In a series entitled “Get to know your Coach”, we present to you the various members of the Quad Squad. You might have seen them on our different social media video clips, heard them speak on our podcast; now you learn a little bit more about what makes them tick.
The next coach to come out from behind the curtain is Manu. Almost all the members of the Squad are trainees that made the switch to coaching and Manu Raghavender is no different. A man of few words (!), he is a coach, a student and a philosopher rolled in one!
Introduce yourself in a few lines
A biotechnology graduate that found his passion in teaching people to enjoy movement. I firmly believe there are no bad students, only bad teachers. My purpose is to help people love themselves. I found love within myself and believe it's on me to help others find love for themselves too. It is a contagious thing, love :) I train so that I can find the strength to do things that help me love myself more and fuel my purpose.
What made you get into fitness, in general and coaching in particular?
I am here now, writing this because back in March 2020, I dared to dream. I dared to imagine myself as being a part of the Quad Squad.
I was never the hardest worker in the room since maybe 2nd grade. I always gave up when things got mildly uncomfortable. I was extremely unhappy with life. I was never strong, I never played sports in school or college. I realised then that nobody was at fault for my predicament but myself. I was in control. I wish I could say that the thought liberated me and everything was smooth sailing from that point. Real work started then. I came across this book in my uncle's garage, a book on bodyweight training. Somehow, consistency found me and I started moving my body. Things felt good, relationships improved. Confidence was high.
I started to think if I can do this, anybody can. I wanted to guide others. I wanted to learn more. I reached out to the Squad in Sep 2021 to find out more about becoming a coach. They asked me to join as an intern but I wanted to be good enough. I chose instead to study for the PT exam. I cleared it in March 2022 and reached out again. Only to hear that they are not hiring. Company wide decision to hire only women and indiviudals that identify as women. I respected that decision wholeheartedly but I was distraught. It was The Quad or bust for me. So, I joined as a trainee. This was in Q2 2022. I treated my first quarter as a trainee, as my internship. I took down notes, stayed back after class to observe. I annoyed the team at Chaos so much that they had to give in. Give in, they did! ;)
What is your favourite part of being a coach at The Quad?
I am empowered to be a better coach daily. I am not coddled but I am given feedback kindly. I am thrown into the deep end and I am allowed to learn from my mistakes.
I like that we don't settle for average. It aligns firmly with how I want to live my life.
Working for The Quad is my dream and wearing the coaching shirt in the morning feels like putting on an armour of responsibility and power. Every single day, I smile because I'm right where I belong! When you love what you do and there is this level of alignment, work does not feel like work.
Who are your favourite fitness gurus? Who do you follow?
- Tim Anderson - He is movement jesus. I can binge watch Tim's content on youtube.
- Geoff Neupert - more than 30 years of coaching, extremely funny imo. Programming god. Looking forward to try out one of his programs once I lift the 32kg bell on both arms !
- Coach Dan John - More than 50 years of lifitng weights, more than 45 years of coaching people from all walks of life. His books and podcast episodes are GOLD. Living legend that has an open gym at his house in Utah that I will definitely visit one day.
- Pavel Tsatsouline - Strongfirst founder without whom we would probably not be using kettlebells.
- Mike Boyle - Pavel Macek
- Ben Bruno - Celebrity fitness trainer that is incredibly funny and knowledgeable. Makes super cool content.
What is your coaching style?
I will use analogies from obscure and mainstream sources that will sit in your mind for eternity. You will never forget them. I like painting a picture of what I want my students to see when they're working.
I am anal about safety and make sure that my students are on the same page about this. No compromises here.
I will make my students feel comfortable with casual humour that loosens them up but prioritise learning, every single day. I make sure they leave with a smile and with nugget(s) of information.
Tell us more about your role at The Quad, beyond coaching.
I interact with my students on a day to day basis, taking into account their struggles and making sure that they feel heard and show up to class. Making sure that their life is benefitted by training with us. I love adding value to people's lives.
I love creating beneficial content that can teach and entertain, this is usually shared on whatsapp groups.
Heavily involved in assisting with student experience, love working with data - because data don't lie!
For anyone interested in becoming a fitness coach themselves, what advice would you give?
Not many professions will remind you on a day to day basis that you're a student for life no matter how much skin in the game you have. You will be humbled by how hard it is and you will be amazed at what people can do. If you are not ready for a level of discomfort, this is not for you. If you have an ego and a big head, shed it before you come in. This job is not about you, it's about the person in front of you. Work always on yourself so it is easier to work with somebody that needs your help and guidance. All so you can understand what it means to become better. The work is necessary.
What do you do in your downtime?
I love creating boring, nutritious meals only I can enjoy. I don't like sharing what I create. I sit without any distractions and marvel at the ingredients in front of me, the places they came from, the effort gone into it from soil to plate. Did I just make eating food sound fancy ? Why yes. Yes I did!
I enjoy coach AA's sunday newsletter. I really do!
I love my small social circle very much and try to spend time with them and tend to these relationships.
I look forward to being bored. Letting my wind wander and enjoying my thoughts and the different tangents it takes me on. Sitting with a book and pen is great too because I end up writing down what I think of, I sometimes jot down my thoughts as they came like torrential rain. It's liberating. (We would have never guessed, Manu!)
I look for opportunities where I can maximise and optimise my routine, health and fitness. I love reading content and articels by my favourite coaches and fitness gurus mentioned above. I like becoming better as a coach and as a person, it's the least I can do for my students and loved ones.
I enjoy moving my body. Be it walks, runs, crawls, rolling on the ground, stretches or mobility. Great destressor. I love naps! 45 mins though. Nothing more nothing less.