We spoke with Matt Ney this week, Matt is Founder of Kakana, an accessible fitness experience. Kakana allows members to access live and recorded lessons on a streaming platform for individuals with and without disabilities. Designed to be completely inclusive. This is a great listen to hear about Matt's journey and his passion for Kakana. It's even got us ready to exercise!
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Welcome back guys. A real pumped to have you back for this week's episode, we were able to speak to such a great guest this week.
[00:01:20] I am already motivated to start working out and exercise and be my best, most healthy self. Um, this week's episode we spoke to matinee from Kokona. It is Ann tastic resources. So enjoy.
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[00:02:23] All right, so welcome Matt Nat, Nate from Kokona. Thank you for joining us. Thank you. Thanks for having me. Yeah. We're real excited for this episode. Um, it's like, you know, kicking off episode, season two for us, and we've kind of been itching to talk to people again. So I'm excited to have you on. Yeah, no, it's amazing.
[00:02:42] I, uh, I think you guys are doing, it's a great podcast and it's, I'm excited to be here. Yeah. You kind of just like jumped right in there. No warning. Let's go.
[00:02:55] right here. We got we're here. It started. It already started, so. Okay, perfect. So Matt, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from, you know, tell us a little bit about you. So I am from Washington DC and I have, uh, just launched a companies. I have a child on the way, uh, a two year old. And, uh, so you know, my, my life is, is sane and yeah, I'm sure everything's normal.
[00:03:28] Just let you on a little secret. It doesn't get less calm. Like all of us, you don't wake up and then you're like, Oh, now the twos are over. It's so much calmer. Now. Like I remember the people would tell us like the terrible twos. I'm like, it's like the terrible three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10.
[00:03:44] We've experienced all the way up to 12. We'll let you know how 13 hours. I feel like once they hit about 10, they started to kind of balance out. But well, for girls, our son, I don't know what to expect. It's a little more, yeah, I don't I'm with you guys. I mean, my, my child the other day was. Pissed. And so she decided to lay down flat on her back in the middle of the parking lot.
[00:04:07] Well, I guess you win. That's fantastic. Funny. I have this story that I told once that, or just told a few times, but our daughter was like the queen of temper tantrums and she was like, Beyond the temper tantrum phase. She was probably like four. Yeah, because I was pregnant. So she's probably like four and we're in the middle of target and she just wasn't getting her way and she was hungry and she was over tired and out of nowhere, she just threw herself on the floor and she started screaming and it was like really busy.
[00:04:33] It was like the holiday season. And I just stood there thinking, well, I have two ways I could go about this. I can get like really angry and make a scene. And someone calls like, you know, social services or. I can like play your game. And I just threw myself on the floor and was just screaming. I was like, fine.
[00:04:49] And I like pretended to cry and she just stood up and looked at me. It like dead face and was like, Oh, and I was like, are we done? And she was like, yeah. And I was like, okay. And we just, and there, everyone around us was like, giggling. And I was like, I don't know another way to handle this. I'm going to lose my mind in the middle of the store.
[00:05:07] That may be one of the best stories I've ever heard. I probably, I probably would have taken to a. And dragged her by her ankles around the store with me and said, Oh, do you need a new pillow or that listen for the record. I've also done that. Like, I'm no Saint here. I've just, it was a spur of the moment idea.
[00:05:27] And I just said, I'm going to throw myself on the ground and I'm going to play her game. And it worked. I've done it a couple other times since then, like where I just start yelling when they're yelling and they kind of look at you, like, just do the same thing, just do the same thing that you're doing.
[00:05:41] You hear it and they look, they look at you and say, tell me, that's not what I look like. That's exactly. I should do it to adults. I feel like I do it. Some do need it. Yeah. So you know, so you're a busy guy with two kids. Did you, are you. You live in DC. Now, if you always lived in DC, I've, I've lived in either DC or the DC suburbs, um, for my entire life, um, went to, went to school up by you guys.
[00:06:14] Uh, Holy cross. Okay. Um, Yeah, it's definitely too cold here. I like am the opposite of someone who enjoys new England weather. There's not a piece I say on a weekly basis, you know, maybe we could just move to California. Like we can't up our like just uproot our business and decide to move to California.
[00:06:36] But. It would be fantastic if we could. Yeah. We're also now moving to California. It's tough to argue with 70 and sunny in Southern California all day long. You see Eddie has a bad taste, too many people way too many. I tried to explain that California is very large, but we've, we've bended to California, but we only went to, um, like the LA area, but like, yeah, we went through like, uh, it was dry.
[00:07:00] It was dirty, like, uh, Santa Monica, Santa Monica, like all those places. I don't know. Yeah. We were, we went to Disney land and then we drove up the coast to LA and we stayed in LA for a couple of days, but it was, it was, it was like the driest season they've ever had. And there was, it was 4th of July weekend.
[00:07:20] So it was just coming. Those are typical summer. Cause it's always dry. We could argue this all day. Anyways, Eddie doesn't like California and I could live there forever. You don't sound like a Massachusetts person at all. Yeah, exactly. So tell us a little bit about your story, how you're connected to the disability community.
[00:07:43] Yes. So I had a previous company, um, called fit bound that we were creating short bursts of exercise, two to five minutes in length for classroom teachers. Oh yeah. That they could quickly click on a workout or a video and stream it through their promethium board or, um, their projection and the kids could get up fall onto the video and then go back to doing what they're doing, right.
[00:08:12] And help to combat sedentary behavior, um, helped to keeps kids moving throughout the day. It stimulates the brain and helps in education. Um, And while I was in the classrooms, kind of just doing my own research about what works, what doesn't, um, I kept finding that, you know, give or take 30% of the kids weren't doing it.
[00:08:35] Weren't participating. And look, it could have been. The video sucks. And then, um, and that was certainly some, some didn't want to participate in no matter what it was. And, you know, sometimes the teacher would just kind of say, do what you can. And I kept thinking to myself, well, do what you can. It's kind of a, just a big F-you.
[00:08:57] And so I dove a little deeper and started asking teachers, you know, what is what's, what's your thought process here? Why. Are the kids not doing it. And you know, on a consistent basis, special education was one of the things that kept coming up and you know, well, not everyone can do it. Not everyone can process it and not everyone can do at the same time.
[00:09:21] The speed. And I kept, you know, I left thinking to myself, well, it's not the teacher problem or fault there. What they're doing is. Trying to, I was trying to make their life simpler. Right. It was my problem. It was my fault. I was creating content or facilitating content for 80% of the student population.
[00:09:47] Right. And so I decided I just went home and I started. Searching for, and this is about two and a half years ago. So a decent amount of time, um, and certainly pre COVID. Right. So, um, I just started searching inclusive exercise, accessible fitness, and I just found nothing. No, I, I, I should take that back. I found some things.
[00:10:13] I found three videos on YouTube of grandparents. With a singular video with a monotone voice in the background saying, now you can move left. Right. And I just thought to myself, this is crazy. There's nothing out there. That's of really high quality workouts, but also high quality content and production value.
[00:10:39] And. As fate would have it around that time. Someone contacted me to buy or to buy the company and that kind of video list. And I took him up on it. And I had in between that gap, I had already reached out to the Lake shore foundation in Birmingham and Nick pad and there the inclusion, um, They're in government entity, Nick, Pat him, and had pitched them the idea to create 15 inclusive videos for the classroom.
[00:11:13] And, and they took me up on it. Uh, and so we created those. They're still up on my Fitbit website. Um, And they're free for teachers. I sold the rest of them because that wasn't ready yet. Part of the, part of the sale was that wasn't, that wasn't ever going to be part of it. Um, because I had, that was my next.
[00:11:34] My next idea. And so that went up and I thought to myself, well, why can't there be a dedicated platform for accessible fitness, inclusive fitness? Um, that is, is focused first on accessibility, but doesn't lose the quality value. And, and not just that, but building a platform that wraps community around a common theme in our look by famous fitness.
[00:12:06] Yeah. Well, that's a key, cause I feel like there are other platforms out there, or you can go on YouTube and watch a video here and there, but none of it's connected. Exactly. So you're, you're, you know, you're picking one off here and there, but you're still isolated. You're still on your own. Um, you know, and what you're talking about with your, with your, your group, right?
[00:12:27] You're you're hammering messages back and forth. You're you're, you're sh shared experiences you want to living with each other, which makes look the process. The idea is so much more powerful and just, you feel more of a part of a community. And so it took, I had, I had assembled 10 companies. To film on demand videos.
[00:12:53] Okay. And then COVID hit, um, and obviously the, the, the film shoot got scrubbed and I was kind of back at the starting point, um, trying to figure out, okay, well, how, how, what do we do? Uh, I've got this amazing idea that no one has told me. It's it's stupid yet. You know, I've, I've talked to countless, non-profits countless.
[00:13:20] Uh, yeah. And everyone must have been so like ready to jump on board because it's just such a concept that isn't out there right now. And this community gets so for lack of a better word, marginalized, where it's just like, well, they wouldn't be interested or they couldn't do it or anything like that.
[00:13:37] Yeah. And it was, you know, I just, I knew I had something cause no one had told me I was an idiot. And so usually someone's always going to tell you you're never going to work. Right. Um, and, and so I reached out to a friend of mine who is a master trainer at soul cycle, uh, here in DC. And around that time I had, I had signed up for Peloton 90 day free.
[00:14:05] Um, trial. Yep. And I thought to myself, well, why can't we make a Peloton type platform that's accessible? And so I reached out to sunny, who is the master trainers, Sonny Miller, and for my money, she's the best cycling teacher. On the planet, just the energy and expertise. And I have said, I have a hand cycle, you can put it on the table and use it with your hands or your arms, and you can put it on the ground and, and use it.
[00:14:38] Would you legs, can you help me create exercises and put a cycling class together, similar to Peloton cycling and solidify the soul cycle cycling and similar to every other cycling class on the planet, but we're going to make it accessible. And we just started just ripping things off. And this works, this doesn't and we started a beta class in June.
[00:15:02] Oh my goodness. I didn't realize it was that like recent. We launched in October. We're about a month and a half old. Wow. That's awesome. Yeah. Yeah. Although that, like putting the research into it too, I mean, that's the, I love hearing that, like it's, it's more of a. You know, there was a desire you guys are actually like putting a lot of passion to that, to make sure that it's going to be as beneficial as possible.
[00:15:25] That's awesome. Yeah, it was, it was, it was a lot, uh, of good. It was, it was so worth it. Um, but going from being ready to launch and then pivoting really, because we went from on demand to this is called cross cycle, which would be live. And so we completely pivoted, I completely pivoted the whole company.
[00:15:49] Right. And I put out feelers to friends and the people I had previously talked to and put out on Facebook that we're going to run a beta cost. It's free Monday, Wednesdays at noon, we got about 15 people and we just started running these classes. And after every class. I sent him a survey and said, can you fill this out?
[00:16:09] Um, and from, you know, tell me what sucks. Tell me what you like, tell me what needs work. That could be good, but isn't there yet. Um, and I just started accumulating data with Sonny. And at the end of the month, I had my final question. Would you pay for this? And to, uh, I mean, everyone said yes. Um, of those 15 members, I think 12 are now paying members or of the 15 beta class individuals, 12 are now members.
[00:16:44] Um, so they're stuck with it. Well, there's no, I feel like, especially in this community, like, I mean, even with us, I mean, our son is only eight, but we're almost nine, but they, the. What's the word, like the ability to access things like physical therapy, occupational therapy is so minimal, even for him having those resources, having those resources there, especially during COVID.
[00:17:10] Yeah. And it's, and it's more needed than ever. And that little bit of it is, I mean, honestly it is statistically proven. Like if you have some sort of, especially like a physical disability or anything, your chances of, you know, being in a higher weight class B having heart issues, all of these medical issues that come along with it.
[00:17:30] Being more, less active, you know? So being able to add to this, and if you can do it, if there's a membership included, like there are a lot of people that would be willing to jump into that because what are the alternate? There's nothing as an alternative. It's not like they're doing 14 different memberships.
[00:17:50] The other community, like this is the membership they would jump into. There's not a bunch of others going on. Yeah, no, it's, it's, it's a, it's a community that is not usually marketed to communities of individuals. Disabilities are usually the ones. Well, we're going to do this. And then here's the accessible side.
[00:18:16] Yes. And it's like a minimal amount of accessibility. It's not at Kate. It's not helping everyone. It's helping. Yeah. And so I wanted to flip that on his head. I want to say, well, we're accessible first. And then here's what we're going to do on the other side. Um, and, and the community for me was the biggest thing to get.
[00:18:34] Right. Because while starting during COVID there, I mean, You can't go anywhere or you couldn't go anywhere. Um, and what we did was we, we decided in the beta class that it was important to, to not only work out, but then connect. And so I was, I mean, shoot, I was walking, I think it was one of, uh, at a point in time where I was just.
[00:19:02] My daughter, Addie was having a tantrum in the middle of a parking lot. I was just thinking I was off daydreaming about what we could make, how to make it better and ignoring her nonsense. And I CA you know, we started, I started thinking about. What do people do live, right? And so, and this is, I mean, we, no one else is doing this in the world.
[00:19:24] And so what we do before our classes is all of our instructors get on 10 minutes early and we call it a virtual locker room. And whoever's taking that live class to that day. Or that hour has the option of jumping on 10 minutes early and hanging out. Oh, wow. And so what we do is we just have a conversation.
[00:19:44] I mean, it could be a stupid is what kind of, what your Thanksgiving favorite Thanksgiving side is, or as complex as, Hey, I couldn't do that exercise yesterday or earlier this afternoon or whatever it is. Can you show me an adaption, a variation that I can do personally? Wow. Well, what a better time.
[00:20:02] There's not a better time for something like that. Especially adding in that little element because. Yes. Most of America right now, or some of America right now are still quarantined. I mean, I know that up here in new England, like we're, we're, we're actually ramping back up, you know, where we are, so, you know, we're getting corny and then you add on, if you're in this community, a lot of people have a lot of complex medical needs.
[00:20:27] They're quarantining even more just to keep themselves safe and. I mean, we've said it multiple times. I keep saying, I don't know what kind of impact this is going to have on like the youth in 10, 15 years, but I'm kind of scared to see because it's one thing to have a couple months of seclusion. It's another thing to have a year or more of, not just even just wearing a mask.
[00:20:50] Adds an element of anxiety adds an element of lots of different things, not seeing people's facial expressions and to be able to offer something where you can see someone's facial expressions, we can connect and you can have conversations like real conversations. And you're getting this exercise in is so huge for this.
[00:21:09] It's so huge for the community in general, anybody, but especially this community, like it's, it's so important. Yeah, and you don't have to, you don't have to go in with, you know, the pre-made we'll have to do it this way. And you know, it's, like-minded people everyone's there to do. Um, Their own work and work out, but at the same time, everyone's there to help, help how they wish or how they would want to be helped.
[00:21:41] Right. And so we, we look at it as it's like-minded souls, you know, just binding together and it's been, it's been amazing. I mean, we've got, we've got people who are texting and emailing each other. They've never met, you know, one's in Michigan, one's in Maryland and one's in Florida and. They're friends.
[00:22:02] Yeah. Only time previously they had met was our 10 minutes prior to working out and that accumulates over a period of time. And, and, you know, you get to know somebody and, and from the Kicanas side, it just creates such a intense. Connection because it's more than fitness and it re I mean, and so that allows people to work out harder.
[00:22:35] Right? You don't feel like you're being judged and it allows people to work out more. You can do multiple classes in a day or multiple classes in a week because you don't have to worry about, you know, is there a step to the gym? Does the Palatine class, uh, even think about, uh, someone who's in a wheelchair, right?
[00:23:01] Uh, is, uh, do I have to risk wearing, um, uh, or not people not wearing a mask or, you know, what's going on in my, in my. Area. I mean, there's just so much that goes into it right now. Well, I think the key thing that you, you said that really strikes home to me, I mean, I know even for me, um, just in general, like going to the gym, all you think about is, Oh, there's all these people here that are like gym rats, quote unquote.
[00:23:29] And they, you know, I feel like they're watching me and how I work out and am I doing something wrong? And when you're in a platform like this, It's yes, you're connected with other people, but no, one's looking at what someone else is doing. You're focused on you. You're focused on the instructor, but you're still also part of this community in the same way.
[00:23:46] And you know, what a great community to connect when it probably is a little daunting to think, like if I go to a gym, what kind of obstacles are there going to be? Is someone going to judge how I do something differently? Is someone going to be there to help me do something in a different way and understand my needs?
[00:24:04] You know, whereas this someone's there to help they're there walking in the door, understanding your needs. Yeah. I mean, it's, it's very much, you allow people to be themselves without having to, you know, put an asterisk by their name, which, uh, you know, it's, I think people get that in all, all sorts of ways and be it fashion or be it.
[00:24:31] You know, sports or fitness for us, right? It becomes the connectivity comes about sharing experiences for one and being around like-minded people too. And that, and that creates a comfort level that allows you to flourish. Right? And at that point, then it's, you know, you're off and running. You feel great.
[00:24:54] Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think that that's key. Like you said, like there's so many times where I feel like in the disability community, like, Oh, there's an asterisk by her name because you had it at an adaptive way or something. But the reality is like, I always liken it to like the Paralympics, like the para Olympics is, should definitely get as much if not more.
[00:25:15] Awareness recognition, TV time as the Olympics. If you consider what some of these athletes are doing, it's insane. What they're able to do. It's more than I can imagine. Some of the, you know, athletes in the regular Olympics or the Olympics could do. And it's, I feel like the fact that we're saying, Oh, well, it's adaptive.
[00:25:36] Like, I remember there's a couple people that went from Paralympics to the Olympics and everyone was saying, Oh, well, they have, yeah, they have a one on I'm. Like they don't have a one up. Are you out of your mind? They're not getting any extra. If anything, they've had to work three times as hard. And they're they're right next to you.
[00:25:55] That's huge. Like if the Astros should be on the other person. Yeah. I mean, you made it to the Olympics. And you are an elite athlete. I mean, we've got, we've got to pair up. Um, Powerlifters. Wow. As instructors and they are beasts. I mean, there we do. The cross cycle class is a mixture between cycling and strength work.
[00:26:29] So, you know, you can do hand cycling, then you jump off and do. Small weight. And then you go back to the cycling and I use two and a half pounders, which cause it's, it's just high rapping and low weight and have to, excuse me, you can use two and a half it's. Okay. Blaze is the, uh, is one of the instructors.
[00:26:51] And he's using two and a half pounds and it, I constantly watch and he makes it look like a feathers in his hand. And you're like, Ugh, crap. Like he just, he's just flying up and down the weights, the weights look like peanuts and I'm sitting there like arms dropped to my shoulders. So, you know, as an Olympian, as an Olympian, and if you're an elite, if you're an elite class, is those.
[00:27:19] Athletes then. I mean, they've put the work in. Yeah. It's, you know, be it para however you want to classify it. They're all athletes. I mean, they're elite elite athletes and they've dedicated their life to something. Yeah, this isn't like they just jumped in and settled in to try this thing, this thing I'm going to play soccer today.
[00:27:38] Like it's, this is something they've dedicated their life to. And they spend all of their time focused in training and it's not something I have that kind of like mindset or dedication for, so they get extra credit first doing that. And by the way, you still have to be good. Exactly. You have to have some sort of talent, like in your little finger to make it happen.
[00:27:57] Exactly. So the, um, so tell us, you know, a little bit about like the exercise classes themselves. How do those work? I mean, you told us a little bit, but like what types of exercise classes do you offer? Yeah. So we, we started to be honest with this cross cycle class and, and it's our signature class wheat.
[00:28:19] We, we built it out of the ma the boutique fitness model, what everyone in terms was thinking about in terms of cycling. And we built ours around the hand cycle. And, and so that's the main class, and it's a mixture between cardio and strength. And it's you use a hand cycle. You use weights, um, and you don't even need weights.
[00:28:44] I mean, you can use body weight to be honest. Um, and, and it's, you know, to music and you're, you're bouncing around and you're enjoying it. And, and so that's, that's the main, that's the signature class. And then from there we wanted to build a fuller platform around it. So. We added a strength class on its own, uh, with small weights.
[00:29:07] Eventually I'd like to add a resistance band class. Oh, that'd be awesome. Yeah. And then we added. Adapted yoga meditation. Um, coming in January, we're bringing in, uh, an instructor from London or from Northern England, um, to do cardio boxing. Oh, very cool. Yeah, that'd be awesome. She's she's she's dynamic. Um, and then as well as we're adding two more strength classes with an instructor, um, out of New Hampshire, uh, and so that'll build out the classes for probably the next six months, I'd say, um, And then eventually, you know, look, I think you could look at something like Zumba, something in the Pilates range.
[00:29:59] I know. Like, have you ever considered, like I noticed like super popular and I'm like rowing like a row machine like that. I know it's a very popular, uh, you know what the idea, the idea initially. So my cross site goal, everybody has a whole rack of different stuff. My cross cycle costs twenty-five dollars.
[00:30:15] Wow. And then, you know, I found the waves in my. In the back of my house. Um, I was, we tried to create classes that were low, uh, low entry entry level. Right. So it didn't cost a lot. Um, we even told people in our beta class, if you wanted to come in and try it, use a towel. Yeah. I was going to say, and you don't even like the hands, like, like goes on like a table.
[00:30:41] The price point must not be too, too high. No. I mean, yeah, you can get the cheap ones for 25 $30 and you can get, look, there are really nice ones that some of our instructors have. Um, and some of our members have that are two, three, $400. Um, and those are, those are fantastic. Right? Um, But start small, right?
[00:31:07] Like it then jumped to a higher level. Um, and that was the, that was the hope was can we, can we get people in without themselves fearing by, by all this, that it's a waste and I don't like it, you know, here, test it out, see if you like it, see if you like the community. And then if you do great, if you don't.
[00:31:29] No problem either way. You're also targeting to a community that, you know, the reality is, you know, medical costs or higher for, you know, this community. Everything's just a little bit more strained sometimes when it comes to the financial burden. So if there's something that has a lower end investment, but is getting a high, you know, what's the word like, you know, Hi.
[00:31:51] Hi, exactly. A high return is so important to getting people, to, you know, be a part of it and to jump in because there's not that concern of, Oh, I don't know if I can afford this investment. And then what. What happens when I, you know, invest and then I can't do it because I have medical issues or whatever.
[00:32:09] And they'll, you know, six months down the line I've taken a month and a half break. Am I wasting my money? It's just like, this is like, you can jump in. The investment is low. It sounds like you have some classes that don't even need equipment really as much. So there's that. And, you know, as well, which definitely seems awful.
[00:32:25] I mean, even in our world all the time, I think like how can we be a part of something. For our son that isn't going to break our bank. If he's over it in a year, or it's not going to work for him in a year. Right. Well, it seems like it's, uh, a lot of different levels of therapy when you, I mean, you, you take and consider the 10 minutes, uh, before each class.
[00:32:45] So you do have like the intellectual, uh, conversations that you can have with people, especially in today's. Time. Yeah. So I don't really talk to me about it, but it will be over. Eventually we say it in every episode, we say, we're not going to keep talking about this, and then we talk about it. But I mean, and that's, that's awesome that, that you have that.
[00:33:08] And then the, the levels of physical therapy where. That's what is missing from, you know, that you're filling a huge void that's what's missing. You don't have the ability to go to a gym where they can have these workouts catered to you, nor can you have a, you know, um, what do you call those guys? A personal trainer, personal trainer.
[00:33:28] Um, who's going to create a whole regimen based around, you know, your, your abilities, you know, your personal abilities as you can do, because they were like, I don't know. I'm not. Well, that's a, that's actually a perfect point. Like I have chronic pain issues and I used to be a part of a gym membership and I used to go all the time and had a trainer.
[00:33:46] And so it was just like, it doesn't work. And we would, I would explain to that trainer, like, I can't do like a 30 minute aggressive, you know, training and then like, I'm going to be passed out in the bathroom by the end of this. Like, it's just not going to work for me. And they would be like, well, this is what we do.
[00:34:03] And I'm like, well, Okay. You're the trainer. So you have to push yourself and I'm like, I need to not be, I need to not be pushing myself. Like I need to be able to walk tomorrow so I can come back here. And so I can't tell you how many times I've even said to Eddie, like, especially before the pandemic and once it started, I was like, I just wish I could find something that.
[00:34:23] Would work around my chronic pain. And there was like two trainers that I sat and had like zoom calls with and I slipped, this is what I need. And then the cost was like insane, you know, it's hundreds and hundreds of dollars. And, um, for like three sessions, four sessions, and I'm like, that's. It doesn't work, especially when they're like, I might be able to work around your needs, but this is how I do my training.
[00:34:43] And I'm like, okay, well that doesn't work for me. Like I actually want to be stronger and I want to feel good, but not at the expense of losing a whole day of pain. Yeah, not at the expense of having to crawl to the sink during the next morning. Exactly. So now are your exercise classes? I know they're clearly very inclusive to the disability community.
[00:35:10] Are they inclusive to people without disabilities as well? Are you kind of mixing. All of your classes together. How's that work? Yeah. No, it's, it's open, you know, you know, it's individuals with and without disabilities. And the reason I say with first is what we talked about before. Right. It's accessible first, but I'm an individual without a disability and I'll do cross.
[00:35:32] I go three days a week. I love it. Awesome. It doesn't mean I won't go out and run or do something that I like as well, but I liked, I liked the cross cycle class and, um, Once we build out, I have a feeling I'll be doing strength classes when the times, the times just don't match building a bit, but it works for other people, which is great.
[00:35:56] Fine. Um, but yeah, it's, it's open. I mean, even our instructors, I mean, we have our instructors six right now, six or seven are instructors with disabilities. Um, And one is without. And the goal, the two new ones we're bringing on one is an individual with a disability. One is individual doubt. And so we're bringing that's what, seven of nine.
[00:36:20] And the goal would be to have at least 75 or 75, 25 ratio. So that's nice individuals with disabilities or training. Individuals with and without, and individuals without disabilities and training with and without, and you're not saying, well, this group goes here. This group goes here. All right, you're all going right here.
[00:36:39] And you're going to get punished and you're gonna enjoy it. And you know, it's going to be intense. And we'll get something out of it. Yeah. Um, that's a big misconception. Like if you're adapting something to somebody with a disability or a need. Then it's less difficult or it's, you're getting less out of it mean it's, it's not true, not true.
[00:37:06] I, I, one of my pet peeves is this, you know, putting kid gloves on somebody, uh, or tapping them on the head and saying, just do what you can. I, I, I fucking hate it helping anybody, you know, as a whole, like, I mean, we, our son does CrossFit. Um, through our disability resource, uh, group out here and it's, uh, it's a kid's CrossFit.
[00:37:31] It's like, you know, but everybody in the group has a different need. And, um, I watch it and I think I can't do half of these things that they're pushing him to do, and they push him to do it. I mean, they're not taking excuses and they're, you know, it's amazing. I love it. I'm like, this is the best physical therapy once a week.
[00:37:47] And at the beginning he was whiny. He was like, I don't know. I don't want to do this. This is hard. I can't do it. I can't, I would hear him say I can't do it so many times. And now he, I mean, he hits a kid, does like four rounds of 10 push-ups at eight years old. I'm like, what are you doing? How are you doing that?
[00:38:00] I can't do five pushups. Like, it's so impressive. How every week they've kind of added a little bit more, you know, the editor rural machine, they've added the rope. They've added all these things that. They just kind of push them a little bit more each week because they're watching what he's capable of doing there.
[00:38:17] They're working it around what he's capable of versus saying, this is what we have. Yeah. And, you know, you could do as much, like you said, do as much as you can. It's just, it's such an easy, especially nowadays, I feel like we live in a world with kids with needs and not needs, but we live in a world where the rhetoric is.
[00:38:36] You know, if it's hard, don't worry. Instead of like, I feel like when I grew up, it was like too bad. Yeah. You got to push through that. You think this is tough. Wait till you get older, like, that's always been a thing I'm like, Oh yeah, like you got to keep going, keep going. It's hard to pass that on now, but he's getting there, you know, he's, he's, Eddie's really.
[00:38:57] Uh, like tenacious. And so I remember when, like, when he first started doing like pushups and stuff, I'm, I'm like a big critic. So I'll be like, straighten your back out that doesn't count and like prison and be like, no, he did like 20. And I was like, no, no, no, he hasn't even done one. You haven't even done one.
[00:39:10] And so we have different parenting styles. I'm very like, it's okay, honey. I say all this, but really I will let him do it. And I'm just like, no, you gotta beat everybody else to make sure that you are. And that's, that's my big thing. Like for him, like, cause he's the little guy he's, you know, he is looked at a little differently sometimes and I'm like, you have to be the best in so much.
[00:39:35] So just to be considered equal sometimes I was like, but don't be discouraged. Just know that that's. That's that that's kind of, what, if you want to be proud of yourself, that's what you have to, it's tough being the little guy. Yeah. Cause that's like what I've had to do. You always have to be like the best and don't get mad that you had to be the best by a lot in order to be seen as an equal.
[00:39:57] It's like, that's just the thing, but just know in your heart, you're the, you're the best. So yeah. Yeah, you guys sound like me and my wife, I'm constantly saying that she, she can't even run to the door and back what's what's her problem right now? Well, she's two, I don't care. She's two or 22. We're going to make excuses when she was 22.
[00:40:18] Yes. Yes, we will. That's exactly. 100%. We will make excuses until they're 52. That's what parents that's what mommy's do we have the same dynamic here? Yeah. I think it's, it's, it's pretty typical and I'm okay with it. Well, because I'll catch her doing that. I'd be like, why are you, why are you doing that for him?
[00:40:38] Well, because he needs some help. Yeah. Doesn't need any help anymore. But I'm learning. What was the, Oh, can you give me something to drink? What do you note? Getting yourself? Get it set up. I gave him a lot of drinks. He did just have like back surgery and I'm like, he just had his spine ripped open.
[00:40:58] Basically. He had his whole spine worked on it, stitched it back up. He asked for a drink. I'm getting it. Yeah, exactly. So tell us a little bit, how do your memberships work? So it's monthly. Um, you know, we're 1499 a month. And the idea was it's 49 a month for anyone unlimited classes. Yeah. Wow. That's amazing.
[00:41:25] That is amazing. I'm joining tomorrow. We have members that are taking. Four five, six a week. Wow. They're basically paying 75 cents for per class. Um, and the idea was it was on purpose. Look, I was fully aware of what was going on. Um, not only during COVID, but also with communities of indigenous individuals disabilities in terms of, I wanted to be, uh, I wanted to it to be a compliment.
[00:41:57] To every other great outlet out there. So pre COVID it was why can't, we we'd be a compliment to the nonprofits that are doing in-person programming because in reality, most nonprofits, most, most in-person programming is once a week, twice a week. Well, what do you do between Monday and Monday, or what do you do between Wednesday and Wednesday?
[00:42:22] And can we supplement. You know, going and playing soccer or rock climbing or skiing in Colorado, wherever you are. Right. Um, with not losing that fitness level. And moving, moving the needle consistently. And, and then obviously once COVID hit, everyone went online, um, which is a funny story as well. I've another time.
[00:42:52] So many non-profits. So many nonprofits told me that, uh, nobody in their communities, whatever, go online and do whatever stream workouts and couldn't and wouldn't and block any of the amount of excuses now. Oh, just like, I feel like there's so many employers that are like, this model won't work. So you can't work from home and now everybody's working.
[00:43:14] What, at some point in time, I'm going to come back and watch my finger out. I'm like, Oh, you were saying, um, But yeah, we want it to be a compliment to all of what was out there. Um, so the, you know, it was on purpose. We didn't, they didn't want to be $40. So someone had to choose between Kokona. And adapted soccer or are you more skiing, um, program or your, uh, rock climbing programming?
[00:43:46] It doesn't make sense. Right. Um, so that, that was the idea behind it takes away from those, like I know, like for us, like, you know, even like Eddie's CrossFit is only like six weeks and then they've got to kind of find the money to make that happen again. If it happens again that season or that year, you know, um, or some of these things like sled hockey that he does or they're just seasons.
[00:44:11] Yeah. So it's something to do in between all of that stuff to kind of keep it going and keep yourself strong and active and just in social, in a way, you know, like you said, like it's just, I think it's a fantastic opportunity. And you know, like you mentioned, like the price point. Is perfect for this community in the fact that they don't always have to have a specific piece of equipment.
[00:44:38] Like, I feel like if you're part of Peloton, like yes, you can take Peloton classes without the equipment, but it's really geared to buying that bike or buying that mirror or whatever, you know, that's their end game. Yeah, which isn't bad either. I mean, it's a great model and it works, but I think it's geared towards a different type of the different part of the community than where the need is in this area.
[00:45:01] Yeah, I agree. And the, and you know what we're doing as well as we're trying to build out from that and you know, what, what else does the community want? Right. So we're going to run round table events and, and we've got our first one that'll come up in February. It's going to be on COVID isolation. Um, How to facilitate and enhance wellness during COVID, you know, and during the isolation of COVID for individuals with and without disabilities.
[00:45:32] And so we've got, uh, a crazy good, um, experienced panel. That's going to give advice and tips and tricks and stuff that is physical. That's psychological that's, um, you know, wellness space. So. Round tables, you know, we could build into fashion, you could build into money, right. How to save and what, where to food.
[00:45:58] I feel like food would be a, like, is huge. Like, you know, nutrition is huge right now. That's been, it'll be the next one. It'll probably be the second. The second one we do. Um, but. These, you can do it because you have a good membership that wants to learn and wants to be a part of it. You can offer things and we can ask them.
[00:46:20] I'm really look I ask them what their interests are on a daily basis. What do you want, what do you think? I think you're going to get that feedback. Like you said that 10 minutes before class. Without even realizing it. We're probably getting some feedback. It's not unintentionally, you know what I mean?
[00:46:37] So I think that's fantastic. Um, so question, what we're looking for is obviously geared towards our eight year old son. Most of the time, is this something you'd consider? I know you've worked with children, you've worked with students. Is that something you've considered kind of modeling for children as well in the community?
[00:46:56] Right now, I would say it really depends on the kid. Um, I would say a kid that's 14. Look, if I were 14, I could do what we're doing. I was bouncing off the walls. I was active. I needed to be doing something every minute of the day. Um, and so I think a 14 year old could do it. Maybe half, maybe 10%. I mean, it just depends.
[00:47:24] And then, uh, I'd say 18 and up. No problem. Then eventually I think there's definitely room to bring it to a, uh, a youth level and say, okay, this is how we're going to run it. Um, the other thing I would want to do though, is have. And this is why I haven't done it yet is because I want representation. I want the participants to see themselves in the instructors.
[00:47:55] A fantastic idea. So where do you balance the kid instructor type? How old, how young you may almost have to have like a. Parent a parent and child class or something where you're both in it together. And the instructors are both a parent and a kid or something like that. Yeah. And so I do, I mean, it's on my mind.
[00:48:16] Um, just how to structure it is a little more tricky, right? Well, I play a great child, tells me all the time. So if you guys need somebody's child's right here. So, you know, I think for lack of a better word like this, I probably say it a million times. I probably said it, but it is just an amazing concept that.
[00:48:43] Has been brought to the community that, that just wasn't out there. It's I love when we get to bring resources to the community that are new, exciting creative it's. So often I feel like that our community is just hearing the same stuff over and over as far as resources, and they're going to work for this much of the community, you know, and I love when there is a resource out there that will work for it.
[00:49:05] Everybody, no matter your ability, no matter, you know, whatever it is, your needs are, there's a resource that will work for you. Right. And. Any chance we can get to bring that to our community is like so exciting for me because that's the stuff we're looking for too. Like our, you know, for Eddie it's, his needs are so different than most kids with his disability, with most kids in our community, you know, he, he is running, he's walking, but at the same time, it's limited and he has more needs.
[00:49:34] And you know, he's using a wheelchair, part-time he, there's just all these different variables where a somewhat, a lot of times people think like either you use a wheelchair full time, Or you have, you know, a different types of type of special needs or disabilities like autism or something. Well, and he's not really in that little bubble.
[00:49:53] He's kind of just different. And so it's really awesome. And I, you know, we have friends in this community with the same disability that are older and adults, and I'm always watching and just kind of got my ear to the ground to see what they're doing and what resources they're taking advantage of. And then I'm kind of trying to grab them when we can, you know, and so I think it's really awesome that this is out there.
[00:50:13] You've done a great job and. It's always exciting for us to speak to somebody in this community who isn't from this quote unquote, from this community, you know, we meet someone who's like, this is something I thought would be really interesting and they jump in full force. I'm always like for us, we get into this because we have something.
[00:50:31] Like pulling us, pulling us into it, you know, like we we've got some skin in the game, but when someone's just like, I just thought this needed to come to the community and I'm in, I'm like, that's the best. That's like St. Quality right there. I mean, we need advocates, you know what I mean? Like we need advocates that don't come from this community.
[00:50:46] Cause I feel like it's hard. More. Yeah, I look, I, it was, I had, uh, I had one conversation that completely. Chains. My, not my cheese. My thinking just sold me on where I was going with it. I had a friend who. We're supposed to have 30 minute coffee, and this is a ways back. It was lasted two hours and I walked away thinking I've got something and I know it.
[00:51:12] And you know, you, you w you know, you look back and you knew that was something that changed you in terms of whether it's business idea, you know, gut feeling the whole process. But, um, I mean, look, I am not an, a. Empathetic, uh, you know, you know, Hey, soft and cuddly and yeah, that's just not me and I, I'm very non apologetic.
[00:51:37] I, I come in and I'm, Hey, we're gonna bust this thing open and we're going to do X, Y, and Z, but I was nervous to understand, not to make a mistake. Right. And every person you talk to. Inside communities of individual disabilities are outside or who have a disability or don't, if they're just being authentic with you and, and, you know, given, just tell, talking to you, they don't care.
[00:52:08] No, it's no different than, you know, pushing for. Whatever sports. They want people who, what I realized is I don't have to have a disability to try to make a difference. Yeah. It's okay. And, and as I feel now, very comfortable having conversations about what we're doing, knowing that I wasn't an individual with a disability.
[00:52:35] Um, But I could see if he talked to the wrong people early on, and we were discussing this, you know, prior to sh to talking, it's just sometimes, you know, the wrong people can make, can make it really uncomfortable when you're starting out. Yeah. Yeah. And I was lucky enough not to, to be, uh, to be involved with that, uh, with those types, but.
[00:53:01] Um, it's been, I've been, it's been an open arms and very welcoming. Well, I think, you know, a big thing is, or a big, I shouldn't say misconception, but it is kind of a misconception is that, and I think we've, we are even learning this as, you know, even for us, like the start of this podcast was really a concept and the idea was we thought we were going to be speaking to mostly parents.
[00:53:24] Because that's our that's who we are. Right. So we just said, Oh, we'll talk to parents. And, and then as it kind of grew, and we were getting more people that wanted to be on the show and, and more contacts, it ended up being a lot of individuals with disabilities who were adults in this community. And we, I think those were our most nervous episodes because, you know, we're very, you know, it even says on our website, We are uncensored.
[00:53:48] It is, you know, I don't, we don't check our political correctness at the door and obviously we're sent, you know, we're not being rude and we're not going to the extreme, but at the same time, like this is our, this is our world and our reality. And when I'm talking about our life with little Eddie, like I'm, I can't be extra politically correct about it because it's not how we are in life in here in this house.
[00:54:12] I mean, I'm obviously not going to be. Rude or disrespectful to somebody, but is it is what we're in. And I've learned that over time and the more people we speak to in this community, it's very obvious that they're not looking for you to walk around them or talk around things. And it's just, you know, they aren't different than me.
[00:54:35] And, you know, like there are people who are more sensitive. There are people who are not. Right. You just have to know who you're talking to and who your target audience is. And that's, what's going to be the most important. Yeah. You're going to connect. If you're going to connect, you're going to connect like that's I think the most important thing, and the fact that you are real, you're real and you're honest and it's it's right there is, is what's going to get people to connect to you in the, in the company and in the mind, I think that's, what's definitely the most important thing.
[00:55:04] Yeah, preach. So before we wrap up, we ask all of our guests, if they had a moment to speak to our community, what kind of advice would they want to give them? I would say don't take shit from anybody. I mean, don't do not allow anyone to tell you you can't perfect. You know, it's, you all eat the, what we are always saying is we want to blow up in the fitness industry.
[00:55:35] So blow open, whatever you're about to enter. And we had a, um, a post on Instagram, uh, today. And, uh, a member of our sent us a message and it was, my shoulders are wide, but it's taken me across the world, playing basketball. My hips are bigger than my calves, but it helps me get it to, um, things that I cannot reach my foot turns a little bit in because.
[00:56:05] That's the way it is. Uh, but I'm a bad-ass and I mean, it was, I immediately took it and posted it. Yeah. Just start a whole campaign on that, but that's exactly it. Right. It's do not apologize. For one damn thing, go out there and take what's yours and, and enjoy doing it. Um, that's what that's, that would be my advice.
[00:56:31] Um, and it would be the same advice that I have for my daughter, for your kids, and really it's the same advice, you know? It's and that's the thing that I try to get out is I don't want advice that would specifically be for. Individuals disabilities because then it's, you're trying to parse again. It's for me, it's like you own it and take it.
[00:56:55] Yeah. That's, that's where I would. That's amazing advice, especially if it's, like I said, it's honest advice. You're, you know, it's, it is what it is. It's on the table. And if in general, like Eddie had said like, you know, in general, if you're just like, kind of. Work, you know, talking around a subject or, or, or even just not being your authentic self, you're not getting anywhere.
[00:57:19] The most successful people in life are the ones that aren't making excuses for themselves. They're just going to be who they are. And sometimes they're a Dick and sometimes they're not. And they're just, you know, like I just think like that those are the most successful people in life. You never hear a successful person and you ask them.
[00:57:34] You know, how'd you get here and they're like, you know, I just waited till the right time or they definitely they'll like people have straight out said, like, I didn't apologize. I just pushed my way through. And sometimes I made some enemies and that's okay. So tell us, what are you guys working on? Like what are you working on?
[00:57:55] I know you mentioned it a little bit. Um, as far as kind of branching out and building out the classes, anything else you guys are working on? It's tough right now with, yeah, no, but it's your look, it's content development. It's, it's building our membership. It's getting our name out there. I mean, we're six weeks old, so that's crazy.
[00:58:18] There are 1 million things to work on. Um, but right now it's just creating bad-ass workouts and making sure that everything is, um, running. Smoothly in terms of whether it's the workouts or the tack or whatever it is. Right. But putting, putting a product out there every day, I think is our biggest thing and making sure that the members enjoy it.
[00:58:45] And I mean, the thing I get the most pride at every cent, um, we send a, a class review after every class. And members signed, fill it out. And I think 97, 98% are five out of fives in terms of instructor was a bad-ass instructor was on fire. The class was awesome. Um, well then that shows that you're you guys are in the right direction, for sure.
[00:59:14] Exactly. Fully expected that we have to be too would be forced to have some really uncomfortable conversations with instructors being like, yeah. You kind of suck, right? The criticism speaks for itself. There you go. Just handed it to them either about upping your personality or we're going to have to figure it out something else.
[00:59:38] But none of that, I mean, five out of fives, instructors, just on fire. Um, and so that it's just making sure that that is the consistent and then, you know, building new, new, well, I think that speaks a lot to the, the model you've created and the tone you sat. Of, you know, not only this like high energy, you know, um, world of fitness, but also the compassion and being a part of a community.
[01:00:12] And it's definitely a part of the tone you've set. I mean, I can't and who you're, you're who you're bringing in as instructors. The fact that they're excited to be a part of something definitely is going to make them excited every time they sign on. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, our instructors are the lifeblood of this company.
[01:00:29] I mean, that's, they are amazing. The profiles on their own are just incredible, right? Just let them do what they do well and get out the way, you know, what is that? Uh, Warren Buffett always says, you know, bring in people that are smarter, that are better, that do everything better than you and great. That was the goal with everything I do.
[01:00:54] One because I'm just not that smart, but I doubt that you get people you are just unbelievable and what they're in, in their personality and their profile and let them loose. We will train them in what we wanted out of the class, but then you just, you let the, let the horse out of the barn and just let, let their personality take over.
[01:01:18] And. They have, I mean, it's, I can't speak more highly than I, than I possibly could about them because they're the best. So it's, it's been great. So, what are you, um, where can everyone find you guys? Yeah, so head to one kokona.com and you can jump on and take a look around. We have a seven day free trial, so you can test it out.
[01:01:45] Oh, nice. Yeah, no, we don't take a credit card or anything. You just put, punch your name in and, uh, and then jump around. I mean, we've had so far every single person that has taken a live class. Has become a full member. Oh, that's fantastic. You go on and take a live class and then don't become a member I'm coming after you you'll ruin our a hundred percent, but no, it just shows.
[01:02:12] I mean, that goes back to the instructors, right? You just, you feel a part, but yes, you know, you got a free trial. You test run it. For, for how, how you want there's on demand videos too, that are, um, all of our live classes go to on demand. So you, you could go in and just do the on demand stuff. Oh. So you can do it at your time, whatever works for you.
[01:02:34] Oh, that's huge. Well, I think it's huge too. Like, I mean that you. It like struck me when you said it, but there are so many places that you do, like a free quote unquote free trial. And I think I've said quote, unquote, like six times, but you do a free trial and they take your credit card and you forget to just deactivate it and it automatically views.
[01:02:52] And I'm a firm believer that if, if that's something that's there, there's a reason. Yes. And I'm like, there's a reason cause they know you're not coming back after seven days or 14 days. Whereas this it's like. You are confident that like, if you do one class, you know, you're, they're going to, they're into it.
[01:03:09] We look there's a hundred percent rating. Five minute discussion. Exactly. I had a five minute discussion on this with a friend of mine and. I said, what are the, how does this process play itself out? And he was like, well, you've got accident. You got Y. And if, and, and it was a no-brainer. I was like, well, I w I'm not looking to catch people.
[01:03:32] Like, if our product doesn't work, it's because we suck and, and you have to work on it. Yeah. There's something you've got to fix and it wasn't the right time and it, or it was poorly done or whatever the excuse. I don't want to squeeze $14 out of someone who forgot to cancel. Right the day before. Right.
[01:03:48] It's just not, it's not worth it. And if you look at where the world's going, Apple is starting to go this way already, right there. Now, now you have to opt in most to taking all your information and opting out. So it's, it's just. Look, it makes people a lot more likely to test you, right? Because you don't, you're not sending them all their information.
[01:04:11] And I think it builds trust right off the bat. Anyway, it's like, all right, well, they're not squeezing me for my social secure right off the bat. I feel immediately more comfortable. Awesome. So they can find you out, um, one kokona.com. So it's O N E like the number one. And then it's K a K a N a right. Okay.
[01:04:35] I have a lot of A's. Um, she wrote a Nana
[01:04:44] one could kind of.com and you are on Instagram, Facebook, all of those social medias as well, right? Yeah. All at one could con as well, and try to make it as, uh, Idiot proof as possible for people like myself, you know, you have different handles. It makes it so I know it's so difficult. Perfect. We'll you know, we'll make sure we link everything.
[01:05:04] Remind everyone that there is a free trial free seven day trial. So to take advantage of it, take a look at it. Run some classes and see if it fits for you and your lifestyle. Um, we're super excited to get a live class so that we, uh, yeah, interact. It's a time you need, we need a live. I will, we need live like.
[01:05:26] Communication with people. So now, now when thanks, Matt, we really appreciate you joining us and being on the show. Thank you.
[01:05:38] Well, thank you so much for listening. We really hope you enjoy this episode as always, please make sure you share with a friend and leave a review. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode, on our Facebook or Instagram on, at special about special. Thanks again. And we'll see you soon.
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