NSCA’s Coaching Podcast, Episode 86: Brice Long

by Eric McMahon, MEd, CSCS, RSCC*D and Brice Long, CSCS
Coaching Podcast September 2020

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Brice Long, Director of Human Performance Experience at O2X, talks to the NSCA Coaching Program Manager, Eric McMahon, about O2X’s holistic approach for fire, police, military, and federal agencies. Topics under discussion include the value of training as a firefighter, physical tests and assessments in the National Guard, and being diverse in your skill sets as a coach.

Find Brice on Instagram: @o2xhumanperformance or Twitter: @o2xhp | Find Eric on Instagram: @ericmcmahoncscs or Twitter: @ericmcmahoncscs

Show Notes

“Athletes, even athletes that have long careers don't even come close to the continued operational demands of someone in the public safety profession. Most fire departments, 25, 30 years before someone retires, so that's a lot of abuse, and a lot of changes happen to the human body through that time, and there's a lot of time to make mistakes.” 4:46

“You've got to pick up a 210-pound firefighter that's covered in soaking wet gear up to your chest to get him or her out of a window. That's a big lift that needs to happen really fast.” 8:28

“If you're going to be working with firefighters, you need to take the time to understand what the mechanics are for throwing a 24-foot extension ladder, for stretching an inch and 3/4 hose line from a fire engine, forcing a door. You need to know the lingo. You need to know how much bunker gear weighs. You need to understand the nuance of breathing with a respirator on, SCBA, which is a whole different ball game for a lot of these folks and really dive into the background of the area in which you want to focus.” 26:59

“I think you can learn a ton of the fundamentals working in a sports-specific weight room, and a lot of the concepts that make you successful there will translate to the tactical space, but the communication is going to be very different.” 29:48

“…learn your audience, be an effective communicator and an expert in the field where you're working, and two is diversify your resume and have some experience and education and at least, at a minimum, interest in being more than a coach because the tactical space requires it.” 33:06

Transcript

[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING]

[00:00:00.62] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast, episode 86.

[00:00:04.55] Learn your audience. Be an effective communicator and an expert in the field where you're working, and two is diversify your resume and have some experience and education and at least, at a minimum, interest in being more than a coach.

[00:00:23.57] This is the NSCA'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.

[00:00:34.32] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I'm Eric McMahon. Today, our guest is Brice Long, a member of our tactical strength and conditioning community, a former firefighter and fire department training officer. He is the Director of Human Performance Experience at O2X. Brice, welcome.

[00:00:51.17] Hi. Yeah. Hi, Eric, Thank you, thank for having me and in the chat today.

[00:00:56.93] So I want to get right into your background and just kind of hear what led you into coaching, and talk about your path into the field.

[00:01:05.49] Absolutely. As you mentioned, I was a firefighter in the northern Virginia area, and before that, I had always been into training and just generally interested in being in good shape. In college, I had a lot of frie-- I was a high school athlete but didn't play sports in college. Did have a lot of friends that were into training, and we were early followers of, I guess, the CrossFit website when it was just a website. It was more of a blog at that point, and we just liked being in good shape. So that passion started then.

[00:01:42.18] And then as I got into the firefighting space, fitness really became a necessary function of what I did for a living. And in the fire department, a lot of the traditional path to being the wellness person for the agency was just being in good shape. That was really the only qualifier for being looked to for guidance in the space for, a lot of times, the department at large. And I found myself, after I got out of the academy, pretty quickly serving in that role in unofficial capacity. A lot of people knew that I was into training and into working out on shift and would come to me for advice and guidance, and I guess I just didn't have the background to feel confidently in what I was recommending, what I was suggesting.

[00:02:32.36] For me, for a long time, being uneducated in my youth, more was more. And the more training we did, the harder you work, the better it was, and I would say now, for anyone listening to this, taking notes, write that down. That's a bad idea. Just working out for six hours a day every day because you can, thinking you're getting better is not the way to go about it.

[00:02:53.49] So what did I do is I looked for mentors in the area. It's interesting that part of the country, particularly in the fire department world, is rapidly developing. And in and around the DC area, a lot of DC sprawl has begun to reach out into the surrounding communities, and the agencies are quickly staffing up people, and there's a lot of youth in the departments and a lot of passion and a lot of resources because with that expansion comes funding. So there were some agencies around that had more developed fitness programs than where I was working, and I found some mentors. I reached out to people that were much more accomplished in space and picked their brains.

[00:03:38.03] I was fortunate to meet a gentleman named Carl Sheppard who was, at the time, working in Fairfax County, Virginia, and he threw me the NSCA Essentials textbook and said, here it is. Here is the answer to your question. So I dug into that, and a little bit of guidance from him, prepared myself for the CSCS examination, and that was my pathway into more of a formalized approach to the strength and conditioning world.

[00:04:12.01] That's great. A lot of our listeners come from the college strength and conditioning setting and working specifically with sports, and I think, with the growth of tactical strength and conditioning, I want to ask you, speak to the physical demands of being a firefighter and just the value of training and strength and conditioning for that profession.

[00:04:37.81] Yeah. Absolutely. Well, there's a couple key differences right out of the gate. One of them was just career longevity.

[00:04:46.51] Athletes, even athletes that have long careers don't even come close to the continued operational demands of someone in the public safety profession. Most fire departments, 25, 30 years before someone retires, so that's a lot of abuse, and a lot of changes happen to the human body through that time, and there's a lot of time to make mistakes. There's a lot of time to recover, but no matter how you look at it, there's just a lot of time. So injury prevention and durability need to be key tenants of any program.

[00:05:26.11] There's also a cultural competence that we need to be aware of, and that's-- a lot of the people in those positions were high school, college. I had people, when I ran the academy, professional athletes that decided to be firefighters. A lot of folks aren't.

[00:05:45.24] They've transitioned from more sedentary-type jobs, or it's their first job out of high school or college, and they don't have the athletic background. So you're dealing with a really wide variety of people with diverse backgrounds and various training ages. So you have to be sensitive to that, I think, and look for programming solutions that can be effective across that wide section of people.

[00:06:16.17] The job itself, to answer your question more specifically, is extraordinarily physically demanding at times and extraordinarily not at others. You don't get a lot of warning as with most tactical professions when the bell is going to ring, when the alarm is going to go off, when the call is going to come in across the police radio. It's time to go when it's time to go. So the more that you can encourage people to prepare for that unexpected by controlling what they can, when they can, I think is a good message to pass along to the folks that are in those jobs because it's a frequent argument that I've battled in my time in this space as well.

[00:07:07.30] I don't get to warm up. I don't get to train. I don't get to stretch before-- the house fire call comes in at 3:00 AM. You know, why do I need to do that?

[00:07:17.73] Or my grandfather was a firefighter and my father was a firefighter, and they never worked out, and they did the job for 30 years, smoking Marlboro reds the whole time. Why should I do this? Why should I look at myself any different?

[00:07:30.64] And the reality is, a lot of those folks that had those jobs and didn't take care of themselves, they don't see much of their retirement. Or if they do, they're nursing a lot of injuries, and it's still the leading cause-- the statistics were released last week, and still, the leading cause for firefighter deaths are cardiac-related incidents. So it's really tough to dispute the need for physical preparation to do the job well.

[00:07:58.78] From a more specific sense, the job is very interval-based, I think, for most urban fire departments. It's brief bouts of intense activity lasting anywhere from 10 seconds to two or three minutes, and then you usually get a little bit of a break. But shifts oftentimes last 24 hours, and there are times that you're called upon to demonstrate just pure, absolute, high-end strength. You've got to pick up a 210-pound firefighter that's covered in soaking wet gear up to your chest to get him or her out of a window. That's a big lift that needs to happen really fast.

[00:08:40.71] So I taught a lot about covering all of our different energy systems through training because while 60% of the job is probably that more middle-of-the-road interval-based operations, you pull a fire hose off of a fire engine, and you stretch it to the front of a building, might take you a minute. Then you get a second, you get a breather, you're going to put your face piece on.

[00:09:03.28] Your officer's going to do a lap around the building and survey the scene. And then you're going to charge the hose, and you're going to take it into the building, and you're going to advance it. That might take you another minute, and they're going to float some water, and you get another breather. There are other elements that are equally demanding of higher-end and lower-end energy systems. It's just tremendous diversity, I guess, is what I'm getting at here.

[00:09:24.07] Yeah. That was a really great breakdown. We recently had members of our long-term athlete development special interest groups on the podcast and LTAD really breaks down training over the lifespan, but we tend to think of it only with regard to youth, training youth athletes up through high school. And I know my background in professional sports, training for career longevity like you're talking about, there's really great takeaways from the LTAD message. And it really relates to how we define athletes.

[00:10:04.36] You know, I think there is a voice out there of everybody's an athlete. You know, everybody should have some level of physical competence, and being able to sustain that through the life span, there's so much value to that in any profession and just for overall health and well-being, and you really spoke to that well. With O2X, the first time I heard about O2X, it was a program and a few articles that came out related to the Massachusetts National Guard. Can you talk about that program and just about the role of O2X in helping National Guard members get ready for ACFT test with the change in the army physical fitness test?

[00:10:52.37] Sure. Yeah. Absolutely. A lot there, but take a step back and maybe just explain a little bit about what O2X is and what we do as an organization, and then I can talk specifically about this.

[00:11:04.81] [INTERPOSING VOICES]

[00:11:05.17] That's great.

[00:11:05.86] --Massachusetts National Guard. So we provide human performance training education for primarily tactical athletes, as we've covered. And our focus isn't on one specific element but really spread across the entire spectrum We talk about conditioning. We talk about nutrition, sleep science, acute and chronic stress mitigation, mental performance, and blending all of that together into a holistic program.

[00:11:36.79] We work almost exclusively with fire, police, military federal agencies because the tactical space is really-- it's the background of a lot of the people that work in the industry, and I think that we have that, as I mentioned earlier, the importance of cultural competence. I think we really shine in that area and are experts in delivering this critical message to a population that's previously been kind of underserved in that respect, but also are very skeptical by nature, rightfully so. So it's tough to bring new information to a group that can be a little bit standoffish at first, and that's why our police, military-- and I think that we navigate that well.

[00:12:23.63] So we have a team of about 150 human performance experts from all around the country that are SMEs in all of these various fields. They work for us on a contract basis, so they're actively employed as Special Operations Command, strength and conditioning coaches, as nutritionists at the Olympic Development Center. They're working as researchers in the Army's sleep lab. They have these very high-end peak of their career field jobs, and then they bring that knowledge and experience to us, and we're able to help some of these other fire, police, military units get access to those sorts of people.

[00:13:06.17] So we bring in these high-level specialists, and then we pair them with someone that has the practical and the tactical experience that was either 24 years in the SEAL teams or a Green Beret or a firefighter with 15 years experience working in a big city to help connect the dots. So you may have a sleep scientist, that PhD expert in the field researcher paired with a Navy SEAL that can also maybe talk to a group of firefighters and say, this is why what the doctors tell us is important. These are the mistakes that I've made throughout my career. These are the tips that you can use to be successful. So that formula's worked really well for us.

[00:13:47.26] A lot of that is delivered through in-person training education workshops where we'll have a room full of these folks from different units, and then our specialists come in and our team. We also follow that up with virtual support and screenings to create a more holistic image of how to kind of process where the agency is and then frontload to get education and follow it up with, we have a mobile app textbook and website with a resource portal. And then another element of our program, which I'll use to segue into the Guard discussion, is that we are getting into staff and full-time human performance specialists on-site for these different agencies.

[00:14:28.99] The Massachusetts National Guard, we've partnered with them to help build out what they're calling their Warrior Fit program, which is a multi-tiered approach to improving the retention, resilience, and readiness of their forces. That's their big initiative in the human performance space. So as part of that program, we have a full-time exercise scientist that's working within the National Guard in Massachusetts, and she's-- Dr. McGarvie. She's fantastic, and she's serving as part practitioner and part program manager to help implement this broad, sweeping program across those 5,000 members of the Massachusetts National Guard.

[00:15:12.62] We're also delivering-- our first one's coming up in a couple of weeks. We're very excited about it. We had to move some dates around as a result of what went on in the world in the spring, but we're getting back on track now. We'll be doing our first in-person workshop for a cohort of 100 service members that have been selected by their units to attend this hands-on workshop. And it's three drill weekend workshops over the course of three months, so we'll be doing July, August, and September.

[00:15:39.44] And through the course of that, they'll be getting exposure to our specialists across that entire spectrum that I just mentioned. We'll be bringing in sleep scientists and conditioning experts and injury prevention specialists and physical therapists, mental performance sports psychs and all of the like to work with these soldiers on, again, targeting those three big goals of the Guard. An additional function of those three weekends is helping these soldiers prepare for the transition from the Army physical fitness test to the Army combat physical fitness-- or the Army combat fitness test, excuse me, which is an Army-wide initiative across active duty Reserve and Guard forces where they're transitioning from this really traditional fitness test and sit-ups, push-ups, and a two-mile run to a much more dynamic, and a lot of people would argue functional, fitness assessment, the Army combat fitness test.

[00:16:40.29] So the movements are more complex, the assessment is more dynamic, and it's kind of scary for a lot of these folks because it's new, right? So during these weekend workshops, we're going to be helping this cohort learn the movements and understand the science behind it and develop holistic training that will help prepare them to pass this new assessment when it's implemented by the Army.

[00:17:09.14] We've also been doing, with the Guard, mobility assessment screenings, consultations with a physical therapist, and body composition analysis as part of the physical health assessments that the Army does every year. So we've been going to PHAs and setting up an O2X station and rotating service members through to receive this really valuable feedback from three different assessments on our end and then receiving some specific action steps to make improvements in any one of those areas. The other thing I'll add to this is that it's really exciting, this initiative, because across the nation, our work with the Massachusetts National Guard is really being looked at as a pilot program. So there's all of these different health with the force initiatives taking place across the US, and this one in Massachusetts is impactful and looks to be the frontrunner.

[00:18:07.07] So we're hopeful that the success that we're having this year and what will be next year will turn into a much larger initiative across the force because talk about a group that's tough to work with. To go back to your initial point, they, they being the National Guard, they have so many challenges because they're sort of geographically dispersed across the state. They only have so much contact with their unit, and then everyone has a day job. So that's a tough balance to find, and we're hopeful that the resources that we're providing them will help give them some more tools to navigate that process.

[00:18:47.72] There's been so much growth in the tactical strength and conditioning space, and what you said really speaks to that. The ACFT is really a huge step forward in terms of physical preparation, transitioning from a test of basically push-ups, sit-ups, and long-distance running, which, in the sport world, we've transitioned away from those types of assessments. And it's now, looking into the tactical space, it just really gives a lot of value to having a strength and conditioning coach and someone with our knowledge and background working with tactical athletes. Brice, if you would, talk about sort of this progression of tactical careers and just the growth of the tactical strength and conditioning profession in your time working in the field.

[00:19:46.23] Sure. Yeah. It is exciting, and there's tremendous whitespace. You know, as I mentioned, a lot of these agencies and commands and departments are shifting from the more traditional thought process of the fittest guy in the room is who everyone looks to for guidance. And it's a failed model, and it's really not fair.

[00:20:12.50] I've been in that position personally where I was in shape, but beyond that, I really wasn't qualified to give anyone any sort of instruction or guidance. And people would ask me complex questions, and the expectation of where I work was that I had the answers. And it's just not fair.

[00:20:28.81] So as we take tactical strength and conditioning and we really start to open it up as a career path and a need, it's extraordinarily exciting, and there's just great opportunity. You know, you look at the higher level benefits from a leadership perspective and focusing on some of these more refined dynamic protocols and practices, you're going to see cost reduction and injury savings and secure people off work. You're going to see less injuries and the lower health care costs across the board. At O2X, we've been able to help some of the agencies really quantify its savings that they've been seeing by implementing a program like ours and bringing in some professional subject matter experts to deliver the education and to implement the programs.

[00:21:21.38] Because as you know, being an expert in this field, it takes education, it takes years of experience. It's not anything firefighters can do in a weekend course and be able to deliver that in an impactful way. So helping the higher level folks that are primarily focused on, rightfully so, it's their job, on budgeting and funding and cost savings, we can appeal to them, and then we can help carry the message to the men and women on the floor as well because they're more effective, they're happier, they're healthier, and they're more likely to enjoy a retirement after their 20, 30-year career comes to a conclusion.

[00:22:06.29] I think that we'll see more and more resources being dedicated within agencies and departments and within the federal government to these initiatives, and I think that there's going to be a lot of opportunities to work in this space as it grows, as it becomes a priority for more of these agencies. We've seen that with a lot of the groups that we work with, and I mentioned that O2X has a full-time staffing initiative that we're placing professionals within agencies, and it's because a lot of these groups are understanding that they have this need that they don't necessarily know how to fill it. So they look to an organization like O2X, who's an expert in the space, to help them put someone there that they know will do a good job.

[00:22:55.86] And we're also shifting away too from, if I speak to the basic training level, where I had a decent experience. I had the opportunity to work in the Recruit Academy space and to organize and really revamp a program when I was there. It was really special to me, and I got tons of experience doing it. And as I've traveled around now with O2X and see other organizations' basic training, I've noticed that there's almost an emotional response in a lot of ways, at the basic training level, to the way we've always done it.

[00:23:29.91] And I guess it's you want everyone to have the same experience. You want, I did it this way, and I want the future recruits to have this exact same-- I survived, they should survive the same challenges, right? But for years, basic training and academy PT was doing push-ups and [AUDIO OUT], and so the instructor gets tired of watching you do push-ups and running until you can't run any further, right? And it's not necessarily functional training.

[00:24:03.19] And when we talk about physical fitness testing, shifting from something like the APFT to ACFT or looking at the way a fire department does their physical assessment, we're getting rid of some of that inertia, some of that resistance to change from the way that things have been and understanding that the job demands should more closely match the testing that we're using to assess people for those roles. The fire department, for example, a lot of academies, the one that I was involved with previously had, I think it was, a two-mile an assessment, which if you look at the job requirements of your average urban firefighter, there's not a time when that's an accurate assessment of the job demands. We dial that back to an 800-meter run, which is a much smarter, I think, protocol for testing how fit these individuals are to do the job. It's also easier to train for, and it's a more protocol to train for success. 800 meters have a more direct application for firefighting then do the ones that train you for a competitive two-mile time.

[00:25:12.66] But there was a lot of pushback from some folks that had had to run a two-mile test in their academy, and they wanted everyone else to have that. So we just need to look at it as smarter, and I think we're getting there, and it's like I said, it's really exciting to see. And that's why companies like O2X are around is because the tide is turning, and the tactical strength conditioning space is really developing into a career path. And I get to talk to people all the time that are looking for jobs in a tactical space, and it's exciting because we're seeing more and more opportunities for folks that want to work with firefighters and police officers and service members. It's great. Yeah.

[00:25:52.86] That is great. You speak well to the challenges in working with different population than most strength coaches maybe intend to work with or plan to work with on the front end of their careers. In your view, working with tactical strength coaches, what makes a strength and conditioning coach successful?

[00:26:18.60] Sure. That's a great question. I think particularly in the tactical space, I can say two things. One would be to learn your audience and become an expert communicator. You're entering into a world that has not traditionally embraced formalized strength and conditioning. So being able to effectively message what we're doing, why we're doing it, and the expected outcomes is extraordinarily important.

[00:26:51.74] And learning as much as possible about the specific demographic with which you're going to be working is also key. If you're going to be working with firefighters, you need to take the time to understand what the mechanics are for throwing a 24-foot extension ladder, for stretching an inch and 3/4 hose line from a fire engine, forcing a door. You need to know the lingo. You need to know how much bunker gear weighs. You need to understand the nuance of breathing with a respirator on, SCBA, which is a whole different ball game for a lot of these folks and really dive into the background of the area in which you want to focus.

[00:27:39.23] Same goes for working with the military. You need to know what a ruck is. You need to understand what the requirements are of the unit that you're working with specifically, whereas the difference between job demands in an infantry unit and a military police unit and a Special Operations unit are all very different skill sets and different deployments, different work-ups, and thus, different training. And they all speak a little bit differently. So we try and [INAUDIBLE] to actually try and be sensitive to how we message things is slightly different for law enforcement, for military, and for fire, based on that cultural competence of what will resonate well with each one of those units.

[00:28:21.23] Further still, the job requirements of a patrol officer versus a detective versus a tactical officer serving warrants every night at 3:00 AM are very different. So without that understanding of the space, without being a student of the population you really should serve, it's going to be very difficult to be successful. I think you can learn a ton of the fundamentals working in a sports-specific weight room, and a lot of the concepts that make you successful there will translate to the tactical space, but the communication is going to be very different.

[00:29:01.17] And the focus is going to be very different because we're dealing with folks, again, back to the durability, longevity, their careers are much longer, and their off-seasons don't exist. And it's just different. So that's one thing that we do at O2X when we bring on new on-site specialists is we make sure that we're doing a good job of indoctrinating them into the focus area where they're going to be working and understanding the terminology and the best way to apply the education and the experience that they already have to this new group.

[00:29:42.14] I promised you two. My number one was long. Number two, I would say specifically, if you want to work in the tactical community, is to seek diversity in your own skill set. There aren't a lot of jobs that are just coaching in the tactical space.

[00:30:05.09] O2X is seeing a lot of opportunities for people to be program managers and to be program builders, essentially, as these organizations are starting new initiatives. And they're bringing on O2X and our team to help them do that. So we're going to be-- I'm going to have a harder time-- put the recruiting hat on here for a second. We're going to have a harder time finding an opportunity for someone that just wants to be a coach in a tactical space.

[00:30:39.68] I just want to go [AUDIO OUT] a weight room, and I want to lift there all day, and I want to watch athletes lift and correct form and develop programming. And that's an integral part of the job, but there's oftentimes much more than that. And I think for the right person, that sort of opportunity is fascinating.

[00:31:00.17] For the wrong person, it's terrifying, which is just totally fine. But if the young coach is looking to get into the tactical space, I would look to get some experience and some education, and find a mentor that can provide you with some guidance on how to take on the other equally challenging parts of the job that are inevitably going to be there. And that's the program managing and the leaning forward and looking for ways to better serve athletes and also bringing in all of the other essential components to being a healthy, well person.

[00:31:38.01] I think getting into the tactical space, in particular with maybe more in the public safety sector, like the fire and police officers that haven't traditionally had a ton of exposure to this, you need to create buy-in. And how we do that at O2X is we offer resources across the entire spectrum. And while that first contact, you may not make significant impact with one individual preaching strength and conditioning, the sleep science may really resonate with him or her, or the nutrition may clear up some misconceptions, and energy level's through the roof because they've stopped trying intermittent fasting or whatever they came into the room working on. That leads to progress in other aspects.

[00:32:24.42] So eat better, sleep better, feel better, maybe I get into training with my crew. Wants to share, where previously, I would have been asleep in the recliner. So bringing all of that together. And a lot of the roles that we're seeing in the tactical space, these organizations aren't filling out comprehensive human performance facilities with one expert in every field. O2X is putting a person in there that has a specialty but has the competence and the ability to call upon our other resources because it's like a one-person show for a while.

[00:33:03.75] And hopefully, we get into human performance centers in every fire department, 10 people there. It's just not the reality now. So to summarize, learn your audience, be an effective communicator and an expert in the field where you're working, and two is diversify your resume and have some experience and education and at least, at a minimum, interest in being more than a coach because the tactical space requires it.

[00:33:36.50] Yeah. So when I started in the field, tactical strength and conditioning, that term didn't really exist. And the NSCA pours a lot of resources with Nate Palin and Mandy Nice, our tactical staff. They do a great job in supporting the tactical community. What are some ways that the NSCA can continue to support the growth of tactical strength and conditioning, and what are the needs in the field right now that we can step up and try to make this even better for the future?

[00:34:12.31] Yeah. I think so far, NSCA has done a great job in providing a resource and support for what is a developing career field. And I think that continuing to view it as that, as developing an important career field, is essential to continue success, continuing to encourage young coaches and new folks to seek meaningful certifications and proper education and training and push them into opportunities in a tactical space. I think looking for ways to support internship opportunities and exposure into the tactical space is huge because we've gotten some of our best performers that are now awesome tactical strength conditioning program manager professionals had an internship in the tactical space while they were in college. And that's where they got some good experience pretty quick.

[00:35:15.33] And again, you have to be a pretty dynamic person to walk into that because your internship might be with a small agency, and you're the resource, right? You're still in school, and you're kind of it. So if there are ways that the NSCA, the organizational structure that it has to support and encourage young, aspiring coaches to get into those roles, it's tremendous experience, and it really makes that an appealing candidate for an organization like O2X because you have a little bit of the-- we know that you talk the talk, at least, walking in the door, and you have the training and the experience.

[00:35:58.25] The conferences are great. Driving innovation in the space is fantastic and continuing to organize people across the entire spectrum for consolidation of ideas and what's working, what's not working, keeping the conversation moving. I think that cross-pollination across different tactical-- we have an on-site performance specialist with O2X at the Massachusetts National Guard, and we have one in Boston Fire, and they do ton-- they're pretty close in geographic proximity, but tons of ideas shared between the two.

[00:36:32.06] And while the groups could not be more different on a job day-to-day level, it's actually interesting a lot of overlap with some BFD members that are in the Guard, which has been fun for us. But a lot of the effective tactics that Dr. McGarvie is using with the Guard will also work the FD, and vice versa. So I think just encouraging that sharing of ideas and lessons learned is also an effective way to support the field.

[00:37:02.51] That's great. Brice, how can our listeners connect with you?

[00:37:09.11] Sure. So O2X is easy to find. Our website is www.O2X.com. We are on social media, LinkedIn. Instagram is @o2xhumanperformance, O2X Human Performance on LinkedIn.

[00:37:27.44] We have a mobile app coming out in hopefully about a month, and if folks would like to subscribe for updates on that, it's O2X.com/app. You can drop your email in there, and we'll update you as that gets closer, and the goal there is to bring a lot of the resources that we've been providing to agencies on a larger scale into a consolidated package. It's more accessible to individuals. Really focused on behavior change and actionable steps that people can do to follow our EAT, SWEAT, Thrive methodology. So that's very exciting, and I would encourage folks to just sign up for that.

[00:38:04.96] And my email is Brice, B-R-I-C-E, @o2x.com, and I'm happy to respond to emails and chat with anyone that's interested in learning more about O2X or the opportunities with our full-time program. Really, any way I can be helpful with getting into the tactical conditioning space.

[00:38:26.35] Brice Long, Director of Human Performance Experience at O2X in Scituate, Massachusetts. Brice, thanks for being on.

[00:38:35.06] Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. It was fun.

[00:38:37.85] For our listeners, thanks for tuning in, and a big thanks to our sponsor, Sorinex Exercise Equipment, and we appreciate their support. And if you're new to this podcast and want to learn more about the NSCA strength and conditioning certifications, you can get all the details at NSCA.com/certification. Thank you for listening to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. We truly appreciate your support and wouldn't be able to do this without you.

[00:39:00.05] If you enjoy our episodes, please write us a review at iTunes or Google Play, wherever you download your episodes from. Also, be sure to subscribe so that you get these delivered to you every other week, right on time. You can also go to NSCA.com and check out the episodes there.

[00:39:14.81] [MUSIC PLAYING]

[00:39:15.68] 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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Eric L. McMahon, MEd, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F, RSCC*D

Strength & Conditioning Coach, NSCA Headquarters, Colorado Springs, CO, United States

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Eric McMahon is the Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager at the NSCA Headquarters in Colorado Springs. He joined the NSCA Staff in 2020 with ove ...

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Brice Long, CSCS

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Brice Long is the Director of Human Performance Experience at O2X.  In this role, Brice leads the HQ-based team responsible for the company’s technolo ...

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