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The Playbook

Like many San Francisco residents, Billy Polson began his professional career in IT.

That was over twelve years ago, since then he’s left the desk behind to start his own gym and has been racking up acclaims in just about every health and fitness publication in the country. His San Francisco gym, DIAKADI (Do It All Kick Ass Doing It), is recognized by some as the pinnacle of personal fitness. We spent a workout with him to find out what it takes to hit new personal bests, find balance, and stay healthy.

Q: At DIAKADI, one of your main messages is to “promote a healthy balanced lifestyle.” For people that struggle with maintaining one what are some small tips you can give them towards their steps to well-being?

A: This is definitely a tough one to answer with so many of us being pulled in a wide variety of directions, including family, relationships, work, fitness, etc. One of the best pieces of advice I have for people that are already at max capacity and wanting to add fitness or 'life balance' activities into their lives, is this:

You often have to take something out in order to successfully add something new in.

I recommend charting out a list of your daily/weekly activities. Include everything from meal preparation and TV viewing, to workouts and time spent with a significant other or assisting the kids with homework. Prioritize each element of this list based on how vital it is to you or your loved one's well being, whether it is nourishing for your physical and mental person, and the enjoyment level received from the activity. Then begin removing items from your life that are not giving you back sufficient reward based on the time investment required for them.

Also brainstorming creative ways of reducing how much time the vital tasks are taking for you to complete. For example, if healthy food prep is taking a huge amount of time, consider the use of an organic meal delivery service for several days each week. This will allow you to maintain your healthy choices while reducing the time needed. This additional free time you are creating will be a HUGE step in improving your healthy life balance.

Q: How do you ease clients into undergoing drastic lifestyle changes?

A: I choose between two very distinct philosophies:

A: Slowly adding new changes in on a weekly basis, letting your body and lifestyle slowly adapt to the 'new you.'

B: Diving in the deep end head first, making a full lifestyle overhaul from day one. After speaking with each client individually, we jointly decide which philosophy will bring them the most success based on their personality, current lifestyle demands, and the amount of support they have in place to assist them with making the alterations. In the end, we must remember that the process is usually a marathon, NOT a sprint.

Q: Have you seen fitness and training evolve and where do you think things are heading?

A: At DIAKADI, our trainers are broadening their scopes of practice. Realizing that true physical changes in clients' bodies require far more than simple exercise prescriptions, our trainers are adding more advanced coursework in subjects such as nutrition, P-DTR (Proprioceptive Deep Tendon Reflex), and holistic lifestyle coaching.

In the personal training industry as a whole, I am excited to see most trainers advancing their level of assessments in order to provide truly individualized training to each client. At DIAKADI, we have always required that our referral trainers provide a combination of postural screen and mobility assessment with the muscle, movement, and strength testing in their initial client session. It is great to see that even the most beginner level of trainers around the nation have begun including more advanced techniques as well as tools such as the Functional Movement Screen in their assessment sessions.

Life is far too short to spend long work days in an unfulfilling job.

Q: How did your experiences lead you to DIAKADI?

A: On the most basic level, DIAKADI grew out of my desire to spend every day doing what I love.In 1998, realizing that a career in computer programming was not a fit for me, I followed my athletic passion and became certified as an independent personal trainer.

In 2003, realizing that I needed to be working in a larger training facility in order to continue progressing the success of my clients and my enjoyment as a coach, I wrote the business plan and opened DIAKADI a year later.

Life is far too short to spend long work days in an unfulfilling job. Figure out what you love to do, devise a plan to earn a living while doing this activity, and then follow that path. Believe in that path, with all of your heart, mind and soul. Intelligently face problems you encounter head on, with the goal of finding solutions. If you do this, you will find happiness, success and reward... and maybe even your own DIAKADI.

Q: Where do you see DIAKADI 10 years from now?

A: 1. ADVANCED EDUCATION - From day one, a key element in DIAKADI's mission has been our role as a leading educator of trainers. Currently, we are developing some exciting upgrades in both our mentor program and continuing education options which will raise this mission to a new level in educational opportunities for both new and advanced level personal trainers. Watch for these to roll out over the next few years.

2. ADVANCED TRAINING FACILITIES - Based on the success of our Suite 102 addition in 2015, we will continue to add additional space and facilities as needed.

3. COMMUNITY - No matter what, DIAKADI will always be the happy, comfortable and 'set the bar' community for both clients and fitness entrepreneurs alike.

Q: A lot of what DIAKADI is about is self-love. How do you teach that to clients?

A: Right off the bat, my goal with each client is to empower them with the ability to put their needs first. People MUST first take care of themselves, before they can ever be their 'best' in family, work, friendships or life. Simply making the decision to hire a personal trainer is a great first step towards prioritizing your health and your body, which most definitely leads to an improvement in self-love.

Next, I walk each client through a list of deep questions about their lives, fears, passions, and self-esteem. All of this information is then included in the decisions I make concerning their exercise and lifestyle programs. We focus on achievable, progressive goals that will give them inspiration, purpose, confidence and valuable increases in their self-love.

Q: Can you lay out a typical week of Training (Monday - Sunday) to give us a better idea what it's like to be Billy Polson?


Max Strength Squats, Chest, Biceps


REXercise (Backyard Strength Circuits with Rex - the coolest dog-athlete I know)


Lunges, Shoulders, Abs


REXercise (Backyard Strength Circuits with Rex)


Max Strength Dead Lifts, Back, Triceps


Hike or Beach Soccer with Rex


Surf Session

Follow Billy Polson on Instagram or visit him at DIAKADI.

Photography by Dylan Nord

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