LET'S GET A HANDLE ON ALL THIS.
By now you're probably realizing that this Next Level team thing is kind of enigmatic. While it may be hard to sum up quickly, that doesn't mean we can't at least describe it's fundamentals.
The list below grounds the process for you. Even if we can't fully describe how incredible joining a Next Level team can be, this should still help answer the basic questions you may have.
YES, IT'S A REAL TEAM. JUST LIKE EVERY SPORT YOU ALREADY KNOW.
6 to 10 athletes just like you. It is a real sports team focused on success in bodybuilding and strength development.
SORT OF ACADEMIC.
Most meetings are workshops. The idea is to learn more. In that respect Next Level often feels almost like a class some days. But don't worry; it's also a sport, through and through. Just expect to learn A LOT of stuff as we go along.
We treat bodybuilding, strength and lifting sports as sports. Not hobbies, not fitness, not fads, but true sports. As such, you are an athlete in our eyes, and we approach these pursuits as athletes would.
DEFINITELY FOR THE COMPETITIVE.
Every athlete on ever Next Level team competes one to three times. It is just a requirement. But even if you don't think you're into (or ready for) competing, trust us, you will enjoy your experience.
The Next Level belongs to no one gym and resides in no one facility. In fact, we often use several. While team meetings are generally held in one location, we often have meetings and workshops in a whole variety of places. From outdoor arenas to indoor training centers to museums to colleges and beyond. We do not tie ourselves to one place because we feel strongly every athlete should explore all their options.
METHOD-FOCUSED, NOT WINNING-FOCUSED.
We use competition as a means of structuring your work. The goal of Next Level is not to win. The goal is to learn how to innovate solutions for better goal achievement.
Each team meets 2 to 6 times per month. But just how often is different for each team and likewise shifts and changes month to month based on the needs of your team. Generally most teams meet at least once per week. Yet during contest prep or particularly active times, athletes may meet twice or even three times in a given week. But it is very diplomatic, and very cooperative.
Most teams are comprised of regular guys. If asked, they refer to themselves as "intermediate level." (We often heartily disagree.) In reality, this program is for the "slightly-beyond-intermediate" athlete; the one "just-before-advanced." Our team mates are often experienced personal trainers, competitors, post-graduate exercise scientists and nutritionists, and even semi-pro and even pro-level athletes. OPf course, there are a lot of regular folks too; people with years of experience in the gym and a deep passion for their work. But regardless of their provenance, this ain't no beginner program.
ASTOUNDINGLY BROAD RANGE OF TOPICS.
When we say there is literally no place we might not go, we mean it. Anything and everything that may affect your improvement is fair game for our coaches. Every training method and theory; every dieting concept and plan; every nuance of science and rhetoric; there are few topics we do not cover. Yoga to deadlifting, psychology to workout nutrition, history to contest prep strategy and beyond.
We start with broad theories and gradually work our way towards practical programming. The breadth of topics is astounding. You never know from what angle we'll workshop your program next.
A LEGACY OF ACCUMULATED WISDOM.
Knowledge is important. Information is vital. Yet wisdom – which we consider the ability to "correctly apply information and knowledge" for best result – is probably the most important key. Having a bank of sciencey facts and piles of clever advice means little compared to a savvy method of employment. The wise athletes get much further than the smart ones.
Each Next Level team "inherits" the knowledge, methods and "wisdom" of all the previous teams' experiences. (And there area LOT of them!) Each run of the program is better than the last. You benefit from the uncountable experiences of the athletes who went before you. It is literally like a living library. That's a whole lot of wisdom.
The Next Level curricula has built within it the ability for the athletes to decide which direction their team focuses. That means you often choose what you want to learn, experience or discuss. This fact alone makes us unique; most often you a told what to do and to obey the plan set before you. We encourage the opposite: we seek innovators who want to broaden their thinking, not narrow their sights. While your coaches have a game plan for facilitating your team's progress, very often the one calling the shots is you.
Expect to change. Expect to grow. We do not guarantee this, but that is what pretty much what every athlete who has completed the program has reported back to us: that they change in ways they never expected for the better. While our goal is only to change how you work for the better, we often end up changing you for the better. Come here with an open mind filled with possibilities, and you will be astonished what we can help you facilitate.
COMPETITION PREP SPECIALISTS.
Most athletes in the Next Level have never competed before. Some members of your team have. Either way, we take you step by step through contest prep options so you can figure out how to get the most out of your commitment. What good is doing something so profound if it doesn't leave you better off than when you started, right?
COACHED, NOT TRAINED.
Your team has a coach. Not a trainer. It is presumed in The Next Level that, by now, you more or less can train yourself. It is also assumed that you want to train yourself better. You need coaching, not more training.
Now, as a matter of fact, we do "train" you a little. But training is only employed to help you learn, not to manage your work. Your work is your own; we merely coach you to do it better.
Each team is assisted by former Next Level athletes. After the program ends, many athletes continue to specialize, diversify and focus their work. They come back and help each team improve. Many of your team instructors and advisors are also peers; they are athletes who have experienced what you are experiencing. They are fellow dreamers and competitors. And they are damn clever at sharing their experiences.
Every Next Level athlete receives dozens of hand-outs that are all custom-written. We issue you a notebook at the start of the process, and each handout is added to that notebook. Along with your notes, these hand-outs gradually become like your own personal library of physique work. The Next Level notebook is one of the most profound tools you will have.
The Next Level is ALWAYS looking ahead. We are not interested in creating an army of robotic contest winners. We are interested in helping you use your talents to create real leadership and new opportunities. Many athletes gain experience, perspective and support to get more benefits from their work than they originally imagined. We are not in the business of manufacturing winners. We are in the business of creating leaders.
There is a difference between value and cost. And the price for value need not always be a blockade. Next Level works on a flexible monthly "rolling billing plan." After an initial deposit, your costs accumulate per meeting, yet you pre-negotiate a monthly price point for your self that is fair to the program yet reasonable for you.
Meanwhile, opportunities to trade and "work off" debt often arise midway through the program. Because the Next Level grows by participation, we value athlete contribution – and often value it by trading cost.
There are few people – even the most strapped for cash - who have struggled to afford the program. Exact per-meeting pricing varies, and can be discussed when you contact us for recruitment.
FUNNY. VERY FUNNY.
While we take our work seriously, we don't take ourselves seriously. We have seen that people advance better when they are in a good mood. (We'll even present the science behind why this is a better way to learn.) Join expecting to laugh a lot.