An Interview with PCC and HKC Instructor, Errick McAdams
By Adrienne Harvey SrPCC, RKC-II, CK-FMS, Primal Move Nat’l Instructor
How did you get started in fitness?
I used to be a fat guy! I was 26 years old and sitting on the couch, watching an E True Hollywood Story
about Brad Pitt. At the time Brad Pitt was 36 years old, Fight Club
had just come out, and he was totally ripped! When you’re 26, 36 sounds really old. I remember thinking, "This old man is in better shape than me." Then I saw a commercial for Bally Total Fitness that said, "Join right now for $5!" I literally got up off the couch at that moment and went to join. That was in LA, and I went one time!
After I moved to New York, my first job was managing restaurants in JFK. When 9/11 happened, the restaurant business at JFK took a big hit and I got laid off. At that point I was totally out of shape, weighed around 245lbs and was unemployed. I decided it was now or never. I finally started using my gym membership and vowed to workout everyday at 5AM. When I first started I couldn't even run a mile, but I didn’t give up. I used what I knew about working out from my high school athletic background, I played football, wrestled, and ran track. I was determined.
I went to the gym every single day at 5AM starting in October 2001. When you go that early you end up seeing the same people. There were three ladies who noticed the weight I was losing and asked for my help. So I started working out with them, and soon realized it was the best hour of my day. All day after I left the gym, I would think about our next workout! Fast forward to February 2002—I walked into the gym and saw a "Help Wanted" sign. At that point I decided to be a personal trainer and the rest is history.
How did you find out about kettlebells
and the HKC?
I saw other trainers in the gym using kettlebells. After doing some research online, I found out about Dragon Door and competed the HKC certification
in 2011. A kettlebell certification is one part of being a well-rounded trainer.
What area of exercise are you especially passionate about?
All of it! From bodyweight training
, to weights, boxing, kickboxing, I do almost everything! Of course, it depends on who I am training, and their abilities. When I train an athlete, we train to the maximum of their personal abilities. I like to say: "Your BEST workout EVERY workout!" And I never use the word client, clients are for lawyers, I train athletes.
How do you define athlete?
An athlete is anyone who wants to be better physically and mentally. I always say, "We are athletes, and our sport is life. Everyday is a competition."
When did you start working with Lululemon as an ambassador? And you’ve done some fitness modeling too?
I started as a Lululemon Ambassador around 2012. Lululemon is an awesome company! I am very proud of my relationship with them, and the ambassador program. I’ve been pictured in SELF magazine
, The Washington Post
, The Washingtonian
, Washington Life
, The IDEA Fitness Journal
. And two books by Danny Kavadlo, Everybody Needs Training
and Diamond-Cut Abs
What attracted you to the PCC, and how did you decide to do the workshop?
The Kavadlo brothers! I’ve known both of them personally for almost nine years and worked with them at the New York Health and Racquet Club! They are awesome people, and if they are involved with something, I know it’s top notch and I should check it out!
What was your favorite move from the PCC workshop
The muscle-up, absolutely without a doubt! I did my first ever muscle-up at the PCC!
What made it happen for you?
I would have to say the motivation at the workshop—it was a great group of people, and the atmosphere that Danny and Al
created was really positive. I am already an energetic person and don't need much to get going, but I was just super motivated at the workshop. Put Danny and I in the same room, and it might blow up!
Now that you've done your first muscle-up, what’s the next goal?
Since I workout with my athletes, I’m basically working out—running with athletes, doing burpees, push-ups
and sprints—all day every day. My own fitness goal is to stay in shape to keep doing what I love. When I was a teenager my favorite thing to do was to workout with my friends, I’m 40 now and nothing has changed.
When I do work out by myself, it’s really quick and intense. A typical workout for me would be to run as fast as possible for as long as possible on a treadmill, then do as many push-ups as I can, then as many pull-ups
as I can—for five rounds.
How did you originally decide to work out with your athletes?
It wasn't a conscious decision, it just happened naturally. Plus, if I am doing burpees right there next to you, it’s more motivational. Today I’ve already done burpees with one athlete, ran 10 wind sprints up a hill with another, and I will be working out with more athletes this evening!
Being in great shape has a lot to do with what you eat, and eating clean is the most important thing along with drinking lots of water. I have two phrases I really live by. The first is "Hydrate before you caffeinate." The first thing I do every single morning is wake up and drink a bottle of water which kick starts my metabolism. Then I have my coffee. The other phrase I use all the time is, "If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food." It's simple and to the point, but I trademarked both phrases and even sell water bottles and refrigerator magnets with the phrases too.
But, if you keep good food in your fridge, then you will eat good food is true—there are so many challenges outside your home—restaurants, parties, weddings—and fast food and processed carbs are everywhere! If you don’t have any in your house, then you've won half the game right there. But if you have donuts at the office and Oreos in the cupboard at home, then that's a bad situation!
Can you tell us more about your own eating philosophy, and what you enjoy eating?
My personal philosophy is simple—find the foods that work for you and then eat mostly those foods. I'm not vegetarian, vegan or paleo. I eat clean about 85% of the time and I drink tons of water. Eating clean means eating real food that comes from nature, not man-made, processed stuff. I eat vegetables, fruit, fish, meat, poultry—items that have a one word list of ingredients. I always tell people that their diet shouldn't have someone else’s name. Metabolisms are as individual as fingerprints.
One of my most important career goals is to help people understand metabolism and food in the same way they understand metabolism and alcohol. For example, if a group of adults go out drinking, everyone knows that some of them will be able to drink more than others—and when intoxicated, some people will act differently than others. Some will be happy drunks and some will be angry drunks. The same system that metabolizes alcohol also metabolizes food—specifically processed carbs and sugars.
This is why some people can eat bread and pasta and continue to be totally alert and functional, but others—like myself—can’t. When I eat that stuff I immediately feel tired. Eating is not supposed to make us tired. If you are tired after eating it means you ate too much or the food you were eating didn’t agree with your own unique system.
Understanding and being able to manage our own individual metabolisms is extremely important, and one of the biggest goals I have for my athletes.
Dragon Door: What type of results are people looking for when they decide to train with you?
Errick McAdams: Everyone is different, but there are more people who want to lose weight than gain it. If you’re the type that wants to GET HUGE, bench press 300lbs, squat 500lbs and take a bunch of supplements, I am not the right trainer for you. However, if you want the most amount of muscle tone with the least amount of body fat then I am your trainer!
Dragon Door: What's one of your most inspiring athlete success stories?
Errick McAdams: There are so many, but Tonny immediately comes to mind—Tonny is 5’10" and used to weigh 194lbs. He lacked muscle tone and body confidence. Now he is 160 pounds with abs! To celebrate is 30th birthday we went to Las Vegas. Tonny has always been shy and body conscious. Until our Vegas trip he had never taken off his shirt in public. To see him in shape at the pool and receiving all kinds of compliments from his friends and admirers is one of the highlights of my career.
Dragon Door: What do you want most for your fitness career?
Errick McAdams: I want to impact and change as many lives as possible! I want to show people that you be fit and still have a food life too, once you learn to manage your own unique metabolism. I want people to know that they don’t need a radical diet, they need lifestyle change. I want to introduce as many people as possible to a healthy balanced lifestyle.
To that end, I am always looking for a larger platform for my message. I LOVE Twitter and Instagram. My website also features an online store where I carry water bottles and refrigerator magnets bearing my two most popular Errickisms, "Hydrate Before You Caffeinate" and "If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food."
That reminds me of another success story—I had coffee with a young lady today, and we were celebrating our one-year anniversary. It wasn’t the one-year anniversary of her training with me, it was better than that, it was the one-year anniversary since we stopped training and she hasn’t gained a pound! She has kept off 30lbs for a whole year! I couldn’t and can’t stop smiling!
Dragon Door: That is a fantastic accomplishment and goes to show the power of lifestyle change, and how you’re able to communicate that to your clients.
Errick McAdams: I LIVE to celebrate the lives and accomplishments of other people. I am a really fortunate, I have the best life I can imagine.