This past Friday, Facebook reminded me of a pivotal moment in my past by hitting me with the picture below.
Some of you know this story, but for those that don’t, here’s the summary:
In my early 20’s I was a personal trainer and self-medicating partier.
Blackout drunk 4+ nights per week, completely out of control.
This went on for a couple years. I thought I was just having fun. Hindsight tells me I was escaping reality, running from myself, ditching my responsibility as a man and a human.
It came to a head one night after a couple pieces of bad news from back home.
I got blackout drunk, got in my tiny Hyundai Tiburon, and got on the highway with the pedal to the floor.
I hit a guardrail, rolled the car over multiple times, and ended up on my roof.
Not only did I not die. I didn’t even get injured. To this day I can’t fathom how that’s possible based on the condition of the car.
The next day I got fired from my job (hey, I would have fired me too).
And I’m officially at the lowest point of my life. Any confirmation I needed that I was a screw up, I had it in spades.
I spent the next year or so floundering, going nowhere.
Then my parents had the idea that I go to firefighting academy. So, I did. I came down to Texas for the first time and did the 3 month academy.
This was exactly what I needed. The structure, the challenges, the camaraderie, the discipline that was drilled into my head. I soaked it up, as if I was starving for it.
Though I worked as a firefighter for a few years after that, I didn’t pursue it long term.
Instead, I found my way back to where I’m meant to be (in fitness).
But this training academy was one of the most pivotal and most important times of my life.
I don't know where you're at right now. Whether you're in a tough spot, or if there are just a couple things you'd like to improve.
But the truth is, it doesn't matter how many pieces your life is currently in. It's mind-blowing how much can change with a simple, but dedicated decision.
And here's where the rubber meets the road...
Everybody wants to make a positive change or two.
Very few decide to make them.
(Be one of the rare few who does)
"Man, I hate these." My early-morning client said as he finished up a set of walking lunges.
"I know man. But they're going to build you a heroic ass and quads."
He and I train at the perfect time. Halfway through his workout, the sun starts to peak up over the hills across the river and flood the studio.
"So, if you get a DWI, how long do you have to wait before you can go to Canada?" he asked.
"I'm not sure...they take them pretty seriously up there."
He has a buddy that wants to go to Quebec City for a vacation, but he isn't sure when he'll be allowed in the country, since he has a DWI on his record. A stupid mistake that will follow you around forever.
After exchanging a few thoughts on the stupid things we did when we were younger, I let him in on a fun fact about myself.
When it comes to your physical fitness, Christmas means 1 of 2 things:
1) Dread- you've been working hard to get lean and mean, and you're afraid Christmas feasting will destroy those hard-earned results.
2) Reckless Disregard- Screw it, you'll pick it up in January. For now, let's get drunk and eat a weird amount of sweets.
Whichever camp you land in, I'd like to invite you to take a different approach this year. The strategies I'm about to share with you will allow you to enjoy the holiday stress-free, but you won't need to throw away your hard-earned results to do it.
Here we go:
Tonight’s my wife’s Christmas party, which means I better get this mop on top of my head cleaned up.
But as I open the door to my usual spot, they say, “Do you have cash? Our machines down.”
What do I look like? A drug dealer? Of course I don’t have cash.
“OK, no problem” I said politely, as I turn to leave.
Half Price Books is across the street. I’ll go buy a cheap book and get some cash back for a hair cut.
I walk straight to the mythology section. This is routine, and requires no conscious thought. Within 45 seconds, I’m at the counter ready to check out.
“Do you guys do cash back?” I ask.
“No, I’m sorry we don’t.”
I’m pumped about these books, and I’ve forgotten about how badly the sides of my head need to be trimmed.
I fucking love mythology. Especially the heroic kind. And I love it for the same reason I love super heroes.
Brilliantly woven tales of great people overcoming obstacles, evil, and themselves. All for the greater good.
An ideal to strive for, never achieve, and yet, be better for it.
In stark contrast…
"So, I should workout less and eat better....this is what I'm getting from this conversation."
After asking the trainers at our gym a question or two each day about our diet and workout schedule, this is the moment it clicked for her.
Now, this is a woman who trains daily, and trains hard. Yet, she couldn't help but notice something.
The trainers at the gym, particularly the ones who happen to be in the best shape, didn't train that much. At least compared to her. No long, drawn out or daily workouts. 3-4 focused workouts per week is all it took.
How can you get so lean and muscular with just a few workouts each week? While others slug it out for hours and see a fraction of those results?