucky. And so we can really be a tremendous force for good in our clients' lives by knowing our scope of practice, knowing what we're good at, knowing who else might be on our clients' health care team, and at what point we refer them out to somebody else.

[00:40:17.21] And so is your resources, the vast majority, for coaches and trainers, or is it also for women in general, people that are looking to improve their health?

[00:40:29.95] Great question. So we have a couple different levels. We have at this point 800 free articles on our website. We have almost a dozen free courses ranging from stuff for end users to stuff for coaches. So an example would be we have one for women about stepping off the diet and exercise roller coaster. We get a lot of women who are constantly on and off diets, constantly exercising really hard and then not exercising again for a long time. So that would be an example of a free course for them.

[00:40:57.43] An example of a free course for our coaches would be how to get started coaching pre- and post-natal women. And we give you the must need to knows to start coaching that population. Because you're probably already coaching them. 85% of women will have a baby at some point in their life. So it's like, what are the must knows? So we provide-- all those articles are a mix. Some are for fitness enthusiasts, and a lot are for health and fitness industry professionals. Then we have our free courses, same thing. Then we have end user programs.

[00:41:27.82] So we've got Get Lean, Get Jacked, Get Strong, Get Started. So it's a strength, hypertrophy, fat loss, in a kind of a beginner program, for lack of a better word, for our general population. We've got Moms Gone Strong, which is a pre-natal program and a post-natal program. So that's all kind of general population. However, coaches and trainers love it, because it's programming that they can use as a model. It's really high quality, evidence-based hypertrophy programming. So they can buy that program and then implement it with their clients and adjust it how they need to for what they're looking to do. But those are kind of geared more towards end users.

[00:42:04.97] And then we do coaching as well. So we coach a number of clients through nutrition, exercise, and mindset. And then we have our certification. So we really-- again, it feels like we can't really educate coaches and trainers on how to work with women, unless we're working with women, you know what I mean? So it's really important to us to keep kind of both silos of Girls Gone Strong, so that we can legitimately be the authority on coaching and training women, because we're actively doing it every single day, whether it's online, in person, et cetera.

[00:42:35.06] That's great. So if people reach out, are they going to get-- like when they reach out for coaching, are you going to see, oh, this is what your need is. I'm going to filter you to Jen [INAUDIBLE] or Julia or whoever, or is it kind of they can reach out to who they need to through the website?

[00:42:52.27] Yeah, so twice a year we do kind of enrollment periods or whatever, because it makes it a little bit easier with the different programs that we have. It's easier to be like, OK, cool. So we're going to take a new cohort of clients in January and in July for coaching. And then we're going to open enrollment to our pre- and post-natal cert in February and September. So we do it kind of like that.

[00:43:14.62] So the whole year, people are kind of building up and waiting to join the program. And they can learn more about it, decide if it's right for them. Because we typically work with general population, their goals tend to fall into one of a few categories. Like I said, fat loss, muscle gain, strength gain, just general health and wellness, getting started with strength training. And so we have-- within our coaching, we have tracks of programs that they can follow, which can then be adjusted by their coach. And nutrition and habit based and skill based nutrition.

[00:43:46.18] We find most women are not meeting really high level finely tuned macronutrient timing type stuff. They need to eat a bit more protein, eat more veggies, slow down, listen to their body a little bit more. Stop when they're satisfied instead of stuffed. Drink more water. Maybe cut down on alcohol a bit.

[00:44:06.02] So we find that 80% to 90% of the population who needs the really good foundational basics who have been failed so many times by the higher level stuff that is just not necessary for them we find is kind of our population. So anybody that wants to do high level performance or figure powerlifting whatever, probably not for us at the moment. But within, we have great people like Julia Ladewski that we can refer them to if they're wanting to compete in powerlifting or improve their sport performance.

[00:44:38.51] And I mentioned Jen too, so I hope she listens to this. I have to give her a shout out, because we're, again, good Instagram friends, I like to say. And her partner Billy too is a special forces medic. I've chatted with both of them too, and it's funny because they live in a very similar kind of climate that I do. So we do a lot of the same things-- hiking, mountain biking. So it's just funny because I have a connection with them. And they were actually coming out to the springs. And I was like, oh, the doors are open if you guys want to train here. didn't end up happening, but we're going to connect at some point down the road.

[00:45:15.05] Yeah, so Jen's head coach of our coaching program. And she's incredible. She's also been in fitness about 15 years or more, and has done everything from group fitness instructor to powerlifting to training for bikini and figure to-- she's done yoga teacher training and aerial stuff and pole. And now she rides dirt bike and motocross and downhill and stuff. And I just love that she really trains for life, which I think is so cool. And she's able-- the control that she has over her body, and the things that she's able to do, I'm just so, so impressed with.

[00:45:52.09] She also happens to be one of my best friends. So there's that too. But having her run our coaching program with another woman named Amber Leonard told me they work on the curriculum development, and have both been in the industry a really long time. And then they also work on the certifications to make sure that what we're talking about in the certifications reflects what we're actually doing in our coaching program. And so it's nice, because they're the go-between person to make sure that, again, everything's congruent. And what we're learning-- the feedback we're getting from our clients is then taken and implemented into the textbooks.

[00:46:24.06] That's awesome. Yeah, look at you guys, coaching philosophy and training philosophy and alignment. I like it.

[00:46:28.28] We're trying to. You know? It evolves over time. And thank goodness it evolves over time. I cringe at some of the stuff that I was saying and doing 5, 10 years ago. But it's like, if you're not, are you really paying attention and evolving?

[00:46:42.48] That's so good. Yeah, this has been fantastic. If people don't follow you already, don't know about you, where can they find you, and how do they follow you?

[00:46:50.45] Yeah. They can find me on Instagram @themollygalbraith, so M-O-L-L-Y G-A-L-B-R-A-I-T-H. They can also follow Girls Gone Strong @thegirlsgonestrong. We're also still pretty active on Facebook. But probably the best way is we have a free Facebook group for health and fitness professionals current and aspiring, so geared towards-- it's called GGS Coaching and Training Women.

[00:47:13.82] So if they're on Facebook, they can join GGS Coaching and Training Women. We pay really high level world class experts to be in there answering people's questions basically all day long totally free. Because it's important to us to give people who are interested in learning how to work with women better the tools to do it at no barrier, right? Like totally accessible to them. So it's cool. There's 25,000 people in there.

[00:47:38.98] I'm in there. I'm a member.

[00:47:40.08] Yes, you're in there. And we've got physios and PhDs and strength coaches and stuff answering questions all the time. So GGS Coaching and Training Women. And they can tag me, introduce themselves once they join. And it's just an awesome and positive environment where they can meet other people who also care about doing a better job coaching and training women.

[00:47:58.17] Cool. This has been super. I truly appreciate you being on the podcast--

[00:48:02.14] Aw, thank you, Scott.

[00:48:02.63] And being here, and doing two presentations, and spending time with people. It's great that you've totally embraced it. And you've been hanging out and watching other people present.

[00:48:12.15] Yeah, it's been fantastic. Like I said, it's been six years since I've been to a national conference. So it was amazing to come back, especially to come back as a speaker. To go six years ago as someone standing in line waiting to meet Dr. John Berardi, and then being able to come and share. And I think everybody knows NSCA is really the gold standard, and the CSCS particularly is the gold standard in this industry.

[00:48:33.01] And so I feel so lucky to be part of it. You guys have given me so much opportunity to learn as a coach myself, and then to turn around and get to share my coaching philosophy with the people here has been such an incredible experience. And you guys have been super supportive. So thank you for everything. Thank you personally. Thanks to the NSCA, everybody involved with the NSCA for having me, and for caring so much about bringing this type of information to coaches and trainers.

[00:48:57.86] Yeah. No, thanks so much. Again, that's the coolest part for me too, is seeing people going from being an attendee at a conference to getting more involved, speaking at a state conference, making it to the national level. It's truly such a different organization in that aspect, have the state and regional reach and development and involvement that you can get more involved and be on a committee and end up being on the board of directors like Bret or Brad, and have influence on an organization of close to 30,000 people now. It's just so cool.

[00:49:33.57] And of course, we have to thank the listeners. So again, everybody who's listening here, everyone who's come up to me at the event and said they love the podcast. We never had any idea it was going to be this successful, and it's because of our members who are truly appreciative. So we appreciate everyone listening. We appreciate our biggest supporters Sorinex exercise equipment, who supports the podcast and everything we do and I do at NSCA headquarters. So I truly appreciate those guys.

[00:50:02.01] And again, keep listening in. Keep subscribing. Keep sharing these episodes. I'm super pumped to be able to put this out. And we'll be talking to Molly on Instagram soon, I'm sure.

[00:50:13.64] Wonderful. Thanks so much for having me. Bye.

[00:50:16.44] You often hear these podcasts recorded at NSCA conferences and events. Why not join us at the next one? You can get all the details on upcoming events at nsca.com/events.

[00:50:26.44] This was the NSCA's Coaching Podcast. The National Strength and Conditioning Association was founded in 1978 by strength and conditioning coaches to share information, resources, and help advance the profession. Serving coaches for over 40 years, the NSCA is the trusted source for strength and conditioning professionals. Be sure to join us next time.

Reporting Errors: To report errors in a podcast episode requiring correction or clarification, email the editor at publications@nsca.com or write to NSCA, attn: Publications Dept., 1885 Bob Johnson Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80906. Your letter should be clearly marked as a letter of complaint. Please (a) identify in writing the precise factual errors in the published podcast episode (every false, factual assertion allegedly contained therein), (b) explain with specificity what the true facts are, and (c) include your full name and contact information.

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Scott P. Caulfield, MA, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F,*D, RSCC*E

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Molly Galbraith

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Molly Galbraith is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, former figure competitor, powerlifter, and gym owner, and woman-in-charge at Girl ...

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