miha bodytec USA
Interview with Matt Ward
Texas native Brian Dillman first swung a golf club with his dad at age nine before taking up tennis, where he was a nationally ranked junior, Division I college player at The University of Illinois. After earning $72 as a professional player, he decided it was time to start a new career path.
Since then, Brian’s path has led him to work for global leaders in a variety of categories including Wilson Sporting Goods, Cervelo Bicycles, Peter Millar, Rodd & Gunn and now miha bodytec. He also has extensive international experience living and working in Munich, Toronto, and London and speaks food and dining in 5 languages.
THE DILLMAN STORY:
Competition and sports have always been at the core of who I am and where I have learned the most. I love all sports and will try anything at least once. I have mountain biked in the hills of Taiwan, played badminton in China against the #9 ranked player, played ping pong in Turkey against a Turkish national player, and played tennis and golf all over the world. I believe sports is what have given me my drive and passion, and have taught me crucial skills in planning, preparation, how to overcome adversity, and teamwork.
After playing collegiate tennis at the University of Illinois, I went to work for Wilson Sporting Goods as a sales rep in the southern US — for the record – I believe everyone should have a commission-based job at some point in their careers. Wilson was owned by a parent company, Amer Sports, who also owned Atomic, Suunto, Precor, Salomon, etc. One of my former colleagues from Atomic, whom I have known and worked with for more than 20 years, introduced me to miha bodytec. My first response was “this is too good to be true. Does it really work?” Amazingly, we still get that a lot. They invited me to Germany to try it and meet the team. They had one rule for the company, “we don’t work with assholes.” The rest is history.
At that time, they were preparing to get FDA clearance and needed an executive with a sports and fitness background who knew the way German’s work to bring the product to North America. Starting a company from ground zero in a new category in North America seemed like the ultimate challenge to use all of the skills I had learned during my career. I believe in the technology and the business because it is backed by science and the FDA. We started building the business in 2018 and with FDA clearance in 2019, officially started.
Whole Body EMS has been studied significantly, but a few specific examples stand out.
One is a golf study done in Germany, with the direct result of using the miha training equipment equating to increasing driving distance. The others were related to tennis, ice hockey and European football, which all related to increased speed and explosive power. Knowing this, we did some limited testing with Carson Kemp, golf fitness trainer and founder of MotionLab in Scottsdale, AZ and Marty Evans, President and Director of Golf Instruction at Catalyst Golf Performance in Chicago. After going through the EMS workout and hitting balls in a simulator, the results were off the charts. Swing speeds increased by 10 mph and distance increased by 20 yards.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
Two things other than family: First, spread the word that exercise and movement is obtainable for everyone. Obesity is a serious problem and people don’t know what to do to change habits. I want to inspire people to get up and get moving.
Two, spread the word that whole body EMS is an amazing opportunity for entrepreneurs to start their own business or expand their current business. 70% of our customers started brand new businesses, and the rest are using miha bodytec to expand their current business. With the Great Resignation happening, miha bodytec provides the perfect way to be your own boss, set your own schedule and determine your own work life balance.
What was the genesis for miha bodytec?
miha bodytec was founded in 2007 in Germany under the notion that Whole Body functional electric muscle stimulation (WB-EMS) can help people train more efficiently and achieve better results. Electric stimulation has been around for centuries but used mainly for rehabilitation in a passive form and miha bodytec launched the first active electric stimulation designed around functional training.
How does miha bodytec differentiate itself from your competition?
As the category creator, we were first to market. German engineered and manufactured, our products are designed to run 24/7, 365 days a week. Consider us the Porsche in the category. We also have an 11,000 square foot facility in the Chicagoland area to support our customers in North America. It includes a fully stocked warehouse, training facility and office.
From a golf perspective — what does miha bodytec do to improve overall performance on the course?
It delivers Whole Body EMS training, designed to help build muscle and strength in a short, 20-minute training session. This results in increased swing speed, distance, core strength and on-course stamina. WB-EMS training revolutionizes the way we can target and strengthen vital golf-specific muscles and movements, all while protecting the body from unnecessary stress; especially compared to more traditional strength training methods. EMS training is an inclusive training method for golfers no matter their physical ability.
Define the core elements that best outlines the EMS training method?
How it works: Whole body EMS activates the body by mimicking signals that the brain sends to the muscles to contract during conventional exercise. The muscles can’t determine whether the signal is coming from the brain or the impulses coming through the miha bodytec device, but either way they contract.
The Difference: During an EMS session, the impulses activate over 98% of your muscles simultaneously throughout all major muscle groups. Each muscle reacts with 85 contractions per second – compared to 1-2 contractions per second in one muscle group at a time during traditional strength training.
Efficiency: Due to the full body activation and intensity of EMS training, sessions only need to be conducted 1X per week for 20 minutes, equaling the benefits of 2.5 hours of conventional strength training.
Safety: EMS sessions consist of low impact functional movements and are always conducted by a certified personal trainer. EMS has proven results in people of all ages and fitness ability with numerous published scientific studies to support its efficacy.
What did U.S. FDA approval mean overall for your efforts?
FDA is the seal of approval for the US market. In 2019, we were FDA cleared for exercise and then in April 2021, we were FDA cleared for medical use. This is critical for Whole Body EMS to be accepted by both the wellness and medical communities as safe and effective. The FDA also cleared out the entire training method, outlining that you must train with a certified EMS trainer and follow very specific safety guidelines.
How important a role does endorsements play from the leading professionals on both sides of the gender aide and what is the company’s strategy in this regard?
Endorsements from top female or male players are not the key driver for us. Results are the most important, and to prove that, we look to partner with key golf fitness professionals. We have a technology that is proven, through research, to increase strength, stability, and power without adding more stress on the joints. With buy-in from top golf fitness professionals, they will help communicate the message to players of all types – professional, amateur and hacks, like me.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
Gender equality. With my background in the tennis world — as a husband and father of two daughters — I watched Billie Jean King and her peers fight for equal prize money in the tennis majors. While countless female athletes and leaders in this space have made significant progress over time, there is still a long way to go. There needs to be a concerted effort to continue creating equal opportunities, facilities, tournaments, teams, etc., with an additional focus on getting more women to take up the sport.
Best advice you were ever given — what was it and who from?
“There are people who make it happen, people who watch it happen, people who wonder what happened” – Jim Baugh, President of Wilson Sporting Goods. I have always been a “make it happen” person and Jim’s advice has resonated with me throughout my career.
“Act like you belong, work like you don’t” – Luke Reese, Chairman of Kjus Apparel.
I have always been willing to outwork the competition, starting back on the tennis court, in my sales role at Wilson and through all my other experiences. First to the office, last to leave, and an overwhelming commitment to do whatever it takes to serve our customers. To me, this also means being a great listener and knowing that I am rarely the smartest person in the room.
The biggest challenges, short and long term, facing miha bodytec is what?
Awareness is both our short- and long-term challenge. Even after 15 years in business in Germany with thousands of studios in Europe, The Middle East and South America, Whole Body EMS training is still under exposed. How do we build awareness?
Through trial and demonstrations. Our conversion rates are very high, so once we get someone to try it, over 80% of the time, they love it! Longer term is building the right team of people who share our passion for health and wellness.
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