I’ve been asked to speak at a conference about lifestyle makeovers at the end of January. One of my passions in life is speaking, and motivating people. Part of what makes me a great coach is my ability to motivate not necessarily my ability to technically teach. In preparing for my talk I decided to put some pen to paper and just solidify some ideas. So get ready to have your life changed.
Let me first give you some context. I am a 31 year old athlete, way past my prime. Unfortunately I spent my “prime” eating cheeseburgers and driving a truck 10 hours a day. I was born athletic. Good genetics and a rambunctious spirit. I played every sport and every sport I played I was successful at it. Even into my 20s I was skateboarding or snowboarding 8 hours a day. People were often surprised to meet my obese parents. The truth is, I was athletic, but not healthy. My eating habits were horrible. Growing up with 7 siblings we ate what we could when we could. I never considered my diet. I looked at myself and was happy so I just kept doing what I was doing. Eating and doing sports. At 20 yeas old I had a major knee injury. I did not walk for almost a year. While I healed and went back to being active, it took a toll on my body. I think I gained 40 lbs that year. I got married, got a career (or so I thought) and became a “grown up,” Just like my dad taught me. Grown ups don’t skateboard. At 26 I was the General Manager of a successful landscaping company. I was hard working and educated. I was also fat and depressed. I hated my job, I hated my body I hated my friends and I hated my life. In August 2008 I was fired! I had never been told I was not good at anything. I sat in my truck that evening and cried. I had failed. I became what I swore I never would. A failure. My job failed, my Christianity was failing, my body was failing and my marriage was failing. What would I tell people? I had intentions to change. I promised myself daily. I would go to the gym. I would read my Bible. I would pray with my wife. I would not drink a six-pack before bed. “Good intentions do not equal good results.”
The next 2 years looked like this. My mother is a highly educated witty woman. She worked as a psychologist. She was offered a better job that she took. She put in her notice at her current job and was sitting down to sign papers at her new job when she has a stroke. A paralyzing stroke. A near death stroke. She fell through a 2 hour hole where she had no job, no insurance and no right to collect unemployment or disability. It’s hard to go from working to make 100k a year to nothing. A year later my dad died, suddenly but not unexpectedly. See my dad was loving, wise and hard working, but he was also obese and very unhealthy. His heart just stopped. My mom lost their house and became more sick and depressed than anyone I had ever seen. I followed suit. My wife and I moved in with my mother to take care of her. I couldn’t even take care of myself and my wife. In a span of 3 years I had lost my job, lost my dad, lost the mom I knew and lost all confidence in myself. Time to change.
The Bible says “bear fruit in keeping with your repentance,” so I did. I applied for 1 job and 1 job only, one that would force me to change. I applied at 24 Hour Fitness. My wife and I moved out of my mom’s place, forcing all of us to get our crap together. My mom’s 2 options were get better, or die. She chose to get better. My options were work at a gym, or be homeless. You see good intentions mean nothing. If we try something, and it fails, why would we try the same thing over? We must place ourselves in a story that demands change. I sold gym memberships for 2 years, and I was good at it, record breaking good at it. I think the reason why I was successful has to do with what I had just been through. As I said, I am a good motivator. People come to gyms with good intentions. They want to change but they don’t always know how. I do. The thing about excuses is that they are valid. My family’s genetics make it harder for me to stay in shape. My busy schedule made it hard for me to go to the gym everyday. My lack of a high paying job made it hard to afford professional help. All of these excuses are valid. So are yours. But know they are YOURS not anybody else’s. Excuses are valid and they are the ones we have chosen. Jesus Jones wrote a song with the lyrics “right here right now, there is no other place I’d rather be.” Cheesy I know, but when we realize that is always true is when we can begin to choose change.
Working at 24 Hour Fitness I met Jon North. Jon is a world class Olympic Weightlifter, dynamic and unstable. A guy you would follow anywhere. So I followed him to his gym one day. I fell in love. Olympic Weightlifting was for me, and I was decent at it. Recently Crossfit has grown like crazy in popularity. Crossfit utilizes the Olympic lifts on a regular basis, so being an expert at the lifts, I found a niche. I am an Olympic Weightlifter who does Crossfit, while most in the sport are Crossfitters who Olympic lifts. I love my Crossfit friends, and I love my Weightlifting team.
My life is changed. I exist in an environment (a story) that demands me to be fit. You can to. Your excuses are valid, but you have the tools and information to make a different choice. Crossfit is a great environment to facilitate that story of change. If you don’t show, people know. $150 per month for most people is costly so you are less likely to waste it. Boring is no longer a valid excuse.
Ok let me finish. Here’s some basics to long term change.
- Your excuses are valid, Your reason to succeed must outweigh that excuse.
- Tell someone. Get a support system.
- Make it hurt. Change only comes with sacrifice.
- Your body is complicated. Get professional help.
- Gyms can be expensive, so can diabetes.
- Nothing changes if nothing changes.
- If you could do it alone, it would have already been done.
I have plenty of reasons to be a failure, and so do you. I have plenty of reasons to be fat. My circumstances are rough. I had to determine what things are most important. You can make a change but it has to be a different one than you have made before. Here’s to a new you.