Freddy Answers My Questions!
Well here is the interview. Read it and let me know what you think. A HUGE thank you to Freddy for taking the time to do this!
There was this Nike ad that I remember seeing at the time. It was of this woman running. I remember being struck by how strong and empowered she looked. It was sexy and cool and powerful all at once and her spirit shone through in a way that was just inspirational. It was sort of an aha moment for me. I was already looking at blogging as a possible business opportunity that could harness my passion for media and lightening really struck with that image. I've aspired to realize the feeling and vision of that moment of inspiration ever since.
2. You are quite talented with filming and photography. Where were you employed before BR? Have you ever thought of using your talent elsewhere?
I stayed in school quite late - I did two post-graduate programs in media after completing film school at Queen's University. After school I worked in local television in my hometown. It was an opportunity to learn in a more practical hands on environment. It's funny but I never aspired to work for anyone else. My big dream at that stage in my life was to create and produce television shows.
3. Your photos are quite sexy - you put up pictures for the world to see of your former wife and now of your current girlfriend. Shouldn't some of those be for your eyes only? It doesn't bother you to see your loved ones portrayed in such a manner?
I think it has to be taken into context. Yes it's sexy but compared to what? Both fitness and fashion magazines that you can purchase at the local grocery store routinely publish images that are every bit as sexy and provocative.
I happen to believe that the images we present are multi-dimensional in that they are sexy and inspirational. They have come to mean different things to different people, but in terms of the feedback we get and the numbers we are turning, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
As I look back on our content, I think that we've moved into a more instructional direction. The angles are wider, there are far fewer close ups and there is a really strong focus on the movements and exercises.
4. I know that sex sells, and sexy images can be a motivating reason to workout, but it can also be very disheartening to some and can lead to eating and exercise disorders. How do you feel about possibly being a part of that?
I'm proud of what we as a company produce. We have a team of people now that produce the content. The women that work for BodyRock drive the production of the content. Our photographer is a woman. Our director of social media is a woman. Our writers are women. The hosts plan their routines and largely self-manage. It's an environment of free expression where people can share their passion.
5. How come we never see you on BR working out?! You mentioned that you lost 20 lbs recently. Way to go! Did Lisa train you?
I did and thank you :) Lisa and Sean have both been huge supporters of my personal fitness journey. I do the workouts and challenges right along with everyone else - no special treatment lol.
6. People have mentioned that Lisa's extent of plastic surgery is hypocritical to the health and wellness BR often tries to display. How do you react to those accusations?
I think what people choose to do with their bodies is a personal decision that is entirely no one else's business. Lisa chose to be open and honest about what she has had done. This was the first time someone stood up on our platform and just leveled with everyone about their choices and experiences - but she was not the first person to host BodyRock that has had surgeries. Body modification has increasingly become the norm in both fitness and in our culture. Until you can fully understand what it's like to live inside someone else's body and everything that entails, I think it's best to reserve judgement.
7. You have been very open with your feelings about your breakup with Zuzana. Were you ever worried about the fate of BR once you guys announced your breakup?
That was an extremely difficult time on many different levels. Our breakup was highly public and although I had sort of gotten accustomed to the attention we were getting through the site, I was entirely unprepared for the wave of attention (both positive and negative) that I received personally. One of the national newspapers in Canada where I'm from covered it in an article. It was surreal to say the least.
The official script that we decided on was that we were parting ways as friends. The decision to frame it as an amicable separation was largely to protect the community and create as little disruption for people as possible. It did not - in any way - represent the realities behind the scenes when the cameras were off. I didn't know how we would continue. I didn't have a host. The show had only ever had one face. It was a defining moment for the brand. At that moment it could have crashed. What ultimately happened however is that we started to grow. At some point along the trajectory of its development BodyRock became to be mean more to people than any one person.
The best explanation I've ever come up for this actually came from a BodyRocker that wrote to me "There was the Body - then there was the Rock" - the rock part of our community - the effort, the heart, the intention - it endured the transition and took root again and began to flourish. We have grown many times the size we were since those days and new people are discovering the community every single day. It's incredible to witness.
8. Did Watch It Now approach BR or just Zuzana?
We were approached just about a year before the split. We ultimately decided not to work with companies whose only motivation was a soulless pursuit of making money. It would have destroyed BR. BR is a business, but the core value we provide - the workouts and connection with our hosts will always be free. That's baked into the DNA of the brand and it sets us apart. Yes we have things you can buy if you choose to - but you don't have to pay to be part of it. That was never the original intention and I'm protective over this aspect of who we are as a brand.
9. Why did you take down all of Zuzana's old videos?
I didn't. There are dozens of them still live on YouTube.
10. Do you plan on keeping the dailyhiit? Has it lived up to your expectations as I believe you once wanted to replace bodyrock.tv with thedailyhiit?
TDH has surpassed BR on every metric you can measure, but it will fold into the new BR site as the blog section. Moving forward there will be just 'BodyRock' and TDH will exist as a sub-brand.
11. People want to know - why is Melissa no longer with BR? She was made an official host and then she disappeared.
Melissa was an incredible trainer and brought a lot of heart to her role as a host. She chose to leave to pursue projects closer to home and her family. She's a mother and wife and hosting BR required her to be away for stretches of time. We were sorry to lose her but wish her all the best.
12. Who comes up with the workouts and who finds and tests all the equipment/affiliates BR uses? Will we see more body weight workouts in the future?
The trainers come up with their own workouts. Everyone has their own particular focus and passion and we let them run with it. For the most part equipment manufacturers approach us with sample gear. We get these types of inquiries on a weekly basis. For us to take on new gear we have to believe in it. That means working out with it and testing it and making the commitment to using it in future workouts.
13. Everyone on camera seems made up, tanned and even oiled up. Do you employ special make up/hair stylists?
We don't have makeup artists and have never used them for our videos. It's up to the hosts to wear as much or as little makeup as they choose.
14. There have been LOTS of nutrition guides lately. Do you think it is confusing to the consumer to keep introducing new ones?
The guides we publish each deal with very specific topics. The most recent guide is our first ever cook book. I'm particularly proud of it because the food and ingredients were beautifully photographed and the recipes are absolutely delicious. Everything we do is constantly evolving and we are always striving to make improvements.
15. Will you always keep the workouts free?
The core offering of our workouts will always be free.
16. Do the hosts of BR actually think that 16 minutes a day is all you need to really look like them?
The point is not to look like them - the point is to train to be the best version of yourself possible. Our short HIIT workouts combined with a sensible diet have transformed thousands of people's lives. We post before and after pictures from the community each and every week. These types of 'word of body' testimonials are incredibly powerful and motivating.
17. Your reputation has always been a bit of a volatile one - often at opposite ends of the spectrum. I've read some very nasty and some very nice comments about you. Has that affected you at all? You certainly seem to be much more open mined and very into what your readers want these days. Have you noticed a change in your own behavior?
I've done the best I could throughout this journey and at the end of the day the people that know me - my family, my friends, my loved ones are proud of me for what has been accomplished. No one teaches you how to react to attention online. I don't have a PR firm vetting my comments and spinning my posts. I write my own words. Believe it or not this is incredibly uncommon. 99% of every word that was ever written on the BR site was penned by me. The tone and style remains the same and so does the intention. I'm certainly not perfect but I've remained true to myself and the values I was raised with throughout some very tense dealings.
When my business partner launched a competitive business behind my back and without any warning I felt deeply betrayed. When this new business began spamming our social media accounts and attacking everything that we had worked for years to build yes I was angry - but who wouldn't be? It was a very hostile move that I didn't expect and ultimately I was responsible for protecting the community and the business and our employees that depend on BR for their livelihood from a very deliberate predatory attack.
I'm all for people doing their own thing and being independent - but there are ways to accomplish those goals without resorting to the sort of underhanded maneuvering that took place against your own business and employees. That said its 3 years in the past and we are reaching more people now in a week than we were then in a month and a half. It's a entirely new chapter and I'm confident it will be the best one yet.
18. I know when BR first started people used to wonder how you made a living. Was it mostly from pay per clicks? How long has this been your only source of income?
It's constantly shifting, but it's primarily a mix between advertising and product sales.
19. What are you most proud of?
I feel the most pride and awe from the testimonials and before and after pictures we receive from BodyRockers all over the world.
20. Any advice for online entrepreneurs like yourself?
Get ready to work your ass off!
21. Any sneak peaks as to what the future of BR holds for us? ;)
We have started a complete rebuild of the site(s) that will launch post holiday season. It's a complete re-imagining of the experience from the ground up and it's incredibly exciting. We also have a new daily recipe show, a new beginner series, another food / workout series and a new yoga series starting. All of these will introduce new hosts to the mix. We have shot the first episodes and you should start to see this content in October. I'm really proud of how awesome Lisa's HiitMax series is - it's our flagship daily workout and it's generating incredible buzz. Lots of new stuff to look forward to.
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