Interview with Analisa Naldi – Trust the Process

Every time I run into Analisa at a workshop or conference, I know it’s going to be the best time ever. She brings the best attitude and energy to the room. She never holds back and shares everything she knows. I recently went to a conference we usually meet up at and her absence was felt. I’m happy I got to catch up with her in this interview.

Let’s get started!

I’ve met you several times, and have always been impressed with your extensive knowledge, willingness to help others, and overall coolness factor. You just have the best attitude ever. How did you get hooked up in this profession?

This is a long one! I’ve been coaching since 2000. Here’s the short story…

In 2000 I was diagnosed with a tumor in my left tibia. After surgery, my rehab places me at the facility where I did my strength & speed training as a collegiate basketball player. The owner asks me if I’m interested in coaching people since I’d gotten to know a lot of different folks due to the all the extra time I spent there rehabbing my body. I start part-time in the fall of 2000 and then I moved to a full-time coaching position.

From 2001-2002 I was a strength coach at Riekes Center with a population of about 55 members, which was mostly 60+-year-olds; and youth. After this, I completed my undergrad.

Fall of 2002 through May 2004 I went to grad school in San Diego. I coached at Bally Total Fitness (yikes!) and moved back up to San Jose where I coached there for another 6 months before transitioning out.

2004 through 2010 I was employed as full-time strength & conditioning coach and part of the leadership team at a boutique facility in Los Altos called FIT. During these 6 years, I found the RKC, Crossfit when it moved to Santa Cruz for HQ (2005), dug deep into my Olympic Weightlifting experience and coaching, and developed an unmatched passion in comparison to anything else that stokes my fire for creating community and providing excellence.

In 2010 I became a contractor and joined the Evolution Trainers team as Strength & Conditioning Coach and Leadership Team (originally 4 of us; now expanded to 7).

I am fortunate to have had a strong, regular student base for 12+ years from the local area, remote students that remind me how big and awesome the world is, supportive team that thrives on learning and connecting with one another, and a variety of projects that allow me to be a student, mentor, and give back to the community that helped mold my career. Heading into my 16th year and stoked about it!

What did you study in college and why did you choose that?

I started in Sports Management because I thought I wanted to be an agent; developing relationships with athletes and connecting for a living? Hell yes! Little did I understand that this was more about the crazy negotiations, super high stress, no sleep, etc….but I really enjoyed the psych and communications aspect so I stuck with it. I finished in 3 years and then doubled my major to include kinesiology so that I could understand how the body works and really dig deeper into developing myself as an instructor of movement and healthier living.

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What do you think attributes to you rocking a strong student base for over a decade?

Honestly, my commitment to delivering a connected experience every time I interact with somebody, regardless of the environment. I put forth a strong effort to be present in the moment, anticipatory about their needs, and consistently reliable with follow-ups.

You have been coaching over 15 years now, what still drives you?

My fire is truly stoked in connecting with people and providing or sharing any tools that I have that will help them on their journey in whatever chapter we happen to meet in. Everybody has awesome in them somewhere; it’s truly about helping them access it. Seriously…it’s about the people. It sounds corny but it’s so fun.

Movement happens to be my favorite tool to create the connection.

Everybody has awesome in them somewhere; it's truly about helping them access it. Seriously...it's about the people. Movement happens to be my favorite tool to create the connection.

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Connection creates change! What excites you right now?

If you mean right NOW, then it’s a blend of two things:

Having over 3/4 of my students embracing their homework consistently and checking in between training days. I am super proud that their movement is getting better and bodies are feeling strong.

Second, feeling like there is something, more opportunity to grow on the horizon with an abundance of our community in strength and fitness working to collaborate, connect, and create a greater collective.

Holy smokes! 75%+ compliance in homework is pretty serious and I think most of us only wish we could accomplish that with our clients. How do you do this?

I follow-up, keep the homework simple, targeted, and achievable, (see: tiny habits), and follow-up regularly but customized per student (i.e. text message daily vs. email every day I don’t see them, once per week for those more independent, etc…). And to close the circle on this, we include some sort of follow-up in session when they are in with me in person so that they can feel the impact of their hard work. If their homework was slow plank taps for 3 x 10 upon waking up, in session after the warm-up we’ll drop down and see how their push-up looks and where their body takes it right now. Making it feel like a continuous experiment in movement allows for our hypothesis and methods to be ever evolving.

I think that’s a brilliant way to get more compliance by attaching some kind of outcome or purpose to their homework. I’ve been there before, where I didnt follow up and have seen the drop off in compliance. What was something that was really hard or challenging for you at one point?

It’s a toss up between severe adrenal fatigue (2007 – 2012) or recovery from herniated disc that was rooted from a tumor in 2000.

You have been through a lot! How were you able to identify and recover from adrenal fatigue? I think our audience would find that interesting as I get questions all the time about preventing burnout for personal trainers.

I had to step completely outside of myself, what I knew (move hard and often, eat super clean all the time, work as much as you can, coach as many people as you can and give all of yourself to your students) and dial it back….I committed to sleeping at least 8 hours per night; regardless of what else I had to do; didn’t coach more than 7 hours per day, removed lifting, running, and all of my other “more strenuous” activities and introduced a Vinyasa Practice (thank you Pete Guinosso – life saver, dear friend, and best instructor I’ve ever met in the world of Yoga), a body-weight based practice to compliment my light KB practice, a daily meditation (even if only 3 minutes, it still happens!), and devoted every weekend to being on the water, which is where my soul lives. I truly have a Blue Mind and a Mermaid Soul. This was truly one of the most challenging times in my life; more than my tumor years before because it was such a long journey that required patience and flexibility.

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What is something that you found out over time from experience and wish you could share with everyone?

The tiny habits that contribute to your balanced health are the ones that make you great. Balanced health = body, mind, spirit, and energy.

What’s one tiny habit that resonates well with your client base and gets the most bang for the buck or leads to bigger things?

Do one thing every single day for yourself that you consider purely for you to FEEL happy…..and they write it down or send it to me. It can range from movement, from breathing, from spending 5 minutes with their spouse, to…..whatever it is but ONE THING dedicated to you. This usually works out to something that helps them stay the course towards homework.

I REALLY like that! In fact, I’m stealing that. What’s one book that changed your practice or they way you think?

The New Gold Standard by Joseph Michelli. The model of the Ritz Carlton and Horst Schulze speak to my heart like my father and mother do. Everybody is a lady and a gentleman and they deserve to be treated as such. This is key in providing service, providing excellence in leadership, and being a proliferator of good ass vibes!

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What has had the biggest impact on you?

Hands down….growing up a full-blooded Italian Farm Girl. My family – two amazing parents, three sisters that are my best friends…a fortunate place to come from where everybody matters and thinking about other people first is reflexive.

If you were to meet someone that you admire, who is it and what are the top 3 questions you would ask them?

Horst Schulze.

What is your favorite thing to do for “Me” time?
What does your perfect day look like?
Who do you admire?

Those are great questions to gather insight. What does your ‘perfect day’ look like?

This would definitely begin with dawn patrol – my body on a board in the water, either ocean or lake. After a couple of hours on the water surfing or wakeboarding, then a strong, delish cup of espresso with heavy cream that I can enjoy over an hour or so rather than sucking it down between sessions.

If it continues with ideal, then there is actually a couple hours work that involves either coaching or connecting (sometimes even cleaning which I love; crazy right?!), something productive and contributing to the cause and greater good, then it’d be cooking/making lunch (YUM!) followed by a siesta in the sunshine.

Rolling into the afternoon post-nap would be either talking shop/working more with anybody on movement (or working on the farm if I am visiting the folks) and then cooking an early dinner that takes a long time, so we can hang, talk, eat as we go, with my family or whoever that’s close to me happens to be around that day, and sharing an evening of food, sitting around the table for hours, and then going to sleep early because I love to wake-up early.

Siesta in the sunshine! You’re definitely from California, I hope all you New Yorkers take note! I love that question as I can start to build a better picture of who you are and I feel like I know you a little better now. What else do you wish people knew about you but probably don’t?

I listen and talk all day long. I relish my silent time when I get home in the evenings. Not talking sometimes says much more than words.

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I tend to find that most personal trainers are introverts, and ‘being on stage’ all day is rewarding but more exhausting than some people think. Do you agree with that? If so, what would you suggest to help unwind or create balance in their lives?

This is the real deal, even for somebody like me that thrives on being around people; I love my quiet time at the end of the day. I would suggest spending as little as 5 minutes not talking, not engaged in anything other than walking, laying on your back, fill up the tub with a TON of Epsom salts and float, or light reset movements. This quiet time allows for even the most boisterous of us to reset. I personally tend to enjoy not talking for an hour at least, getting work done, and allowing my inner self to chill.

What advice would you give yourself 16 years ago when you started. What do you wish you knew then that you know now?

Fidatevi del Processo

Trust the Process.

This is my greatest piece and one that I hold dear. Surround yourself with the people that are what you aspire to be, how you aspire to teach, and who have the energy that you want to share with your students.

Be open to always being a student ~ learn, apply, learn, apply….practice helps you learn so continue to apply.

Analisa answers the question, “What’s New Coach?”, and tells us what’s been on her mind now about training and taking care of ourselves. I wish someone sat me down 10 years ago and told me this. 

Thanks so much Analisa! How do we get in contact with you?
Any way you like!
iPhone or text: 408-718-1409
Website: analisanaldi.com
Email: analisa@analisanaldi.com
Facebook or LinkdIn…Pick your comfort zone and step outside of it 🙂

Resources Mentioned:

Books:
The New Gold Standard by Joseph Michelli

People:
Horst Schulze Speaking on Providing Exceptional Customer Service (YouTube)

BJ Fogg (Tiny Habits) Forget big change, start with a tiny habit (YouTube)