I’d like you to meet Bob and Sue

I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to Bob and Sue

 

Sue and Bob are hypothetical members of ours that are the collective embodiment of all of the success (and failures) of folks training under our care.

 

If you are an Edge4Life member, you might find some of these stories familiar – they are your stories!

 

I’d like to start by introducing Sue.

 

Recently Sue and I had a conversation about her training and how she thought she was behind the rest of her classmates (who are all about 10 to 20 years younger than her) and she was getting down on her balance during a movement and things like that.

 

Well, topics continue to unfold and I asked Sue about her recent get-together with some old friends.

 

She was saying how it was really fun, but she was a little disappointed that her friends didn’t want to do as much hiking as she did and got tired from the days activities a bit quicker while she had energy to spare.  She shared that she was the only one who could lift the whole cooler and taken it down the beach by herself!

 

And I said…Sue, do you realize…you are the fit friend!

 

What…?

 

Sue, you just told me all about how you were running circles around your friends and performing feats of strength that no one else could muster.

 

Sue, you are the fit friend for sure!

 

Despite being hard on herself for a bit of loss of balance and maybe not preforming to the same degree as her class mates, she was crushing it against her peer group!

 

Lo-and-behold, the next week she was in, the task from before didn’t seem quite as hard.  That boost to know that her hard work was paying off really put some wind in her sails.

 

I am incredibly proud of Sue and her realization that she is capable of more than she thinks!

Why being 40 is so incredibly dangerous (it’s not what you think…)

Whoa, pretty aggressive title…

 

Hear me out, this is important.

 

I speak from experience, first of all, being just about 37 at time of writing and within arm’s length of 40.  This is an identification from personal experience that I feel develops into a larger trend.

 

It’s pretty simple, those of us in the 30ish+ bracket are too young to be old and too old to be young.

 

It’s at least partially true that young people are indestructible – to the extent they can eat like crap, exercise little, have bad form throughout, get banged up playing pickup basketball, drink the night away and experience minimal pain and regret the next day.

 

Those of us that have tried to do this after 30 probably regret doing what may have been normal 10 years ago.  News flash – we got old.

 

But there is a problem.  We’re not really that old at all.  In fact, about half of the people we surround ourselves with probably still view those of us in our mid 30s as easy breezy, young and carefree.  They WISH they were as young as we are!  And it’s true – there aren’t many physical peaks awaiting on your 50th birthday.  35 is a blessing that we should embrace.

 

But on a physiological level, things have already started to slow down.  Metabolism, muscle tone, energy – they just peak out and are never the same again.

 

It is no coincidence that 99 out 100 professional athletes have had their best-ever season by the time they are 31.  Almost no one peaks at 35, must less 41.  Peak human performance has limits.  It’s the rare pocket quarter back, specialty relief pitcher or perimeter shooter that sustain performance into their late 30s and even 40s.  The bone crunching effects of competitive sports takes a correspondingly brutal toll on the linemen, outfielders and 7 foot tall centers.

Let me introduce you to someone you know.  You know them quite well.

It’s 25-year-old you.

And 25-year-old you is killing 40-year-old-you.

We still look in the mirror and don’t think much has changed.  We still more or less view ourselves as the vibrant 25 year olds that can drink all night, get 4 hours of sleep, play a couple games of soft ball hung over, take a nap and then be fine for Saturday night.

“Yea, but isn’t age just a number?  And I have my best days ahead?  And I’m getting in shape to prevent aging?”

Isn’t there some truth to that?

100%

But let me reframe it:

Poor health and habits prematurely ages you.  Exercise reverses those effects.  It won’t make you “be younger” so much as it will make you feel less old.

Imagine Michael Phelps – one of the greatest swimmers and athletes of all time.  He reached peak, world class physical swimming perfection somewhere in his 20s.  He cannot get that back.  He is slowing down the march of time by continuing to swim and exercise, eat well and maintain his health.

Imagine parallel universe Michael Phelps – 50 pounds overweight on his 30th birthday.  An on-again-off-again smoking habit.  Routine day drinker.  Turns his life around and gets fit at 40.  Despite being “in the best shape of his life”, he is still 40 and miles away from his parallel self at the Olympics.  Makes sense?  Doesn’t have to, just trying to paint a picture.  Anyway!

The analogies to the gym are the tedious basics that we really don’t want to do, but pay for if we don’t.  Taking rest days when our fave fave is on the board or our friends are all doing a great workout.  Stretching before class.  Cooling down after class.  Dialing in the diet.  Ignoring the loads lifted next to you and instead throwing on that extra 10# you aren’t quite ready for.  Modifying for that spicy elbow you’ve had for a couple weeks now.  The (stupid) 25-year-old in us just shrugs and says, “eh, I’ll just sleep it off. LFG!!!”

 

Got some bad news – you’re not 25 anymore.

 

With any luck, we survive this transitional maturity and make it to 55 without completely destroying our bodies.  Every 55+ year old I know is content to go at their own pace, live to fight another day and do what is right for THEM.  They are thinking about what the next 30 years looks like.  The 35-year-old is relishing in the glory of the LAST 10 years, thinking they are still in their prime.

 

This isn’t a gloomy assessment that suggests you throw up your arms and stop trying to be better – it’s realistic recognition that there is a LOT more life to live and you have to pump the brakes if you want to avoid trading in your knees and hips for the shiny ones your grandma has been raving about.

 

The fitness revolution has gotten people off the couch, given them a new lease on life and encouraged them to do things that they thought were impossible.  The beauty of this movement cannot be overstated.

 

But you can’t ignore consequences.  Train hard.  Be bold.  Climb mountains.  Lift heavy things.  But do so with recognition of your humanness, you can do the above for 40+ years happily and sustainably till the day you croak paddling a boat up stream to catch a wild salmon with your bare teeth. That’s the dream right?

 

But that also means you have to stretch every once in awhile.  Watch what you eat and, for goodness sake, take a rest day!

 

 

What can Disneyland tell us about health and wellness?

A couple days ago I went to Disneyland.
One of the first things that struck me, was that “Obesity Epidemic” might actually be an understatement.
It’s somewhat ironic that day in and day out, I am on the front lines of health and wellness, but because the people I interact with on a daily basis have committed themselves to this goal, it’s incredibly easy to lose sight of what kind of condition the American people are actually in.
Let me stop right there – if you’re a bigger person and living your best life and couldn’t be happier…I have no judgement. You do you. I don’t have some puritanical fitness mission to rob others of joy and prescribe how they ought to live their lives. You can continue scrolling, nothing to see here.
But that’s not who walks in my door. I am talking about the people who are “so sick and tired of being so sick and tired.” This isn’t about six-packs, swim suits or your skinny jeans.
This is about leveraging fitness as a tool to live your best life. So that there is more of you to go around so that your family, friends, co-workers and, of course, YOU get your very best. When someone is so big they cannot ride the rides with their kid – that doesn’t strike me as a fun way to spend the day. And the effect trickles into every corner of life. This isn’t about aesthetics – this is about simple quality of life. It slides on a continuum, it’s not “wheel chair bound or fitness perfection”…every step in either direction adds momentum. So maybe someone isn’t wheelchair bound, but can you get down and play with your kids without getting winded? Are you on blood pressure medication #2? Are you getting flagged as pre-diabetic? All of these things have unfavorable, persistent and quality-of-life-robbing outcomes.
This is about climbing that mountain. This is about conquering challenging goals. This is about rising to the occasion so that whatever you face, you have the mental and physical tools to overcome. Yes, I believe fitness has this power.
And there are 10s of 1000s of qualified fitness professionals, nutritionists, personal trainers and small gyms making their dent. Too expensive? There is endless free information online, enormous and well equipped gyms that are cheaper than your coffee spending each month.
Given all this – on a grand scale, I’m not sure we’re actually winning (as a collective industry of fitness). The tools and infrastructure are there for the using, why aren’t they being used to greater effect?
So if you made it this far – question for you:
What is the cause and what is the solution?
Easy question, right?!?!
But I want to know what the people NOT in the industry are thinking. I won’t shout you down. I won’t argue. This isn’t an invitation to go on a body-shaming tirade. I want to listen. I want to hear whatever your perspective on it might be. I want to make sure I’m not missing something obvious because I might be “too close” to the issue. We have the capacity to help – but if there is a gap in communication between those that need and those that can help…well then, we’re never setup to collectively win.

What is the ROI of your current efforts?

I had a conversation with a client of mine the other day that went something like

 

“Hey, coach Eric, I just wanted to share something with you.  I had some friends who have been sitting on the sidelines during all of this progress and they said, “man, I wish I could do what you did!  I wish I could get in shape like you!”

 

and she said:

 

“uh…you can.  You can literally join my gym tomorrow and do exactly what I did.  They have a plan, they’ll take you through the same thing.  You can have what I have.”

 

And, oddly enough, it was met with back peddling and the classic “not enough time” and all that stuff.

 

Ok, hold up.

 

So you mean to tell me, you witnessed her success first hand (i.e. its not a scam), you know her personally (i.e. she’s not a millionaire super athlete), you want what she has and…then just, that’s the end of the conversation?

 

It dawned on me.  Not everyone is ready for change.

 

We can all look at some “heroic figure” and utter the words “I want that too!” but when left with the task ahead (i.e. the work), it gets a little different.

 

So I thought it might be helpful to explain how this works and exactly who can expect to get success with us.

 

Person A

  • Currently puts time and effort into nutrition and exercise
  • OR, is highly motivated to start that process
  • WANTS the outcomes it promises
  • Isn’t getting the results they want currently
  • This might be due to poor information or poor role models or any number of things like simply being stuck in a routine and plateau
  • BUT, the effort, attitude and desire is there

 

Person B

  • Does not put in the time and effort as stated above
  • WANTS the outcomes
  • Isn’t expending any energy to further their goals
  • Still looking for “the way that won’t hurt too bad to require too much effort”
  • This might be for any number of reasons, but the point is
  • The CHANGE they need to overcome is not one of “what to do and when to do it” or what gym to sign up for or what program to purchase, it is a matter of changing the mental framework to embrace the change and chase it relentlessly.

 

If you are Person A, you need to get in touch with us asap.  You have fire.  You have fuel.  You have the energy.  You have the drive.  I want to hone that to a laser focus so you can melt steel beams.  You maybe be surprised to find that you can achieve more than you ever thought possible.

 

We have developed a series of systems that takes effort and multiplies it.  We have developed frameworks that countless before you have proceeded through and come out the other side a changed person.  If you are Person A and you are spending the time but not getting what you want, we can guarantee that you’ll get success with us.

 

If you are Person B, that is aok.  Everyone is on their own fitness journey and learning the process in their own way, but the things we will ask you to do you may not be ready for.  If you haven’t embraced the idea of reevaluating the landscape in which you operate and are fully willing to ditch the bad to adopt the best practices – and work hard to achieve them – then this might not be a good place for you.

 

Let me be clear, we work with teens and people in their 70s.  We work with athletes and beginners to fitness.  We work with accountants and soccer moms.  We work with all types of people – the unifying characteristic is that above: Fire.

 

If you have fire, let us help you focus it, distill it, and together we’ll reshape your fitness future.

 

Coach Eric

How to stop time wasting nonsense

I had a moment.

Not that you care about the woes of being a small business owner, but there is an important lesson here.

I texted my wife and said, “I need to do less.”

Here is my brain’s operating software:

Step 1 — Every single passing thought that ever crosses my mind needs to be recorded as a to-do item

Step 2 — Stress out that you cannot complete said items

Step 3 — Pick the most useless one, spend a ton of time on it, get no ROI and then refer back to list and stress out

Maybe you do this too? (Honestly, I think it’s just straight up human to be this way…anyway)

How does this translate to fitness? Ever done the following:

Step 1 — Get frustrated that things aren’t going well (back hurts, overweight, no energy, etc. etc.)

Step 2 — Sign up for that fitness class thing you saw on Facebook

Step 2a — Decide THIS IS THE TIME ITS GOING TO WORK

Step 2b — Clean up your diet 100% (i.e. eat only salad)

Step 2c — Do a juice cleanse this week

Step 2d — Deny yourself all pleasure in pursuit of said goal

Step 2e — Sign up for a Tough Mudder

Step 2f — Buy some new clothes for the gym (cuz, why not?)

Step 2g — Drink a lot of hot water with lemon

Step 3 — Ditch the diet when the weekend comes, fall off the cleanse (it honestly made you feel like crap anyway), go overboard on that leftover cake from the recent party, cancel the race, add whiskey to the lemon water as you watch Netflix in your new clothes.

I don’t mean to be crass and defeatist, I want to almost paint an absurd picture of this human being getting hyped up and then deflated almost immediately…because it is the amalgamation of what I see every day. In an honest effort to make a change, ALL THE WRONG THINGS are selected at once. The reason? Well, this is the stuff that is shoved down our throats 24/7. None of the aforementioned is useful. Yet, tons of advertising dollars are thrown at you to convince you of exactly that.

So what’s the move?

If I could select TWO things for you that would produce a disproportionately high ROI it would be the following:

Step 1 — Go to the gym for 45 minutes, 2x a week. Do strength training. Curls, squats, situps, lunges, pullups, bench press…whatever. Challenge yourself and for gods sake skip the elliptical.

Step 2 — Monitor your calories, eat precisely your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure)

That’s it!

Here’s the rub — the picture just painted was basically the same as:

– Dont fall for get rich quick schemes, they dont work.  Instead;

– Invest in the market, its that easy!

The punchline — if this dialogue has got you more upside-down than clearly headed in the right direction, it is time to get a consult with a professional.

Fitness is challenging. Don’t make it even harder by trying to go at it alone.

~ Coach Eric

Have you had your “I haven’t felt this good in years!” moment?

 

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you haven’t.

There comes a time in everyone’s life where all of a sudden…

– The energy starts to slip

– The back/knee/hip/neck starts to hurt for no reason

– Things that used to be easy are now strenuous

– Some random stupid thing (like picking up a bag of dog food) throws out your back

– You feel like you haven’t slept in ages

– Coffee/energy drinks become mandatory for a functioning day

– And you can’t recall a specific event that led you down this road

And if you think

“Well, jeez, it’s not THAT bad”

We don’t mean to spout doom and gloom, but it certainly doesn’t get any better tomorrow. We haven’t met a single person who has said, “most of my 30s I started to feel like you mentioned above. Then, I turned 40, and it all magically got better!”

Wouldn’t that be something.

Close your eyes and consider what it might be like when you have your own “IHFTGIY” moment.

– Routine tasks are just that…routine and easy.

– Back pain, gone.

– Knee pain, gone.

– Full of energy, sleep through the night

– Enjoy the activities you used to love

– Have enough energy for your family, job, friends and maybe…just maybe…a little left for YOU too.

Many people think this isn’t possible, but all the others have found their way to a fitness program that resonates with them to seize their moment.  Isn’t it about time you found it for yourself?

Schedule a No Sweat Intro to have a conversation about how you can find your moment.

Is your life completely f***ed up? (Your fitness order of operations)

It is fairly common for people to come in the doors, schedule a consult, talk all about fitness, get started with the gym and then, 6 months later, unload a shit ton of baggage that has nothing at all to do with fitness.  In fact, this baggage was likely presumed to be SOLVED by fitness.

 

“I am overweight, therefore I need fitness”

 

“I have back pain, therefore I need to get stronger”

 

And these things are definitely at least partially true, but there is an interesting cycle of events that occur.

 

WHY would someone get “unfit” to begin with?  I’ll leave you free to speculate – there are endless reasons.  They are all pretty much correct.

 

So someone’s life is upsidedown and they conclude, “I gotta hit the gym!”

 

Which isn’t a bad idea at all.  But, 6 months later, no fitness has been gained and we all wonder what’s going on that exercise has produced no results.  So we ask some basics questions:

 

  • Are you sleeping?
  • How are you eating?
  • Are you stressed?
  • Do you binge drink?
  • Do you smoke?
  • How do you manage your time? Do you ACTUALY get to the gym, or just purchase a membership?
  • Is your head in the game during class or are you chatting, checking your phone and using distractions to avoid work?

 

And what is uncovered is that pretty much everything is jacked up and nothing is working correctly. They cannot manage their time. They don’t sleep.  They are stressed to the max.  They don’t eat/stress eat/over eat/binge eat/something something bad eating.

 

Fitness won’t course correct for this.

BUT, it WILL uncover this.  Now we can start solving problems.

 

Can’t sleep?  Why not?  Don’t eat during the day but binge at night…why?

 

The solutions to these problems vary as much as the problems themselves, but it’s a huge part of what we do. And as we solve for the above, the fitness that ought to come…does.  This is because fitness is actually a much higher order activity than people give it credit.  Fitness should really ONLY be applied once things are going well enough to SUPPORT fitness.  But the catch 22 is that sometimes you don’t know what it is to unfuck until you realize fitness isn’t working.

 

Tricky stuff

 

So here are your fitness order of operations and some ideas on how to achieve them

 

1 – Sleep – There is no way around it, you need sleep.  All organisms need sleep.  Evading this fact will lead to your misery.  Try this: pick a day (probably a weekend) and go to sleep when you are tired and don’t wake up to an alarm.  Try that a couple times.  How long did you sleep?  That’s probably how much you need.  Are you getting that much?

 

How to get better sleep? The question for the ages!  I am no sleep expert, but there are some definite things that impede sleep such as too much caffeine, too much electronic stimulation before bed and lack of a “goodnight routine” that helps prime your body for sleep.

 

2 – Nutrition – Yep, you also need to eat.  We find it is equally likely that people aren’t eating ENOUGH as often as they are eating too much.  Get your 2000 cals a day.  Eat protein. Avoid simple empty carbs.  Avoid too much fat.  Don’t drink calories.  That is a really basic way to get your intake on track so that it can support exercise, recovery and daily energy.

 

Don’t create stress around diet, make small changes that are sustainable.  Examples include cutting soda intake in half (not going cold turkey), routinely eating breakfast and ensuring that you eat protein with every meal which is satiating and necessary for muscle growth.

 

3 – Stress – Do you take on too much?  Do you feel like the world is on your shoulders?  Do you create work just to feel useful and productive?  Do you take on OTHER PEOPLE’S burdens?  Do you say yes all the time?  Do you feel bad saying no?

 

Got some bad news – if you’re reading this, life will go on with or without you being a martyr for everyone else’s time.   We simply aren’t that important.

 

Scratch things off your to-do list if they’ve been there more than a month.  Say no.  Value your time.  Force people to solve their own problems.  Take on less.  Focus on nailing the important things in front of you.  If it’s not on fire, it can wait.

 

Life is short.  You won’t feel any better on your death bed having scratched off 10,000 menial tasks that are simply killing you anyway.

 

And there you have it! Why do we feel so qualified to address these topics?  Are we some sort of experts?  Nope. But we uncover these problems and become allies in solving them for our members.  And, in the process, learn quite a bit about what makes people tick, how gym time is best used, what problems it won’t solve and what you need to do to get the most out of your gym experience.

 

It’s not just fitness, it’s straight up  mental health we’re doing over here.

We build Super Humans

Wow, pretty bold statement, yea? Super Human?!

Absolutely! We build humans that are SUPER…

…Super resistant to disease and sickness
Super confident in their bodies and abilities
Super well prepared to embark on physical tasks and take on challenges
Super likely to live long, feel good and be strong for their whole life

Super Humans.

You know what the opposite of this is. You have a family member, friend or colleague who:

Is always sick
Is always complaining
Is always tired
Is always looking for the easy way
Is always lamenting how old they are and can’t do anything anymore

Maybe they’ve even convinced you the world is against them (and you should retreat in similar fashion). That fate has aligned to make them, in particular, miserable and unable to enjoy life. We are the antidote to that particular brand of misery!

Maybe you’ve heard about CrossFit being “hardcore” or a cult or…whatever…

Yes, there are loud people on social media – for some reason they seem to rarely post about, what I feel, is the true center of it all.

The path that is challenging, frustrating, intimidating and novel is also the one that produces the greatest evolution of character. The thing you don’t see are the moms and dads, accountants and construction workers, grandpas and granddaughters that quietly arrive every day for a chance to be brave, do something challenging and, IN THE PROCESS, build the resiliency to tackle what life throws at them.

Sure, sometimes that is “lifting heavy shit” but more often it is putting your head down, telling your “inner-quit” to take a quick seat and shutup, and persist onward to a better version of yourself.

If that’s not super, I don’t know what is.

You shouldn’t judge yourself

Really.

I think the “ordinary context” of fitness (if there is such a thing) and perhaps the thing that I’ve implied along the way is that “fitness is virtue and there is something wrong with you if you don’t WANT it.”

Really. Honestly. With whole hearted sincerity — I don’t believe that to be the case.

If you are legit happy with what you have going on, then my judgement, the judgement of the fitness industry and the associated guilt is just bullshit noise in the larger symphony of your happy life.

Yes, I will ALWAYS push for fitness…cuz well, it’s my job. But, I am nothing but stoked for someone who knows their truth, rocks it and lives their life the way they damn well please. If that resonates with you, stop reading and never come here again, because my message isn’t likely to change. You’re just stuck with droning fitness chest beating.

But what if you’re not happy?

What if you think there should be something more for you? You want to feel good again (like “those days” of your youth)? You want to be free of pain? You want something more or other than what you’ve got going on?

Well then, my friend, you need an audit. A serious, painful, no hiding audit to expose you to your own bullshit. We can do that! But that isn’t the point of this message…

The point of this message is: do you know who you are and what you want?

We’ve had plenty of people try CrossFit and then decide it’s not what they want. Mozel tov! You got one step closer. This isn’t the end-all-be-all. We don’t begrudge people who aren’t buying what we’re selling! (Side note: that is part of the obnoxiousness of most crossfitters I know, they DO begrudge you because they DO THINK it is the end-all-be-all. Child please…).

If you need an audit, we’re here to help and we’ll do it for free. We have a full scale top-to-bottom measure of your fitness and a method to fix it — supposing you want fixing.

So you made it this far. If you did, my hope is that what I am saying makes sense. If it makes sense, hit me up and I’ll assess your fitness for free, no strings attached, no risk, no pressure. You can duck out of here without a sales pitch or a timeshare trap! I’ll give you the data and you can do with it what you will.

Who is sabotaging your success (It’s not who you think…)

You might be thinking

“Yea, yea, i know, I’M sabotaging my success, I get it already!”

Well, in this case, you’d be wrong about what’s about to go down.

Look, I’m not a fan of pointing the finger and assigning blame to external factors, but there is some shit you gotta deal with. It’s not going to be fun.

I don’t want excessive preamble, but I mean it — reading this might be really painful. I have the luxury of being blunt from afar, but you have to live this first hand. To some extent, I’ve been saving this one so you get used to how I speak and communicate. It should be less of a blow, considering all of the inflammatory stuff I’ve said so far. But it might sting.

To me, this is some of the REAL REAL that you gotta address in your life if you want to be successful with fitness (and especially with food).

Imagine this:

You go home for the holidays; your mom is ecstatic to see you. She’s made your fave fave from your childhood [insert delicious indulgent nonsense that your mom or grandma makes] and beams with glee at her own thoughtfulness. You feign a smile and gratitude as you have a sinking feeling of the obvious contradiction between your goal and the proposition in front of you and the inescapable tension that always seems to arise when you turn down the food.

You are, after all, turning down their love. See, to them, being a “bit bigger” is actually healthy. It’s a sign of heartiness and resilience. They don’t understand why you want lose weight. They don’t understand your goals. Every time you lose a couple of pounds and get on your way, they complain you are “getting too skinny!” and insist you eat again to return to the shape theyare comfortable with. And so you bend, once again.

And that weekend breaks your progress and sends you tumbling back down the hard won ladder of progress. You slip back to where you were 6 months ago and feel like you are starting over.

Not you? We got more…

Imagine this:

You come from a long line of “bigger people” you’re just born that way! Nutrition and exercise isn’t a consideration because they are known to be ineffective. You are determined at birth how big you will be, and the evidence is overwhelming. After all, your WHOLE family is a little big….maybe really big

But you have a friend who was the same and succeeded! “They were lucky; they’re just starving themselves. Do you want to starve yourself?” as they layer the somewhat obnoxious amount of butter onto that slice of bread.

They laugh and hassle you as you wake up early to go for a run on the weekend.

Not you? Imagine this:

You get off work and immediately the texts start flowing in, “yo, happy hour at the bar!” “dont be lame, come have a drink, you never hang out!”

And you go, “just ONE DRINK!” — next thing you know, you’re catching up, having a blast, realizing you can push back that early morning meeting and catch a few extra minutes of sleep and have another cocktail (or 4). The next morning you’re a bit hung over, hop on the scale, see a +5 and recall all the bar food that got thrown in the mix. You swear you have to cut down on the week day social outings.

Not you? Imagine this:

You get home from work and your spouse has graciously prepared dinner (bless their heart, they work too! You just got home late). It’s your favorite, lasagna with extra cheese. You dig in to a big slice, happy to forget the day and spend some time with your loved one.

It’s the new year, so you bring up that gym membership you bought, “hey, do you want to go to the gym with me after work tomorrow night?”

“I dunno…I’ve been really busy at work, I don’t have energy after a long day”

“Ok, well what about Saturday morning?”

“Well, we planned on seeing Jenn and Chris Friday night. We’ll probably have some wine, no sense in trying to wake up early and exercise”

“ok…”

As you help yourself to another slice, you silently contemplate if your social fabric is just based on food and booze. When was the last time you did something….active? It’s been 8 years since you were in that softball league and you feel the weight of inactivity creeping in.

“What about a midday hike? You know, sleep in, then just go for a walk…the weathers been awesome!”

“You know my back has been hurting…I don’t think that’d be any fun…”

None of these are you? That’s outstanding! Because this is the stuff I see all day every day as people try to navigate their fitness, self-improvement and goal setting. Where they NEED a supportive community to help undergo the initial steps of what seems near impossible, they receive instead a defeated disinterest, encouragement for counter-productive behavior or active cynicism against such ideas.

And the call to action ALMOST seems like you have to disown your friends and family (you don’t!) but there is a constant pressure to put your needs secondary to the peacefulness of the overall pack. To disrupt the consensus is to become an outcast.

For many people, this hurts too much to even acknowledge — the rationalizations I’ve heard require mental gymnastics of the most elite variety. But I want to be your shield. I want you to point to me — I’ll gladly take the blame as you venture out boldly to do something that no one else supports! You can always say, “my coach says…” and as your extra pounds melt away, your back pain goes away, your life improves in quality that you never thought possible…your friends and family turn their cynicism into jealously, then curiosity…then they want in.

Being a leader of fitness in your circle is hard. Obstacles are at every turn. But YOU could be the catalyst to change the lives of the people around you and everyone gets a boost for your courage

If you’ve made it this far, congrats — this isn’t easy stuff to think about if it’s a pernicious force in your life. So I gotta ask — which one is it? Did I leave one out? you can vent here safely, promise.