About This Episode
In this episode of Brilliant Thoughts with Tristan Ahumada, guest Erika Hammond talks about her unique journey from working with the WWE to starting her own fitness career. Erika explains that she initially auditioned for WWE as a host but ended up being selected as a wrestler due to her athleticism. She spent two years with the organization, traveling extensively and learning a lot of skills that she could later use in her fitness career.
“I went from WWE to the bottom of the totem pole again.”
Erika was working as a trainer at a boxing gym in Los Angeles, where she had made a name for herself due to her WWE influence. At the time, there weren't many females in the boxing fitness industry. Eugene Remm, one of the co-founders of Rumble Boxing and Rumble Training, reached out to her, saying that they were creating a new concept in New York City and wanted to open a boxing gym.
Erika initially brushed them off, thinking that she wasn't interested in moving to New York City. However, Eugene persisted and invited her to meet with the other partners. They flew her out to New York City, and within two weeks, she had moved there to become a founding member of Rumble Boxing and Rumble Training. Eugene and Andy Sinclair, another co-founder, allowed Erika to be present in every meeting, whether it was a marketing meeting, a business meeting, or even an architect meeting, and she was able to learn a lot from them. Erika also mentions her fiancé, who is an entrepreneur and able to challenge her and give her feedback and advice.
Erika also discusses how her WWE experience helped her gather a following and monetize it through her social media platforms. She now focuses on boxing-inspired workouts that incorporate hit and strength training. The transition to boxing was natural for Erika as she grew up with an athletic background and has been boxing since she was 14.
Erika also shares that her decision to leave WWE was due to the lack of an off-season and her desire to be around family and meet new people. Despite leaving, Erika is grateful for the experience and all that she learned from it.
How do you decide then whether an opportunity is good for you?
When Tristan asked how she decides then whether an opportunity is good for her, Erika explains that one of the main considerations is whether the opportunity fits her vision and what she stands for. She also mentions talking to the right people and connecting with the opportunity. Additionally, she mentions trusting her gut feeling and having a certain level of confidence in herself.
Tristan also asked how she decides her self-worth, Erika mentions that fitness has helped her tap into a side of herself that she didn't know she had before. She mentions having routines in place that set her up to have the best day possible, including going on a walk with her dog in the morning and exposing herself to greatness by continually learning.
By relying on her personal values, gut feeling, and mental clarity, Erika is able to take a holistic approach to decision-making,
“My workout is also my meditation.” - The Knock Out Program
Erika shares that her workout routine is a form of meditation for her, providing a space to shut off outside stresses and focus solely on the present moment. She mentions her Knock Out Program, which is a challenging workout that requires both mental and physical engagement. Erika also emphasizes the importance of surrounding oneself with intelligent and challenging people to learn and grow, which ties into the power of networking.
On Networking and Her Online Platform
Erika emphasized the importance of being open to different scenarios and saying yes to opportunities, even if they are outside of one's comfort zone. She credits living in New York City as giving her an upper hand in networking but also recognizes the value of attending events and dinners to make connections and gain knowledge.
Erika mentions her online platform, Strongbyerika.com, which was created during the COVID-19 pandemic when gyms were closed. Her free online Instagram workouts gained a significant following, and she eventually partnered with Equinox to develop her own workout program called Knockout, which they already launched in April. Erika expresses her excitement about the program and has spent the past eight months developing it, working with the Equinox team on marketing, and training other instructors to teach the program.
Erika's advice on networking and willingness to take on new opportunities can inspire listeners to broaden their horizons and make meaningful connections. Her success with Strongbyerika.com and partnership with Equinox demonstrates the power of adapting to changing circumstances and pursuing new ventures.
“And I just have decided. I want it to be more than the workout.”
Erika believes that her workout is more than just a physical activity; it is an experience. She wants to create a safe space where people can release stress and commit to themselves 100%. Even though the workout can be challenging, it is a moment to have fun and feel like you can conquer anything.
She then shared the process of developing her business during the pandemic, which she found to be the hardest thing she had ever done. She had to learn how to be a backend engineer and even sought help from companies like B&H and Vimeo. She partnered with Vimeo to launch their app for hosting videos, which was costly but helpful as they did all the backend work. She now uses "On Your Screen" as it is cheaper and easier to use. She also chatted with various app developers, but she felt going with a bigger company was simpler and would cause fewer headaches.
On the Fitness Community
Tristan and Erika discussed the importance of building a community in the fitness world. Erika believes that the community is the biggest thing, and providing people with a space to meet, learn and connect with each other is crucial. She cited the Facebook page they created as an example of this. Erika believes it's about people finding friendship, nearness, and something they enjoy together. They both agree that a successful fitness community should provide a space to meet like-minded people and show up for themselves. Believing in something together bonds people, and experiencing that together is essential.
Erika explained how she connected with Equinox by meeting with its founder, Havi, through Eugene, one of the co-founders of Rumble. She went to Havi for mentorship, and he suggested partnering with Equinox or Peloton to spread her passion for fitness to as many people as possible. She talked with both Peloton and Equinox but decided to partner with Equinox after a long time of conversations and figuring out what was right for her.
Erika Hammond is a well-known fitness trainer, who has gained a significant reputation in the fitness industry. She started her career as a professional wrestler and was a WWE Diva (as Veronica Lane) for a few years before transitioning to fitness training. Erika is widely recognized for her unique and challenging workout routines that combine strength training, cardio, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to help people achieve their fitness goals.
Erika is a founding team member of Rumble, which is a popular group fitness studio that offers a unique blend of boxing-inspired workouts and strength training. She has also collaborated with many top fitness brands such as Adidas, Under Armour, Reebok, and Asics, and has been featured in numerous publications, including Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, Women’s Health, Shape, The New York Times, and Well + Good.
Erika is known for her high-energy and motivational teaching style, which has earned her a large following on social media platforms. She has inspired and helped thousands of people worldwide to reach their fitness goals and lead a healthy lifestyle.
DISCLAIMER: The people interviewed are well-trained experts and highly skilled in their areas of practice. They take many safety precautions prior to attempting the activities described. The activities or research discussed in these podcasts should not be attempted without qualified supervision and training with professionals.