The Physical Performance Show Podcast – The Highs, The Lows, The Learnings
Brad Beer calls it simply his “passion project” however the many regulars who tune in would probably choose words such as entertaining, revealing and instructional to describe his weekly podcast.
The Physical Performance Show ticked over its 100th episode this year and the number of downloads raced past a quarter of a million around the same time.
The show has evolved since 2016 when ironman champion Ali Day agreed to sit down at a microphone with the POGO founder.
“I’d been an avid listener to podcasts for years before us starting and for about two years I’d felt this drive to do something in the physio space,” Brad says.
“It felt like a natural progression, really just an extension of what I had already been doing throughout my physio career in the consult room. I was asking questions, hearing stories and delving a bit deeper to get to the root of the problem. In many cases I was hearing stories that I thought would be good to share with a wider audience.
“I stumbled around what such a template would look like. Would it be a specific running-focused podcast or would it be a more general, say, about the general principles of exercise and high performance?
“I settled on it being more general … to not isolate an audience. But both could have been well received and successful.
“To be honest we were the first physio practice in Australia to have a podcast so that sort of fits with our DNA at POGO of doing things a bit differently and innovatively.”
The show kicked off in April 2016. As is his nature, Brad fastidiously prepared, as he does before every interview, with a long list of questions and angles for the 2014-15 Nutri-Grain Ironman champion to discuss.
“I said to Ali, who was a patient at the time, and still is: ‘We’re kicking off a podcast, it’s me interviewing people about performance and stories, their highs and lows and learnings’ and Ali put his hand up to be the guinea pig,” Brad says.
“That first one with Ali was a whole lot of fun and it really was a case of ‘OK, let’s see where this goes’.
“We put a team around it because I’m not skilled in the technology side. We were referred a really good audio engineer in Melbourne and we loaded it up and went live.
“I remember being excited this time two years ago that we’d had 1000 podcast downloads … 1000 people across the first handful of episodes.
“And two years on, almost to the day, we’ve passed 273,000 downloads which is confirmation that it was the right time to start.”
Brad’s guests have included luminaries across a vast array or sports, from ironman to motor racing, swimming to mountain climbing. Gaining access to world leading athletes has been a result of working off relationships inside the world of fitness and health, and “just reaching out, just asking the question”.
Brad has been astounded at the generosity of his guests in time, spirit and enthusiasm.
“We give them a small gift to say thanks but we don’t pay them for their time,” he says.
“And I could probably count on one hand the number of people we’ve asked who’ve said ‘no’ or just haven’t got back to us.
“I think many of our guests see the merit in putting down some of their stories for posterity in an audible format, stories that may otherwise have gone untold. And I take my role in that seriously, but every second of it is fun.”I think many of our guests see the merit in putting down some of their stories for posterity in an audible format. #performbetter @pogophysio Click To Tweet
Brad says the platform also gives athletes the opportunity to speak about subjects close to their hearts and promote messages that sometimes are glossed over in the mainstream media.
Rob de Castella spoke about the Indigenous Marathon project while Eloise Wellings and her Ugandan running partner Julius Achon took the opportunity to highlight the work being done in Africa by the Love Mercy Foundation which they kicked off.
While Brad admits he has a wish list for future interviews – names such as Phelps, Bolt and Cadel Evans are rattling around ‘upstairs’ – he struggles to pinpoint the interview in the first 100 that has been the most fun or most entertaining.
“That’s a bit like picking your favourite child which you can’t do,” he said.
“But memorable moments … specifically I remember sitting here interviewing Robert de Castella and thinking ‘oh my gosh, this is Deeks’, and Steve Moneghetti also came into the practice.
“And then Brad Beven, who was my childhood hero, the aspirational figure I wanted to be when I was growing up.
“Brad doesn’t tend to do a lot of media stuff and it probably was crediting him in my book that maybe he felt some level of connection. I ran into him at a triathlon and gave the book to him and then followed him up.
“He came in here and the night before I didn’t sleep, thinking ‘what do I ask, I don’t want to miss the opportunity?’.
“I often feel a pressure when I sit down with a guest. I want to maximise what they can offer to the listener. I feel that responsibility.
“I put a bit of pressure on myself to make sure I’m ready, well researched and thought through.
“The interview with Brad felt like my childhood had a full stop next to it. Everything was worth it to get Brad. If you’d told me as a kid I’d get to sit and speak with Brad about his career I would not have believed you.
“Off the back of that I was able to help him out with some physio stuff which was a whole lot of fun for me.”
Brad’s podcast has been picked up all over the globe and he has regular listeners who don’t miss an episode, among them Sally Poole and Paul Nixon who are competitive triathletes and distance runners on a small rural property south of Goondiwindi.
“We love to listen to Brad’s interviews when we’re training or doing indoor bike sessions for our half-ironman training,” Sally said. “It’s great to have so many interesting people to listen to and Brad really has a way with words.”
In an increasingly busy space others tend to “cherry pick” the interviews, such as triathletes who tune in to focus on material particularly relevant to them.
“I see people commenting that triathletes and runners can learn a lot from the swimmers because it’s the principles of performance,” he said.
“Something we’ve brought in more recently is the expert editions where health and fitness experts speak directly to topics. So now about every fifth or sixth episode we’ve featured things like bone health, tendon injuries, back pain and rehabilitation, knee pain, and running injuries.
“They’ve been really well received and it’s nice to pepper those in among the athlete voices.
“And the weekly challenges put up by our guests is a bit of fun as well.”
The Physical Performance Show now boasts a couple of sponsors – podcast partners as Brad likes to call them – who see a value in a product which appears in the Health and Fitness New and Noteworthy category on iTunes and regularly inside the top 10 charts for Health and Fitness on iTunes .
“We wanted to get to 100 episodes before we even thought about sponsorship. We’ve just brought on some, we call them partners, and what really helps is we get access to their distribution networks.
“NormaTec Recovery Systems and Gold Coast Marathon have come on and their support is fantastic.
“I’m sure the next 100 interviews will be just as much fun as the first 100.”
Listen to The Physical Performance Show here.
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