Interview: Brad Baker, Bold Base Performance [Tips + Efficiency]
There’s an old quote attributed to John D. Rockefeller stating, “A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship.” This adage hints at the potential dangers of going into business with close friends and family.
Today, we’re talking to Brad Baker who has founded Bold Base Performance with his good friend, Tom Broback. He discusses how they have combined a bold attitude with a willingness to fail in pursuit of getting better to fuel their passion for exercise and entrepreneurship.
If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.
Meet Brad Baker, Co-Founder of Bold Base Performance
Schimri Yoyo: Welcome back. This is Schimri Yoyo with exercise.com, and we are continuing our interview series with fitness experts. And today we have Brad Baker, who is the co-founder of Bold Base Performance in the Greater Minneapolis area in Minnesota.
Brad, thank you for joining us.
Brad Baker: Absolutely man. Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure.
Schimri Yoyo: Oh yeah, we’re very excited to have you. We interviewed your co-founder, Tom Broback, a couple of days ago and so we want to get your perspective as well. And so we’re going to jump right in.
Brad Baker: Haha.
Schimri Yoyo: Yeah, exactly. We just want to see how it lines up. So I wanted to know from you, how did you first develop your love for health and fitness?
Brad Baker: Growing up, I had two older brothers and my family was pretty revolved around sports, especially basketball, because we were all tall and my biggest thing was I just wanted to keep up with them. So that’s kind of where I first got into training. And especially, at that time, I was wanting to jump higher because I just wanted to like touch the rim or dunk or whatever it was with them. And I can vividly remember.
And I don’t know exactly how it got started, but I can vividly remember when I was in second grade I would come home from school, I’d get the cartoons on and the living room, and I would grab like one of my dad’s dumbbells, and I would bench press it. It’s probably like 10 pounds and that’s how I got started in training actually. So mostly just my brothers and wanting to keep up with them was kind of the initial passion of mine.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. So you played some basketball. Did you play any other sports growing up?
Brad Baker: Yeah, I played baseball, football, pretty much anything I can compete in. But more so backyard football than structured football because I didn’t like to get hit.
Schimri Yoyo: When I talked to Tom earlier I made the incorrect assumption that he played hockey because I just figured everyone else that I had met from Minnesota had played hockey growing up.
Brad Baker: Yeah, no. You don’t want to see me on skates man. Got to stay upright.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s funny. So you have a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. What was your favorite class in undergrad or graduate school and which one do you think helped you the most in your profession?
Brad Baker: I would say my two favorite classes were Anatomy and Exercise Physiology. Basically, it’s just because the body is such a complex system and it’s just incredible to learn about. So I love learning about the muscles, the joints, how everything functions together. I think Exercise Physiology is probably more important for the strength and conditioning side of things and just understanding how muscle builds and develops. But I would say those two.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. And who were some of your mentors in the fitness industry as you were coming into it?
Brad Baker: So these are probably going to be pretty similar to Tom, but I would say Paul Fabritz. He’s kind of like sports performance and basketball.
Cal Dietz (Calvin Dietz) is more for speed and power development, and more for like programming. And then Nick St Louis, or The Foot Collective as he’s known, for an all-around understanding of like humans, physiology, psychology, all that.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. Yeah, there was some overlap there between you and Tom, but it’s great because those are guys who have some longevity and are doing great things in the fitness space.
And incidentally a couple of them are actually clients of ours at so exercise.com, so we have them on the platform. So that’s actually pretty cool [for you] to give them a shout out.
Brad Baker: Very cool. Yep. I love it.
Schimri Yoyo: And now what do you do for fun when you’re not training or running your business?
Brad Baker: I just love to be active, and I love to compete. So we have, actually, after this I have a kickball game. I’m in some volleyball leagues, basketball, softball, things like that. I like playing board games with friends. Just anything where you can compete. Hanging out with family and friends and going to events. My guilty pleasure is fantasy football, so I do a little bit of that as well.
Schimri Yoyo: Nice. Nice. Well, Tom told me that his team was not doing too great this year, so I hope you’re doing a little bit better than he is.
Brad Baker: I’m doing a little better than Tom. We’re in the same league. But, not a lot. Nothing to brag about, that’s for sure.
Approaching Fitness through a Firm Foundation
Schimri Yoyo: What one word would best describe your philosophy and methodology of strength training?
Brad Baker: I would say efficiency. A lot of things that trainers or people do will work. People always say, “I’ve been doing this, and it works.” And yeah, that’s true. But you also want to do what’s like the smartest, most efficient thing to get you towards your goals and basically to optimize your performance. You don’t want to waste time, energy, or effort getting to your goals. You want to do the most efficient thing to get there.
Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s great. Now how do you and your co-founder, Tom Broback, come up with the name and concept of a Bold Based Performance?
Brad Baker: So, Tom and I met back in grad school for PT, and we just had a lot of similar interests and views when it came to health, wellness, rehab training, everything. And it actually started for a while when we first started working.
Every Thursday night we would go work out together, and it became something where we like wrote down our goals, started writing programs toward those and then it got to the point where it’s like, “Well, we have such a passion about this, we’re doing it anyway. We should start sharing it with other people.”
And part of it too was we just wanted to take on more risk and have more autonomy when it came to having a business versus working for somebody else. And that’s how it all got started. And as far as the name, once we had the concept, we wrote down a bunch of words that we thought represented us and basically we came up with Bold Base.
So “base” represents your feet and more of the physical foundation, but also just like the foundation as being the key to your performance. Right? If you don’t have a strong, sturdy foundation, you’re not going to have much to build on. So, that’s kind of where “base” comes in.
And then “bold” is just being bold and confident in the moves that we make, doubling down on who we are, not being afraid to fail. And we always say that we would rather learn than be right. So we’re okay with being wrong as long as we learn along the way.
Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s a great anecdote and great answer to my question. I was not expecting that specific. So, that’s awesome. What’s the relationship between strength and conditioning, injury prevention, and rehabilitation? How do they all work together?
Brad Baker: So, in my mind, they’re all pretty intertwined. It’s oftentimes hard to even differentiate them. I think the biggest thing for clients is to just be clear on what their goals are. So, whether you’re rehabbing or trying to reach certain goals with sports performance, you just need to be very clear on what the point is that you want to get to so that I, or we, can help get you there more efficiently. And that that goes for rehab, injury prevention, training, kind of all of it together.
Food, Fact-Checking, and Fitness
Schimri Yoyo: Yeah, that makes sense. And so how do you help your clients to be proactive both in their training and in their rest and recovery from training?
Brad Baker: I would say when it comes to being proactive with that is just understanding the whole system and realizing how it all plays together. And we talked a lot about the big pillars of sleep, stress management, nutrition, exercise—all of those things are big pillars and play together. And you need to address those rather than just crushing yourself in the gym.
Grow and manage your fitness business better with Exercise.com
Schimri Yoyo: So, that actually leads me to my next question. You mentioned nutrition as one of those big pillars. How do you have that conversation about nutrition with your clients?
Not necessarily that you’re a registered dietitian, but how do you address the concept of nutrition with your clients?
Brad Baker: I try not to get too deep with them, just partially for legal reasons. But my biggest thing is just to eat natural foods because everybody is different. Everyone’s going to respond differently. Some people do really well with certain diets or certain foods, other people don’t. And I just feel like if you eat less processed foods, fewer things that come from boxes, and foods that you would just see in nature, you’re probably going to be better off. Right? Just keeping as natural as we can.
But I think when it comes to nutrition, it’s like with anything else where you need to find sources that you trust and ultimately listen to them and listen to your body. Because like we talked before we started this, I mean if you look on Google, you’ll be able to find thousands of pages worth of nutrition information. But you’ve got to find the sources that you trust because a lot of it will contradict itself, you know?
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good advice in general about fact-checking. So what do the terms holistic wellness and integrated medicine mean to you?
Brad Baker: Basically to me it just means that you can’t really look at anything in a silo. Whether you’re dealing with pain on the rehab side of things or with performance training, you need to, like I said, look at the big pillars.
Sleep, nutrition, exercise recovery, stress management. If you’re not looking at all those things together, you’re missing the big picture. And that’s kind of what holistic means to me.
Schimri Yoyo: What are some simple preventative exercises that your clients can do at home?
Brad Baker: The biggest things in my mind, just for the general population, are core, glutes and shoulder blades. If you’ve got strong, sturdy core, glutes, and shoulder blades, you’re going to have great lower body control. You’re going to have great proprioceptive control. And then just sturdy shoulders as well. So I mean, from a rehab standpoint, those are the injuries that we see, and those are the things that people are typically deficient in.
So there I guess you’re looking at like doing different plank variations, doing planks with hip movements with them, scapular stability like I’s, T’s, and Y’s type stuff. And then more for athletes, I would say, doing a lot of hamstring work. So, like Nordic hamstrings. Doing single-leg training. So, rear-foot, elevated split squats is a good one. Single-leg deadlifts. Single-leg squats. Those types of things are kind of what I would focus on. Just super general for athletes.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. How do you measure progress for yourself and then for your clients?
Brad Baker: I’d say for my clients it’s ultimately based on the goals. I’m not going to determine if they’re successful. They are, at the end of the day. And I judge myself based mostly on effort and building towards my goals. So at the end of the day, if I give in maximum effort, and I don’t leave anything on the table or feel like I could have done more for somebody, I’m good.
Schimri Yoyo: Alright. And how do you find that balance between helping your clients make progress towards their goals and reach their physical peaks without burning them out, or with keeping that injury prevention in mind as well?
Brad Baker: So I think a big thing with that is tying it back to efficiency. And I don’t think that a workout should be judged based on how tired you are, how exhausted, and how sweaty your shirt is at the end of the workout. I think it’s more about getting the most out in the least amount of time. Not wasting energy. Not wasting effort on things that aren’t truly getting you towards your goals.
And then ultimately making it fun and understanding that recovery is probably just as important as the actual training that you’re doing. So if you’re not allowing your body to fully recover. You’re just pushing a huge boulder uphill.
Schimri Yoyo: Yeah. Now as far as your day to day in the business, how do you budget your time between your many professional responsibilities? Between your physical therapy side and then also your training side?
Brad Baker: Yeah, it’s still a work in progress. I’m still trying to find that balance along with time for family, friends, and relationships and things like that. So it tends to be where one day the scales are super tilted in one direction. The other day they’re tilted another way. And it’s just kind of—honestly, I’m still piecing through that.
Schimri Yoyo: And that’s, I think, a common refrain for many of our entrepreneurs as well. So I think it’s one of those things where almost like your exercise goal, you’re always making progress towards it, but you’re never fully satisfied or never feel like you’re ever done.
Brad Baker: You’re never fully there man. That’s the beauty of always working towards it.
Schimri Yoyo: What makes you and your team, basically you and Tom, at Bold Base Performance unique? What are you guys bringing to the table that’s different from others in the fitness space?
Brad Baker: I think a big thing for us is—and it’s something that we’ve kind of learned or tried to build on—is just not being afraid to fail. Not being afraid to be wrong, right now, to ultimately learn what’s best later. Taking risks in that way. And then just using our logic of the years and years of background we have in this space of trying to find what is most efficient for people.
A quote that I love is: “The only failure is quitting. Everything else is just gathering information.”
And that’s truly what we view it as is we can’t fail as long as we just continue to strive for what is the right thing. You know, what is the best thing out there and might change. You know, things that we do now might change five years from now. I hope they do because that probably means that we’re learning more and progressing. So that’s kind of the biggest thing.
Schimri Yoyo: Now, how are you and your co-founder/business partner, Tom Broback, similar? How are you guys different? And how do you complement one another?
Brad Baker: Alright. We’re getting deep. We’re figuring it out. So I would say we’re very similar in that we’re both incredibly passionate about optimizing our lives in every facet and helping others to do the same. And that’s the biggest thing. We view training similarly. We view just life, in general, similarly. And we have a bunch of similar interests and we just mesh really well together.
I would say we’re different in kind of the roles that we play as I’m more of like the visionary, big picture, idea guy and he’s more of like the tactical, logical, operations guy. So I have the idea and he ultimately figures out how we get there. Right?
So, if we’re working on wording for a podcast episode, I’m probably the guy. If we’re working on Excel and financials and things like that, he’s the guy. So, we [each] can theoretically both play both roles. But then it comes down to efficiency again where if I’m typing away on an Excel spreadsheet for eight hours and not getting anywhere, it’s not efficient.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. It’s funny, You guys have very similar answers, so it’s good. I’ll give you the actual breakdown once we get offline.
What have you learned so far in your business that you wish you would’ve known when you first started out?
Brad Baker: I’d say the biggest thing, honestly, is just being confident in who you are and what you bring to the table. Like Tom and I always say double down on who you are. And that’s just something that we’ve had to learn along the way because people try to pull you in different directions.
Naturally, we try to please everybody. I feel like that’s a lot of people in this profession. And at the end of the day, you just have to do what you think is the best at that time.
Schimri Yoyo: And how do you guys use your businesses and your platforms to serve the Greater Minneapolis/St. Paul community there in the Twin Cities?
Brad Baker: I would say the biggest thing that we’ve been doing so far as just providing as much like free content, as much value as we can to people. Basically, anybody that’s willing to listen or watch. And if one Instagram post or one thing we say in a podcast impacts one person to, in some way, enhance their life or optimize their life, I feel like we’ve won. So that’s the biggest thing we’re doing right now, and we’d love to do more community integration in the future as well.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. And in what ways are you using social media and technology to promote your services?
Brad Baker: We got the podcast, Instagram accounts, Facebook, Twitter, the website on Wix is what we use there. And it’s just amazing to me how much social media and technology can be used to just reach a broader audience. We recently had Jake Shuler who lives in Nashville, he’s the creator of Opti02 Labs, on the podcast. Just randomly connected by him seeing our content.
We recently had Gary Reinl on there as well, and he’s from Nevada. And it’s just people that we would never have had connections to without using social media. And it’s pretty cool.
Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s pretty cool. Well, I’m appreciative of your time, and I don’t want to take up too much more of it. Thank you again for your participation in our interview series. Just a couple more questions here.
What do you think is next for you and your business? Where do you guys see yourselves as far as expansion?
Brad Baker: Yeah, so we’re trying to move a little bit more towards in-person training, continuing with the podcast, continuing with the social media, continuing to just provide value to people. We are working on new ways to reach a broader audience with our content, like webinars, eBooks, things like that. Just basically where more people can get ahold of it and learn something to help them out.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. And lastly, do you have any resources, whether they’re books, podcasts, magazines that you would recommend to our audience? It doesn’t necessarily have to be fitness-related, but something that you think would provide some value to our audience?
Brad Baker: Well, number one, of course, is Bold Based Performance podcast. But really the first things that come to mind for podcasts I’d say the TFC Audio Project. That one’s put on by The Foot Collective and that’s just really great for anybody in this space.
I really liked Gary V, Gary Vaynerchuk, he’s got some great content. And Tony Robbins as well. And then some books that I really like are You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. That’s where that quote that I mentioned earlier came from Find Your Why. Finding your why is crucial.
Schimri Yoyo: Those are some great recommendations. And it’s funny, having done this interview series now for about six months or so, it’s funny how there’s been a wide range of different recommendations and resources, but then it’s funny how a handful of them seem to be recycled or repeated and so that’s pretty cool to see that there’s almost like a common trait of resources that are helping to motivate and fuel those who are doing some great, successful things in this fitness space.
Brad Baker: Absolutely. Absolutely, man.
Schimri Yoyo: Thanks, Brad, for your time and thank you for your candor and just all the great information you provided to us. We look forward to catching up with you and Tom a little later down the road and see how much you guys have grown Bold Base Performance.
Brad Baker: I really appreciate it, man. Thank you for having me on.
Schimri Yoyo: Alright, man. Have a good one and good luck at your kickball game tonight.
Brad Baker: Alright. I appreciate it, man.
If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.
Schimri Yoyo is a writer for Exercise.com and a financial advisor with active life and health insurance licenses. In a past life, he covered Villanova Men’s Basketball and Big East Football for Examiner.com. Schimri has also produced freelance copywriting, editing, and proofreading for various websites and online publications for over a decade. He is an avid sports fan, possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and San Francisco 49ers. Schimri is an educator and a storyteller who is eager to assist individuals and families to stay financially and physically fit.