Beyond The Prep Podcast

Unlock Your Athletic Potential with Expert Bodybuilding Coaching with Braeden Miller

July 10, 2023 Sherrie Kapach Episode 8
Beyond The Prep Podcast
Unlock Your Athletic Potential with Expert Bodybuilding Coaching with Braeden Miller
Show Notes Transcript

“If you wouldn't ask somebody for their advice, don't listen to their opinion.” —Braeden Miller

Bodybuilding is not just about lifting weights but also about adopting a holistic approach to your fitness journey. That’s why having a coach to help you address your unique goals, analyze your progress, and provide tailored strategies that optimize your training, nutrition, and mindset can really make a difference.  

But coaching is not about telling you what to do, it’s a partnership. By working closely together you will be able to cultivate desirable qualities and unleash your full athletic potential. That’s why, hiring the right coach who cares for you and your success is crucial in laying a solid groundwork for your athletic journey. 

This week, we are joined by Braeden Miller, the founder of Miller Elite. Listen in as Sherrie and Braeden discuss the importance of being selective with who you work with and what a bodybuilder lifestyle looks like. They also share the secret to bouncing back after unexpected events, dealing with criticism from others, desirable attributes of an athlete, opening a gym for yourself plus much more! 

Connect with Sherrie: 





Episode Highlights:

01:20 Transitioning to Bodybuilding

05:15 Hiring a Coach 

14:51 Entrepreneurship Journey

18:46 Challenges and Blessings

25:00 Things to Remember Before Hiring a Coach 

31:57 Desirable Athlete Traits

35:41 Mental Capacity and BodyBuilding

42:58 Opening a Gym  

Sherrie Kapach: Welcome to Beyond The Prep. I'm your host, Sherrie Kapach. With me today, I have Braeden Miller. He's a Coach, owner, Head Coach of Miller Elite Team

Welcome, Braeden.

Braeden Miller: Thank you very much for having me on.

Sherrie Kapach: So let's start. When did you get into bodybuilding?

Braeden Miller: So for me, bodybuilding was, as a young kid, obviously, I started training and stuff. More specifically for hockey. I played high level hockey, I played midget AAA and then I moved away at 18 years old and played Junior A Hockey. After that, I got a scholarship and I played University Hockey here in Edmonton. About halfway through my 3rd Season, I was one of the Captains on the team. And my passion for hockey had just kind of dwindled a little bit because I genuinely loved playing hockey. And all the kids on my team at that time wanted to just party, and my team wasn't really doing well. We weren't winning. I'm a very competitive person, so that's super, super hard to deal with. And I wasn't going to the bar with the guys at school and stuff like that. So for me, I just felt more like it had become a burden, or I was more like a babysitter, and I didn't love going to the rink anymore. So that's kind of when I decided, halfway through the season on Christmas break, I was just like, I'm just going to focus on my schooling and put this hockey behind me. So I did have a conversation with my coach and told him my feelings toward it. And I left the team at that time. I have the skates, and I had kind of been transitioning myself already away from the specific hockey power based training that I was doing with the explosiveness and stuff while I was in Junior and kind of transitioning to more stuff through like and whatnot. And I was kind of already training that way, the bodybuilding way, which even then was much different than I preach now and what I've learned along the way. 

But once I hung up the skates and stopped basically playing hockey, it really showed my competitive nature. I didn't know what to do with my time. I'm somebody who played hockey for basically 20 years prior to that. And all of a sudden, I didn't have those few hours a day where I was basically at the rink from like 3:00 or 4:00 PM until 9:00 PM every day. So for me, it was a big gap in my life. Being a very competitive person, I needed something. One of my closest friends, one of my very good friends who I'm still very good friends with, was prepping for his first competition. Actually, he and I trained together a bunch. So that was kind of it. He basically completed and did Men's Physique. This was back in the CBBF and ABBA days in the northerns. He won his class and won the overall, and then went to provincials. I did the same thing and went to Nationals and ended up getting second place. I didn't go with him to Nationals because it was out east. But I saw the show here in the northerns and provincials. And as soon as I went to that first show, I was like, this is what I'm going to do. This is 100% what I'm going to do. 

So I actually hired his coach right after that. My first coach that I've ever had, and I knew a lot about, obviously, nutrition, training and stuff already. I was actually training some people. I had just kind of really dove into the coaching piece. After I had hired a trainer, that got me in the best shape of my life. When I went to Junior Camp and I was trying out to play Junior Hockey, I was fascinated by how in shape I was and how much it had changed the trajectory of my life. Because when I played midget hockey, I wasn't some All Star Hockey player or anything like that. I didn't know if I'd ever played Junior. But when I showed up at Junior Camp, I was in the best shape of anyone there. And I ended up securing a role basically because of that, as well as my willingness to fight. But that kind of sparked my interest in it. And that's where the coaching piece began for me. I started, I got some personal training certifications just online. I did some nutrition certs cause I was super fascinated by it. And when you're playing Junior Hockey, and I moved to 18 years old, my only basic obligation was to show up at the rink for practice, my housing was paid, my food was paid, my equipment was paid. So there's a lot of obviously partying then to which I took my fair share. But outside of that, just a lot of gaming and stuff. So I used a little bit of that time to learn more about this. A lot of my friends and family had seen my transformation and the shape that I had gotten in. So I started helping people a little bit here and there for free. I did it for quite a long time. Over a year. I think it was almost two years where I just helped people for free, friends that wanted some help. And I kind of realized that I loved it. 

Fast forward to me going to the show, I decided I was going to hire a coach. That was kind of at the end of 2015. And then I basically hopped on stage my first time in 2016 as a light heavyweight, I ended up winning Northern's myself and going to provincials. And I won the light heavyweight class in provincials as well, that same year qualified me for nationals. I did lose overall to Sam. But that was okay. It was really a good show. And that again had secured that passion for me. So I ended up taking that year off and going to Nationals in 2017, which my goal was just to Top 10. I knew with my frame, I had to be bigger and stuff. But I was like less than if you want to crack a Top 10. That's pretty cool. I ended up getting 7th place at nationals that year. And when I got off the stage, there were a couple of things that had happened. I wasn't super happy with the final stages of my prep. I had to lose 16 pounds in basically two weeks. My coach just kept telling me, you look great. You look great. Let's have a burger and fries. And it was basically being given a burger and fries every other day or every three days. but knowing I had to blink at a weight cap of 198 pounds, I wasn't sure that it was going to happen. So I did what I don't recommend anybody does, I took the reins myself, and I ended up murdering myself for two weeks. But there's one thing I know about myself. I may not be the most genetically gifted or blessed, but hard work is kind of where I thrive. And that's something that I knew. So for me, I absolutely dropped my calories to nothing. I basically had taken my calories down to like 1300 calories. I was just eating white fish and asparagus. I jacked my cardio up an extra hour from where my coach had me, and my body started changing drastically. I was very lean from the front, but kind of soft from the back. And as I had done this, I got harder, and harder, and harder. And my coach was like, see? It's working. And in my head like, no, it's not working. But I've changed the plan, and that's working. 

So basically, I finished out that couple of weeks there, dropped the weight, I ended up weighing in at 100. It was literally, my weight cap was, I believe it was 197. It was like heavy select 197. And I weighed in on the nose, not even pointing one pound off. And I had to fast for over 16 hours to gain weight. But I made it. And at that point, basically it was just like, okay, now you got to play catch up and get full, which was pretty interesting for me. I had never done that before. So yeah, I ended up, like I said, I got seven there. And when I got off stage, I was not happy. I had to assume that the goal I had set was to be in the Top 10, and I wasn't super happy with it when I got seven. That was like, you know what? You have what it takes to be something in this sport of seven plays, that ain't nothing. You see these guys, and that can be you one day. So as soon as I kind of finished that show, I parted ways with my coach, and I hired somebody who was definitely a little more serious about it and had a better understanding of things. I learned a lot from him. I worked with him for the remainder of that year and through 2018. And unfortunately, I know we're going to touch on this a little bit. Later on in 2018, I had a pretty big scare with my health. People like to assume that it's directly related to bodybuilding. Unfortunately, people don't know the whole story. I'm not ignorant enough to say that it had no no part in it, but it definitely wasn't caused directly by it. So I was basically on the gym floor back squatting and I was doing my final warm up set at 405, and I kind of had some flutters in my heart and just felt like I mostly felt like I had low blood sugar. So it took a few minutes when I grabbed a Gatorade from the front of the gym, drank that, felt great five minutes later so we went to do one more warm up set with 405. After I rocked the bar, I went to walk away from the scrap of squat rack and I just collapsed. 

So what had happened to me was I had a spontaneous aortic dissection, basically, which led to cardiac infarction, which is a fancy way of saying like a heart attack. I had split the main valve. So they had my aorta to my heart into a V. So yeah, I was on the gym floor for about, it's pretty crazy story, but I basically collapsed and my coach who was with me, who was my friend at the time, we are trained at a kind of an old school bodybuilding gym. It was super hot in that gym. This was basically like July when this had happened. And there's nobody in the gym other than the gym owner's mom who was 75 years old at the time. And my friend and my coach at the time, he kind of went into shock. Because when I collapsed, I basically turned blue and I started foaming from the mouth and stuff. They didn't know what to do when they were trying to figure it out and whatnot. And then finally, one of them came to their senses and they called 911. They had to be walked through on how to give me chest compressions and that kind of stuff. I had gone about 15 minutes without oxygen and without kind of a beating heart, so they basically, at that point, usually say somebody is brain dead, or very brain severely brain damaged. When the paramedics showed up, they intubated me on the gym floor. They hit me with the paddles three times. Usually, after you've been hit with paddles three times and you kind of don't come back to life per se, they usually kind of call that. At that point, it's essentially mutilating a deceased body or harming a deceased body. 

So for some reason that day, the paramedics looked at each other and said to each other, they're gonna go one more time, and they have a fourth time. And that brought me back to life. So they rushed me to the hospital, I was put into something called Brain cooling, and a medically induced coma. Essentially, I was in for almost four days. The brain cooling was meant to, it's basically a fancy way everyone has kind of seen those sci fi movies where they put people in cryo chambers and freeze them for like a thousand years, and they come out the same. It's essentially that on a very smaller scale, obviously. But basically to drastically reduce any inflammation through the brain and body. So I was very cold to the touch, they had chilled my body completely. Well, I was in a coma, very cold to the touch, like freezing cold to the touch. But when I came, I ended up coming out of my coma, I believe it was about three and a half, four days later. And obviously for me, I had no idea what was going on. I was intubated. The first thing I tried to do was actually pull my intubation tube out, which if I would have done that, I would have never been able to speak again. But luckily, I can't remember if it was my father, or my sister, or somebody else. I think it was my father and kind of grabbed my hand and prevented me from doing it. And then they actually had to strap me to the bed because I was so uncomfortable that I just wanted to pull it out. I didn't really know what was going on. But yeah, it was pretty, pretty crazy. 

Honestly, I got to actually meet the paramedics. Normally, paramedics aren't supposed to go meet people that they've worked on. But it was such a crazy incident that they came to see me regardless, which was pretty cool. I basically got to meet the guys that saved my life and just had an inkling of a feeling that they should hit me with paddles one more time. So that was pretty cool. I was in the hospital for just under 10 weeks after that, trying to figure out what had happened to me and whatnot. When I was on life support, they had to feed me. They feed people through tubes, obviously, and they give you bags of food. I was 247 pounds, about 250 pounds when I went into the hospital. When I came out, just under 10 weeks later, I was 196 pounds. So I had dropped basically like 50 pounds during that time period, and they were feeding me when I was on life support. Three times the food they feed a normal person on life support, three times the bags of food just to basically keep the inflammation down on my body. My body wasn't starving all the time, which is obviously stressful on the body. And in that sense, they had to keep me fueled and give my body energy to recover essentially. So yeah, that was pretty crazy. 

When I came out of the hospital, I did have to have a SICD. So subcutaneous, basically a defibrillator was put in, it was installed under my lat. And I have that to this day, I have a defibrillator. I walk around with a defibrillator. I was kind of told at that time that I can never train again, that I have to be on these medications for the rest of my life. And as somebody who at that point, this was my life, I was coaching full time. I wasn't actually coaching bodybuilders because I had vowed that I would never be what the coach that I had experienced was. He was competing at the same nationals as me. And like I said, it almost was like he cared a lot more about himself, which we can't judge. Bodybuilding is a very, very selfish sport. So I wasn't coaching bodybuilders, because my goal was to be an IFBB pro and there's no way that I could have focused on my athletes the level of attention that I would have needed if I was still competing. Because A,  I cared nothing about nothing more than getting that pro card. So it was kind of a blessing in disguise, obviously, amongst all the shitstorm that happened with my heart that allowed me to still be a part of the sport. And that's where I kind of turned to coaching and used my knowledge to coach. I was very lucky in my first full season of coaching. I won my first pro card with an athlete in Toronto, which was super cool. A couple of people play very high on the national level. So that kind of kick started things for me and started the business rolling, and stuff like that. 

Outside of that, like I said, I was told that I'm never supposed to train again or train hard for that matter. And for me, it was just like, you're not taking that away from me. I would be a miserable human walking around for the rest of my life. I was 25, 26 years old at that time. And for the rest of my life being told, I can't do what I love to do. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. I'll take the risks that come with that. Same thing with the medications I had. The medications I was on just made me feel absolutely horrible. I felt like a shell of a man. I went into my first checkup. My mom was with me because I couldn't drive. And basically, I had asked the doctor like, how long do I have to be on these medications for? And this was a couple months after leaving the hospital. He was like, how old are you? And I was like 26. And he was like, about 74 or 75 years. Very poor bedside manner from a doctor, from a professional. So I've never seen my mom so fired up. I'll tell you that much. He chased him down the hallway, I was losing it. For me, that was just one of those things where it's like, listen, you don't actually know what's really going on. You're just telling me that I have to take these things to minimize any single risk ever. But you don't really realize the risk of me walking around on a day to day basis basically depressed. And that's no way to live. So I just said, you know what? I had a lot of knowledge on functional health, and I decided to learn even more about it. So I kind of had tapered myself off my medications and substituted a lot of stuff with natural remedies and natural supplements. I started using a brand called Revive who I still use to this day that I'm partnered with for my athletes because they make incredible products. 

And basically, every three months, I kept going back for my checkups. Started monthly, and then it was three months, then it was six months. And every time they kept telling me, you're getting better. You're getting better. So finally, I went in there and I told them, just so you guys know, I haven't taken my medication in 9 months. You told me I had to be on this for the rest of my life, and that's not me telling people to not to do what a doctor says. But for me, there wasn't an option. I wasn't going to do that. And like I said, luckily, it had worked out in my stuff. I kept improving and improving. And finally told him like, I'm not taking those medications. And I had asked to actually never work with that cardiologist who said that to me again. I have a very good cardiologist now. He said, listen, I can't, as a medical professional, tell you to not take your medication. But if that's the decision you make and the way we were thinking, seeing things going, I can't argue that you're in a much better position than you were 3, 6, 9 months ago. So he said, if that's a decision you make, I'm not going to tell you to do it. I legally can't. But I will tell you that if what you're doing makes you feel comfortable and you're happy with it, then do what you're going to do. So that was neat. Things have progressively gotten better, which is good. Now, I'm not ignorant to the fact that I still have limitations. And that's obviously why I don't do what a lot of bodybuilders do. I don't hammer peds and stuff like that. But I have gotten myself to a position where I live the lifestyle of a bodybuilder every single day. And that's one of the things I pride myself on as a coach is, I'm never going to tell my clients to diet, or push food, or do all these things, things that I haven't done, I have experienced in the trenches. 

I'm in the trenches with them every single day. I'm busting my ass in the gym. I'm training hard. I'm following a diet. I actually have a friend of mine who coaches me just because I think for a lot of people all day, every day, I don't want to have to think for myself. I like being a bodybuilder. I like just executing. When there's a plan in front of me, I can execute it. So one of my good friends coaches me, and he's great at what he does. I've made the past couple years kind of got myself back to a position that I'm happy with. Now, as a bodybuilder, we're never happy. But you know what? I'm getting with that. It's been a wild journey for me with the hard stuff. But like I said, it kicked me. But it didn't prevent me from kind of getting in, and it is a blessing in disguise. At the end of the day, if I had to go through it again to get where I am today, I probably would. The only reason I would say I wouldn't want to is just the people around me having to go through it. seeing my now wife, my parents, my sister, all of my closest friends come into the hospital and having to deal with that. And you could just see people just so sad every day. And it was tough that that was the hardest part of it all. And to this day, it still bothers me so obviously in my family and stuff a lot. They're super hyper cautious. And that's a challenge in itself. They just care about me and they don't want to see my leg pressing (inaudible). I should be doing that. It's like, well, this is what I know how to do. And if something happens, unfortunately, something happens. But I can go the rest of my life not doing what I love to do. But yeah, that's kind of a little bit about that story. 

And for those people that are wondering, I had a genetic predisposition to issues to arise with my heart. Basically, both my grandfather's, one of my grandfather's had passed away from a heart attack, had some aortic issues. And another one of my grandfather's on the other side had actually had an aortic aneurysm. So there were genetically things I didn't know about. I was very good with my blood work. And I had things done, ECGs and stuff, but I never actually had any imaging done on my heart. I never got ultrasounds done and looked at what my heart looked like, which there could have been a chance that they would see the aorta had some sort of dysfunction within it earlier. And maybe, that would have changed my decision. I don't know. I will say I was completely obsessed with bodybuilding and head over heels. So even at that time, if somebody would have said, hey, you have to stop bodybuilding or this could happen. I'm not sure. I would have to be completely honest. All I cared about was a pro card at that time. I'm very, very competitive. And like I said, I was completely obsessed with the sport at that point. And that obsession has continued. I think it's a very healthy obsession in the way that I go about it now. Can any obsession be toxic? For sure. But yeah, so that's kind of it. On the flip side of that, like I said, using peds and deadlifting 600 pounds, back squatting 500 pounds repeatedly over and over and pushing food up to a mount, you can barely eat daily and walking around with 250 pounds, are those things healthy? No, they're absolutely not. I'm not gonna sit here and say none of that contributed to where I ended up. But it wasn't the main factor. 

That was a hard piece of that, dealing with that for a long period of time, especially as a coach trying to make your way when people just want to see you succeeding. People want to say things about, well, this happened to him because of drugs, and this, and that. And it's like, well, you don't know me, and you don't know anything about what actually happened. And to be honest, I don't owe it to you to tell you anything. The people who are close to me were in the room when I was told this information. The doctors told me that if I was hit hard enough in hockey, it probably could have happened before those things were even in my life. So for me, it was tough at first, but then I realized just that I was like, listen, your wife, your family, your friends, a lot of those people were in the rooms when you had these hard conversations and doctors talk to you about this stuff. They heard the doctors say this, you're not making this up. So you can doubt yourself and have these thoughts of it when everyone else is saying creeps into your mind. Or you can just roll with the fact that you're all good. And from that sense, I just kind of forgot about it all. 

And I tell this to a lot of my athletes, because as you know in this industry, a lot of people talk. There is a lot of drama and stuff. At the end of the day, if you wouldn't ask somebody for their advice, don't listen to their opinion. And that's something I stand firmly behind today. And those people that like to say that thing and still, to be honest to this day, there's people that say that stuff. And it's funny because I would argue that I'm one of the safest coaches out there with PD dosage and stuff. And I'm very educated. I've taken upon myself that after all this stuff I've been through to be very educated on the health side of PD dosage and bodybuilding period. Because I mean, natural bodybuilding in itself also isn't healthy no matter what. It's an extreme sport. There's a lot of hormone dysfunction and stuff that comes. So for me, I've taken a lot of educational seminars, and invested a lot of time and money into learning that side. So I can be better for my athletes. So yeah, that's kind of where I've gotten to with that.

Sherrie Kapach: Yeah. Wow. It's an incredible story. Glad everything worked out. And as you said, everything happens for a reason. And it's kind of a blessing in disguise, because it's pointing in the direction that you wanted to get to as well.

Braeden Miller: Like I said, for me, it's definitely one of those things. It's funny how the world works. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and I'm here for a reason. I try to remember that every day. It does escape you at times. And obviously, we get ahead of ourselves sometimes. But that's kind of where I find my serenity is coming back to that, that I'm very blessed and lucky to be here. Because if you look up the stats and the information on what had happened to me with spontaneous aortic dissections, it's not common that people survive those at all. I guess this is a small piece that I had forgotten to mention. But when I was in my coma, they actually had taken my family into a room, and they told my family that there was a 90% chance that I didn't come out of my coma. And of that 90%, there was a 10% chance that I wouldn't be brain dead or brain damaged if I did. So just to be able to walk, talk and live life, never mind the body building pieces that come to that, it's truly a miracle. So I'm very blessed, for sure.

Sherrie Kapach: For sure. Well, on that note, when a client's looking for a coach and if they come to you, how do you decide if they're a good match for you? Or what questions should they be asking to make sure that you're right for them? Because a lot of them just hire. They don't ask or look for resources, or even check in with other competitors, things like that.

Braeden Miller: So those are things. The things you just mentioned are things I highly recommend. Of course, do your research primarily  as an athlete. But from the coach's side, for me, like I said, I kind of started from the ground up. So I started working with a ton of competitors who were just very entry level and wanted to try this sport out, get their lifestyle. I was coaching them as a lifestyle person, they became a competitor. And obviously through that time, I had a lot of people not winning, and I was learning as I went as well. Now for me, a lot of my clientele are, I don't want to sound arrogant in saying this, but a lot of them are kind of the upper echelon of the sport here in Canada. I have a lot of national competitors. You and I talked about this briefly before I went to five pro cards. It is basically the last season here. And for me, I just find that I enjoy what I do more with the higher level athletes that I work with. Because there's something about them. There's something about that drive, and that motivation, and showing up daily to do what needs to be done. It's really hard for me to convince somebody to do something that they genuinely don't want to do. And as I've gotten the opportunity to work with more experienced athletes, I feel like that has become more and more. And it's made me love my job even more. 

Now, that's not to say I don't work with first time competitors. I don't work with those coming into the sport because I love to give people a chance. And everybody starts somewhere. I have a process where, basically through our website, there's an application. You can apply with whichever coach you want to work with. We have a great team of coaches on our team. I have Tyler Toth who's a young protege that I got to work with and meet a few years ago. And he was just an athlete that I worked with. He was very eager to learn, and he hustled and wanted to become a coach in the sport. And through our conversation and stuff tolerated, I just became a coach, very close. And then I was kind of able to mentor him a little bit, bring them on to the team. And that kind of grew into something really cool. And then same thing with Dylan. So Dylan and I actually had met on a podcast that I was on much like this and we kind of hit it off. And Dillon's very knowledgeable in many areas as well. And that kind of steamrolled into an opportunity where I wanted to offer him a position on the team. And he was working with another team, and things just had worked out that he ended up leaving that team. So he was basically going to be coaching by himself, and I offered him a position on the team here. And it was kind of all the stars aligned, and he was here. So what's the way that works is you can go to our site and apply with whichever coach you want to work with. 

You can do a general inquiry as well, which sometimes happens. And when a general inquiry comes through, it'll come to me, and then I'll kind of read through the application. I've gotten very efficient at it that I can kind of just through the application and the questions that I see to be able to decipher who would be the best fit for this person. Now, when people hop on calls with me, because I am very selective with who I work with. My time is very important, especially being a business owner. I never want to be the guy that just brings on 100, 150 more athletes that I can actually handle for the number game. I want to give people a service and something I pride myself on is the level of service and communication that I have. So I'll hop on a call with these individuals after they've applied with me. If I feel that we might be a good fit, if I feel like we're not a good fit. The goals don't really make sense. I personally don't really work with lifestyle people anymore.  I do get a lot of lifestyle applications. So in that sense, like I said, I'm very competitive. I want bodybuilders, I want competitors. So for me, if somebody's just looking to lose 15 pounds over the summer, to be honest, I'm not the best coach for them. Because that doesn't align with my personal goals, I won't be able to give them everything that I want, especially when I'm traveling for all these shows and stuff. Whereas Ty and Dill have a little bit more room on the roster. They're very experienced, very capable coaches. 

So for me in that sense, that's when I'll kind of say, hey, you might be a better fit with one of these coaches. They're going to be able to give you more time, more attention to what your goals are, and they won't have that taken away by the passion of really coaching higher end people, which they're both getting there as well. But they also do like working with lifestyle people. I did a lot of it for many years, and I just realized my true passion. But yeah, when I hop on calls with individuals, I let them ask me any question they have first. Because again, I'm a very firm believer. And as an athlete, you need to understand who you're going to be working with. Because not only is it important for me as a coach to want to work with you as an athlete, you need to want to work with me as a coach. I need to tell you my style, and you need to be okay with that. Because I'm not the guy that gives gold stars and pat's everybody on the back. I'm here to push you to be the absolute best version of yourself that you can be. A lot of people tell me that I'm like a hard ass, and I will celebrate every single win with an athlete. But I believe that part of the reason that I have been quote-unquote successful or whatever, or somebody wants to pin that, again for me, I'm not sure. I would say that I am yet, but I believe that I've gotten to where I have because I find a way to unlock that potential in people. I watch training videos of my athletes, and I give them feedback. And I'm like, what are you sending me right now? I don't want to see that. I want to see actual effort. I have different ways of speaking with different athletes, of course. But over time, you develop this relationship where these people see that you're not an asshole. You simply just want to unleash that potential in them. 

And again, I develop very good relationships with my athletes to the point where we can talk about anything. Now, obviously, we put up boundaries. I'm not a therapist. And at some point in my career, I tried to be that person. And then you realize, like, that's not good for them, and that ain't good for you. You care about this person, but you're not equipped for that. You can't handle that. So they need help professionally. A lot of those things. But yeah, for me, I've just, I guess, experience has gotten me to the point that when I hop on a call with somebody, I kind of know what questions to ask. And when they asked me questions, I'm deciphering, is this somebody that when they're asking these types of questions that I want to work with. I'll hop on calls with people that the only questions they have are regarding peds and drugs. And for me, if all you care about is getting to this level by using drugs, that's not somebody I want to work with because drugs are a part of this game. But a very, very much more important piece is your work ethic, your diet and your training. All of those things come first and foremost. The highest piece of the pyramid, not the base, is drugs. Without the base of the pyramid, the rest doesn't exist. You have to be able to have that base. So those are things for me that I look for. There's people that also are very good at talking, so I'll bring them on. And within a few months, you realize that this ain't the person they told you they are. And then I reiterate many times like, hey, we need this. We got to do this. I need you to change your mindset on this. And overtime, I won't work with people like that because it sucks my energy away from the people that I genuinely enjoy working with. And that's not fair to them. So I have fired and dropped athletes in the past, and I have no qualms about it. Because if you're impacting the level of service, and the way I can show up for my other people and my team, I have a very strong team and a pride behind that team. And if you're impacting that, unfortunately, you gotta go. But then on the flip side of that, there's also people who I'm sitting there on the fence and it's like, you know what? Let's give them a shot. And all of a sudden, they turn out to be absolute rock stars. 

They pick the team up, and they're driving the team forward. And they're making incredible results themselves because they genuinely care. But it's really hard for them to display that in a conversation beforehand. So it is a task in itself. But I think just through experience, I've gotten to a place where I can identify the traits that I like to see. And for the most part, like I said, that's somebody who just really is willing to put in the work, and the effort, and the time, and has an understanding of what it takes. If you've never competed before and you come to me and tell me in the next two years that you want to beat Chris Bumstead on stage, I'm going to tell you that you're absolutely delusional. I'm not going to tell you that's possible, because that's not going to do what you need. And just by telling people those things, you see their reactions. And if they're like, well, you don't believe in me. It's like, well, no. I do. But that's not realistic. And that's the kind of stuff that I kind of asked and see in these interviews, I guess, that I have with athletes. And then from there, I kind of make my decision whether I want to work with them, or if they're a better fit for a different coach. So yeah, to answer your question in a long winded way, that's kind of roughly it.

Sherrie Kapach: You just don't sugarcoat anything, which is great.

Braeden Miller: I believe that that doesn't do anybody any good and a sport where you're being put at your most vulnerable position on stage compared to other people if I continue to tell you that you look great, and I genuinely don't feel you look great. And then you get laughed at and you're like, well, you told me I look great. What does that do for you? Right now, if somebody really, really, really wants to step on stage and they don't care about their look? That's a tough one for me, because I love winning, and I hate losing. But on the flip side, you know what I mean? If somebody's incredibly proud of the package they've built and done everything we can to get there, and they've been a rockstar? I'll tell them straight up like, hey, I don't think we're going to win this show. I don't think we have a shot at winning this show. But you dropped 40 pounds in the last 12 weeks. And if you're proud of that, and you want to step up there, for sure. Probably not something I'm going to sit there and market my business on to be honest with you because, again, I love winning. But at the end of the day, I definitely will get us there, and we'll make it happen.

Sherrie Kapach: Okay. We have some that just want to do it just for a one time experience--

Braeden Miller: To be honest with you, I guess that's one of the things. For me, I don't usually work with those people. Those are people that I would pass off to somebody else because, again, the competitive nature in me doesn't really work out because I push people. Like I said, I push people to their limits to be their absolute best. And a lot of times, those people that are just doing it for a transformation are just for the experience. They're not willing to go where it takes to actually win. And that's incredibly frustrating as a coach, incredibly frustrating when you want something more than somebody else wants it. And the biggest frustration for me is caring about the process, caring about the end result more than the athlete actually does. So, again, I've tried that. I've done that. I do have a decent amount of inquiries now. So for me to take that person on, when it's taking the spot of somebody else who is a little bit more serious, I'd rather pass them off to somebody where there's going to be no tension between them and the coach because there's a good understanding of that.

Sherrie Kapach: Yeah. There's so much commitment, dedication, time and everything else to just do it. 100%, that's a lot to do.

Braeden Miller: Again, there's nothing inherently wrong with people wanting to just have a little bit of a transformation and get on stage. There's nothing absolutely wrong with that. I would never say that. I think there's a lot of people that potentially impact the sport negatively by just dropping 100 pounds, and they're still very overweight, and they go into a bodybuilding show. You know this isn't bodybuilding. This is just a weight loss transformation that's what you should be doing. But again, for me, that's my opinion. And as long as my athletes are doing well, I should have athletes that shouldn't be worried about that person stepping on stage. Because if my athletes and actual competitors, they're going to beat that person no matter what. But yeah, there's nothing wrong with that. I just don't think it's the right fit for me. And if that somebody's goal is just to simply lose some weight, that goal is obviously just as important to them as any other person's goal is. I'm just not the person to basically help them achieve that goal.

Sherrie Kapach: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So what would be the best advice you could offer someone who's thinking about competing?

Braeden Miller: Do it for the right reasons. People that obviously compete in bodybuilding have gotten very big on social media, and there's people that just do it for the clout, and they want to be a competitor, and this and that. If that's why you're doing it, usually, it doesn't work out so hot. Usually, you're not cut out to be what you want to be. It's not easy. Like you said, it takes a toll on the body. And if it's just something to market a business or to have some likes on social media, I'd save yourself from that. Now, if you're somebody who genuinely loves training, can stick to a diet and want to push yourself to the extreme, you want to see what you're truly capable of, like I said, you want to actually do something with bodybuilding and take it somewhere, and become a pro bodybuilder pro competitor, do it for those reasons. Do it for your passion and your love for everything this sport entails. Don't do it because some of your friends did it and you just want to try it. Because again, it's a lot of stress on the body. And it's a long journey. It can be very mentally taxing. And obviously, we know a lot of the pieces that come with bodybuilding, and the body dysmorphia and stuff which a lot of us have as competitors and bodybuilders, I've had it forever. And I believe that's one of the reasons that actually pushed me into bodybuilding subconsciously. But there's a lot of things that come with it. So if you're just doing it for some reasons that are very, I don't want to say shallow, but very like surface level, I wouldn't. I would dive deeper into why you truly want to do it. Understand truly and ask questions about what it entails, and what it's going to look like so that you genuinely have a real idea before you do it.

Sherrie Kapach: That's good advice. Because there's someone out there that they just don't realize, they think getting on stage and doing some workout, watching a little bit of food and getting on stage, but the mental capacity that it plays on you is incredible.

Braeden Miller: Absolutely right. And that's where a lot of these people break. If you don't want this for the right reasons, if you want it, but you don't actually genuinely want it, as soon as things get harder, you're gonna break. And you're gonna get made foolish when you stand up there if you just continually break when things get tough. If it was easy, everyone would do it. We're the 1% of the world that does this and loves it. Be the person that's just in great shape. There's nothing wrong with that. You don't have to step on stage to be in great shape, diet and stuff like that. I think the sports have become a little bit watered down, but I also do like to see the direction the sport is going and how big it has gotten. I love that, it's very competitive and that kind of stuff. I feel like it was on a decline for a while. And now, it's kind of trending back up a little bit again, which is something That's very exciting for me to see. Before I was ever a coach or a bodybuilder, I was a fan of the sport. And as a fan of the sport, it's really, really cool to see, like, I'm somebody who goes to Olympia every year, and will continue to go every year because I'm genuinely a fanboy of the sport. I love seeing it now. Obviously, as a coach, I'm taking mental notes and paying attention to things as well, and seeing where the divisions are trending and the look that they're looking for. But I just love being there because I'm a fan of the sport. Talking with so many bodybuilders, meeting them and seeing them on stage? It's really cool.

Sherrie Kapach: Yeah, yeah, but it's definitely a science I felt. When I started, I was like, wow, big time. But seeing what you're seeing like--

Braeden Miller: Absolute science. It's a lot more than just dropping your food and increasing your cardio.

Sherrie Kapach: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it's incredible. So we're gonna switch gears here a little bit, you're opening a gym, what guide can you do that part?

Braeden Miller: That's actually something I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember since I kind of got into the fitness field that was focused a little bit more around bodybuilding. I remember watching videos of some top bodybuilders that I loved. And when I was prepping and stuff, they had their own gyms and going into their own gyms for cardio. And again, for me, I've always loved the idea that I can have an impact on people. I think having my own space was something I just really, really wanted to do. And to be honest, I thought it might even be something that I do when I'm older. Now granted, I'm not old, but I'm also not young. And the way things had worked out, I actually was looking at opening a gym the year leading up to COVID. I had some business partners, and then the whole COVID thing happened. And one of my business partners who was a large financial backer behind the project was very risk averse and kind of was like, well, we can't do this. So that's one of my dreams crumbling in front of me. But the person I am, I knew it was going to happen at size sooner than later. And then during COVID, actually, I just started buying pieces of equipment here and there for myself to train in my garage. I built my own garage gym, and then that kind of exponentially grew into some other stuff. I just kept reinvesting my money into new gym pieces and stuff. 

And then finally, through the team with Dillon and Tyler here, I had gotten to the place where we're speaking with my back end, who helped run the backend of the business so that I can just focus on coaching. We had conversations about looking for a gym, opening a gym and looking for spaces. And I ran the idea by my now business partners who are also coaches on the team here at Miller Elite, Tyler and Dillon, and they were all for it. It was something that they really wanted to do. And Tyler had expressed, he'd always wanted to do that too. As a bodybuilder through and through, that was kind of his dream. So I was like, well, hey, we all have dreams that align and match up. I don't want to do this alone. You guys want to do this together. So at the time, I had a very, very large stock of inventory of equipment already so we just kind of hit the ground running, looking for places and sourcing other equipment. We wanted to do something special in the gym we're creating. It's unique in the sense that it will be welcoming to everyone. But equipment wise, it's definitely catered to those that are very serious about training in the bodybuilding crowd. 

Now, do we want everybody there? Absolutely. We don't want only bodybuilders there. But like you said, we've sourced some of the most unique equipment from the 70's through current modern day. We have way too much equipment. We've actually had to start selling stuff off because we don't have enough room in our gym currently. As we started putting the pieces in there, it's like, wow, we've run out of room very quickly. But a good problem to have, I guess, like I said, I'm just really, really looking forward to what we're going to be able to bring the community here. Obviously, it's limited to people in our area, in Edmonton and surrounding areas. But we're really, really excited. Obviously, I think once we get our doors open, I do think it's going to be kind of like a destination gym for people, that they're going to really want to travel even to check it out and be a piece of something cool. We have a really cool fitness community here. And the support that we've already gotten through there, obviously from our team and staff is great. But people always ask like, is it only the team allowed to train there? And it's like, no, this is a completely separate business from that. Yes, we're going to be in the building and we have built our own offices so we can do our day to day check-ins and stuff there. But that's completely separate. 

When my office door is closed, I'm a coach of Team Miller Elite. When I walk out of that office, I'm an owner of the gym fitness, and that that becomes my passion and my priority, which is really cool. I'm really excited to just expand that community and offer something really unique because it's something we don't have here right now. I can't give enough praise to Aaron and Eleni out at Iron Lord gym. They gave me a home for about a year and a half with their private gym. That's an amazingly great gym with a great community and stuff too. And that's kind of what we're trying to do. A little bit different. Obviously, we're not a private gym and slightly bigger scale and stuff. But we have a great relationship. And it's funny because people have messaged saying like, oh, is there drama between you, Aaron and Eleni with you doing this? And it's like, no, we get along. Great. We have conversations. Aaron has come out to see our gym. I just met with him last week for a coffee, and we just sat and chatted for a couple hours. There's no drama at all. I mean, we're completely different sides. He's outside the city, we're inside the city on a completely different end than him. And I think honestly, even though a lot of my clients do train at his gym, there's a lot of people that want memberships at both. Hey, if you can afford that by all means, support local, support multiple businesses, and you get the best of both worlds.

Sherrie Kapach: Yeah, for sure. That's exciting. Congratulations. I'll be driving down there to check it out, for sure.

Braeden Miller: Thank you very much. Yeah, we can't wait to host you. I think we're going to do some pretty cool stuff for our Grand Opening with some membership sales and a big party. Kind of underground opening day, so it'll be fun.

Sherrie Kapach: Great. And you're supplying your supplements and things like that?

Braeden Miller: Yeah. So I'm also actually in order in a supplement store, a supplement world chain. There's one in Calgary there, there's Kelowna, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina. So just this past year, I actually opened up a store here in Edmonton, so I obviously have the resources to get supply and stuff. So me and the boys have discussed it, and we'll be selling supplements out there too. If somebody forgets their pre workout, we'll be selling supplements by the scoop. So some cool stuff like that. We have merch. So we've already started making clothes and stuff for the gym and whatnot. So yeah, there's a lot of cool pieces of it.

Sherrie Kapach: It's exciting. Congratulations,

Braeden Miller: Thank you very much. It is something that I've, again, wanted to do forever. So now that it's very close to fruition, it makes me feel pretty good. There's a lot of work left and it's been stressful, very stressful. But the stress is all worth it at this point. I'll just keep going until we can't go anymore and the doors are open.

Sherrie Kapach: Nice. Wonderful. Well, on that note, I want to thank you for taking the time to join me because I know your schedule is extremely busy.

Braeden Miller: No, no, I appreciate you having me on.

Sherrie Kapach: And good luck. We'll get together again once the gyms open.

Braeden Miller: Awesome. Yeah, look forward to having you out.

Sherrie Kapach: Perfect. All right. Thank you.

Braeden Miller: Thank you so much Sherrie. Cheers.