Meet Michael Bouranis. Coach at Stoked Athletics Works with athletes, strength athletes, and everyone and anyone looking to be more badass. Firm believer in training tight and hangin' loose. Before your coaching career, has anyone coached you? Things you liked and disliked? I had an online coach. I liked that they had experience and when I talked to them it sounded like they knew what they were talking about. In terms of what I didn’t like was the lack of communication, and that definitely influences how Matt and I run Stoked Athletics now. When we first get prospecting people, one of the first things we tell them is that communication is number one with us--you’ll never really go a day without hearing from us. If you hit us up, just know that I do train people in person and I don’t like having my phone on me while I do that so if there's about 3-4 hours where I don’t respond, just know its because I'm training someone. If its absolutely urgent they could call us, but you never really have a situation where someone needs to call their online coach, but in case they need to, we’re there for them. What are some important things to keep in mind when looking for a coach? Do you believe there is a "right" time to start looking for one? When looking for a coach, number one is hopefully you have a good bullshit detector because its very easy to pose as an experienced coach, or as someone who knows what they’re talking about. What I love about writing, and it’s a double edge sword, is that you can go back, edit, have a first draft, sit on it for a second and then make it sound better. However, in person you can really see if someone knows their stuff or not. On top of that, and almost more importantly, is if you feel that you click with them. The best coach and the best athlete in the world might not be the best pair for each other because maybe they just don't get along, or not even that. Maybe the athlete doesn’t feel 100% open with the coach and because of that, a lot of work can get lost. If the communication isn’t there then obviously not everything is going to be as effective as it can be. So I think: experience, and do you get along really well. When you are financially stable, that is the best time. If you want a coach and you can afford it, that’s when you should get one. If you’re not financially stable you’re just screwing them over. It doesn’t matter if you're novice or if you're advance, if you feel like you want a coach, as long as you are able to pay them, then I think its totally fine. What are your thoughts about online coaching? I think if you’re an online coach, you should be coaching people in-person too (or at least have years under your belt before you just go exclusively online). Being in the trenches of in-person coaching can teach you many things: business, actual coaching, kinesiology, the way the body works, the way to talk to people, the different types of people, the different ways people might say something, and how you can take that, reading someone's face and the psychology behind things, etc...There is so much to learn from in-person coaching, that a lot of online-exclusive coaches don’t get. From a business perspective, there's zero overhead which is dope (Unless you go to seminars and workshops and things like that). But realistically there is almost zero overhead, and I like that you are able to work with people that you wouldn’t normally be able to work with. I love that I can work with people all over the world. There are people that I would love to work with, and with online coaching that is a possibility. What is a common problem athletes seem to have with any of the big three lifts? I think because they are put on a pedestal as THE BIG THREE there is more pressure to have the best lift in each of the big three, and people have an issue putting their ego aside. Helpful cue? Put your ego aside and do what you have to do. What cues do you find helpful in your own squat, bench and deadlift? For squat, I would say that “gripping the ground” really helps. In the past I was always super braced up top, but everything below the waist was not. Now its “grip the ground,” get everything activated, knees are where they should be, and then it goes up the chain. For bench, “drive into your traps” really helps me. Lastly, deadlifts, I think “breaking the bar” around my legs really helps. If you could swim in a bowl of cereal, what kind would it be? I think most people would answer this by saying their favorite kind which isn’t the best answer for which to swim in. So I think I would have to say Cheerios or Froot Loops because you could kinda lounge in em'. Kick it with a beer like one of those pool floats... Actually thinking about it now, with the Cheerios you wouldn’t have to deal with the stickiness of maybe say a Froot Loop, but with Fruit Loops you get a dope smell. I think I'm gonna go with Froot Loops, with the dope smell, kickin' it with my beer. --- Thank you all for the support thus far in our coaching series! Through these interviews we intend to shed light on the different elements of powerlifting and offer everyone pieces of information that they can take to the gym, or the platform, and be better. We believe there are strength in numbers, as well as strength in stories!