By now, chances are you know who Mike Farr, aka Silent Mike, and Meg Gallagher, aka Megsquats are within the strength sports world. If you’re unaware, Mike and Meg are both YouTube Strength Athlete personalities that create informational and useful content on a regular basis.
YouTube’s growth, especially within the fitness community, could arguably be one of the better things to happen within the world of strength. It’s not uncommon to hear a strength athlete say, “I learned from YouTube,” or even, “I started lifting because of YouTube.”
With so many personalities and channels, YouTube is becoming one of the best sources for daily lifting tips, information, and good ol’ enjoyment. It’s incredible how much great information (for the most part) is shared on YouTube’s platform on a regular basis. But as this community grows, so does the work and effort it takes to create compelling content.
A lot of viewers don’t understand how much work it takes to produce quality videos. Let alone, the amount of brain power is takes to create new original content frequently while managing growing channels. To clear the air, I reached out to a couple of my favorite YouTube personalities, Silent Mike and Megsquats.
What made you want to start creating content and posting on a public source like YouTube? Did you see an area lacking? Or did you just want to share your progress and what you’re doing?
Silent Mike: Content kind of found me. When I joined SuperTraining gym 5+ years ago they were doing YouTube videos. It started with an interview after I hit a PR on my squats. From there, I was approached by Jim Mcd (producer of the Powercast) about being a host on a podcast he wanted to start. It was a natural transition from doing demo videos, hosting a podcast, and then creating my own content. It’s always been about sharing my experiences and knowledge while trying to be entertaining.
Megsquats: I initially started uploading as a way to track my lifts. Soon I started talking to the camera which was a transition to becoming more of a true YouTuber. There was definitely an area lacking with women sharing videos in 2015. Very few were uploading videos tracking the goal of strength. At the time, ChelseaLifts was phasing out of powerlifting focused training, but we were among bikini competitors mostly.
Since you started creating videos, what’s changed the most? How many times have you seen YouTube evolve/change within this community?
Silent Mike: I think the biggest change within YouTube fitness community is the creativity and production. It’s gone from just lifting PR videos on an iPhone to amazing edits and drone shots. As with everything in life cream rises to the top, but the cream varies. Sometimes it’s because you’re the biggest and strongest, but most often, it’s consistency and personality that truly shines on YouTube.
Megsquats: The technical barrier to entry is much higher. Beautiful shots, drones, and 4K cameras are now the norm, which may seem more intimidating to people just getting started.
There are channels that get by with simply having stunning shots, but if you want to build a real community, then just bring value and be interesting.
Even great videos seem to get troll-esque comments. How do you shrug them off and keep moving forward? Do you have any tactics for ignoring negativity?
Silent Mike: It really can be difficult. Although, its often people thinking they are funny or have nothing better to do with their time, but some comments do sting. I often read the comment and just analyze it, and 99.9% of the time the comment has zero truth, so to me it becomes easier to ignore and move on.
There are some deep dark places on the internet, comment sections, and forums that are made to be negative and troll. I just avoid those and keep my attention on my content and progressing as a coach, creator, and lifter.
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I've had the opportunity to work over the last 12 weeks with this awesome group of lifters (plus a few more- we missed you guys this weekend!). I'm so impressed by how they've adapted to feedback and crushed new PRs and then some. Truly honored to share strength with men & women from all over the world, and thank you for helping me on my mission to making the world a stronger place and getting more barbells in hands. I love you friends!!
Megsquats: I’d be lying if I told you it doesn’t bother me. When I notice that negative comments are getting to me, I’ll usually go to my messages and read and respond to the positive ones.
What do you wish others knew about creating YouTube fitness content? It’s a lot more work than people think, so what do you want the regular viewer to know?
Silent Mike: I think just the sacrifices. There’s a lot of time and money put into becoming a real content creator. Much like any other person that works for themselves, it’s like the cliche saying, “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours to avoid working 40 hours a week.” But it’s often very very true. Creators are constantly thinking about the next step, writing down ideas, and actually doing the filming/editing. Not to mention, there’s all the back end email and typical leg work that still needs to be done.
Megsquats: Listening to yourself speak during editing is exhausting and very annoying.
Is everyone in the YouTube fitness space how they are on camera? I know you’ve both touched on this videos before, but how often do you find personal/YouTube personalities don’t match when off camera?
Silent Mike: Personally, I think the main reason YouTube is such a popular platform and viewed by millions is that it’s REAL reality Television. The majority of people you come across are not acting, and their personalities are very similar to how they appear on video.
For myself, I think I’m very much the same on and off camera, but when I’m on camera I’m just turned up from a 7 to a 10. But there are those rare cases where someone’s personality is an act or “fake” and I think that the majority of those people don’t last long.
Megsquats: One of my biggest disappointments was meeting some of my favorite YouTubers, and learning that they don’t even lift, or truly enjoy lifting. Other than that, most people are very cool. You may be surprised that your favorite lifters (who don’t talk to the camera) are more shy/quiet than you expect, but overall everyone is great.
Who’s been your favorite person to collaborate with? Why? Is there anyone you haven’t worked with, but want to?
Silent Mike: I’ve been truly blessed to work with some of the top YouTubers, bodybuilders, strongman, coaches, and powerlifters in the game. I’ve learned and enjoyed parts of every collaboration. It’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite for me. The best part is the long lasting friendships created. It’s cliche, but we’re all so similar and like-minded, that it’s great to be able to help each other and pass along ideas.
Megsquats: I got emotional with Gracie V last year. Still gets me choked up! Gracie inspired my journey early on, and I was touched with the growth I’d made since starting to lift. I used to waste my time doing so many other stupid things. Now I just do this stupid thing that requires me to lift heavy stuff.
I’d love to work with Holley Mangold, Kortney Olsen, and Janae Kroc. I’ve been in contact with all three, just hoping to make it happen soon.
When you collab, how does that process go? It is a simple ask, or is there an unspoken YouTube channel code that others don’t know?
Silent Mike: Majority of the time for myself, I like to collab with people that I already know are on a similar wave-length as me. It ends up being super easy, and we have a mutual respect for each other as content creators. We show up, joke around, lift some weights, and maybe go eat.
Like I said previously, a lot of YouTube creators tend to hangout with each other because we understand the process and already know that we’re like-minded. There’s no real code (unless I’m not on the ‘in’), just easy lifting session, hangouts, or Q&A like any other life situation, except there are 2-3 cameras always on.
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Heavy squats @barbellbrigade Had an awesome time hanging and lifting with @bartkwan & @maxxchewning I truly admire the precision, effort and creativity these two have for their content and business 🔺NEW VIDEO UP NOW🔺 Click link in my profile or search "silent mike" on youtube #KIZEN #REEBOK #BARBELLBRIGADE #POWERLFITING #BODYBUILDING #WEIGHTLIFTING #FITNESS #SQUAT #BENCH #DEADLIFT
Megsquats: Simple ask. The community is small, so if you’re creating dope shit, then other lifters will know who you are. My first collab was with Krissy Mae Cagney, who’s now a good friend. I ambushed one of her workouts and explained that I was inspired by her, and that I’m creating videos on YouTube to teach people how to be better lifters. She was caught off guard, but comfortable with speaking to the camera.
If someone wanted to start a channel today, what would be your first piece of advice for them?
Silent Mike: It’s all about content. Content is King. Try to be yourself and be as consistent as possible. If you just try to emulate what you see or like, then it will come off as fake. YouTube is what it is because it’s for the most part organic.
Megsquats: Figure out your audience and create three different types of content for them:
- Hero: Videos with an emotional hook
- Hub: Content based around the interests of your audience (interviews, program reviews, product reviews)
- How-To: Teach your following what you know
Do you think YouTube will ever hit a decline in growth and viewership? If so, what do you think is next for this booming community?
Silent Mike: Potentially. Everything is life changes. Think about it, radio was the thing, then music videos, and now podcasts/videos. Everything flows. I don’t think it will be going anywhere soon though. It’s such a unique social experiment, and you can learn so much from a large variety of people.
Megsquats: YouTube will continue to thrive. I believe in the platform, and our strength communities need YouTube. It’s not going anywhere. I think we’ll continue to see bigger brands partnering with creators, and I’m excited to see that in the fitness and strength community.