Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Birthday Edition: 25 Notes on Life, Love and Lifting

Over the weekend I celebrated my 39th birthday with my wife and a trip to New York City for some great food and a Broadway show. No more late nights for me chugging beers and hopping from bar to bar; nowadays I prefer a nice quiet night being inspired and awed by the little things in life from my family, talent, and goodness. Throughout the weekend, I contemplated on the many things I see around me changing. And the beauty of my ability to remain steadfast and in control. Here are 39 things (one for each year of my life) that provoked a thought:

1.) After the show, we hit up a great brewery in Manhattan near Times Square. Sadly, as I looked around the restaurant, everyone was checking out their cell phones. No one was engaged in '"real" conversation. Did technology kill the ability humans have to create discussion? Are we that bored that we need to be entertained constantly? 

2.) So many people own iPhones. We have become a nation that buys from one of two suppliers: the leading one or the leading competitor. Other tertiary producers are vanishing. On my trip to NYC, every person had an iPhone. Not to knock Apple...but seriously...these people are "owned" by Apple. 

3.) You have to have a life outside of fitness. I'll be honest with and personal my J.O.B. It is a job I am passionate about and feel dedicated to. I have responsibilities to fitness and personal training and that is why I continue to train and maintain a steady business. My true passions in life involve family, travel, and experiencing new things. I have seen and met many people that were immersed in fitness that they became borderline mentally ill---distorted body image disorders, obsessive compulsive (OCD), anxiety and low self esteem. I'm sorry, but I don't smile when I'm lifting. Sometimes I hate it. I tend to view it as a marriage of sorts--a necessity in my life that I am obligated and responsible to maintain my health and well-being.

4.) Three weeks ago I managed to slip on my kitchen floor and split my elbow with a deep laceration. It needed stitches and I rushed to the ER. I was met by young male ER doctor--maybe 27, 28, 29 years old--straight from walking across the graduation stage. He was over weight looking close to 350 pounds. In the room, he was sweating profusely and trying to keep his pants up. I, being the management-minded that I am, began small talking with him. He told me many of the visits he had seen so far were for flu-like symptoms and I was his first "real"case for that day. As he stitched away at the elbow and tried to wipe his sweat, he said to me: "See you're making me work today, aren't ya?" It bothers me that today's workforce, really doesn't want to work. They want to have an easy time and get paid for it. His comment really resonated with me and made me fearful for tomorrow's work-force and the aptitude of our society. 

5.) I am really glad that I come from immigrant parents. They taught me hardwork, honesty, and responsibility.

6.) If I worked as hard as I do in reality on my online presence  I would be more known around fitness circles. Truth  is, I can care less. I went to a fitness seminar last year and met a very famous fitness professional. I was excited to see him in attendance and though he was there to learn. However,  the whole time he was sitting during the presentation  he was tweeting about "being there". During the hands-on portion, I watched him sit in a corner and work his social media audience and tweet away. 

7.) I don't want to make everyone spreads me too thin. I only want to make the people in my life happy that matter to me. That is what keeps me grounded. 

8.) I am surrounded by weakness. I am getting so sick of everyone wearing these glasses:

There's is nothing that says it louder and more clearer: "I WANT TO FIT IN. I WANT YOU TO LIKE ME". The more I see people trying to look like the crowd, the more their weakness is exposed.

9.) It really says alot about the people that wish you a happy birthday on Facebook....and its says alot about those that don't.

10.) There's so much talk about the dead lift lately,  that its making me not want to deadlift anymore. It reminds me of when Rage Against the Machine appeared on TRL on MTV  back in 2000. The more people liked them, the less I did :)

11.) People that walk slow in front of me tend to think the same way as they walk. Without direction, focus, and initiative.

12.) If you keep your client in the "corrective exercise" phase of your program for longer than 3 weeks, I guarantee they will get bored and drop out of your facility. We have to get out of this mentality that we HAVE to fix people right out of the gate. You have to develop your skills of WORKING AROUND, MODIFYING, and PLANNING AHEAD.

13.) I find it ridiculous that some Internet marketers will blatantly tell their audience that they don't train anyone anymore, yet people still flock to their website t read articles and advice about training people. 

14.) In terms of giving people advice: Training yourself and training others are APPLES AND ORANGES in my book. 

15.) As a hiring a manager, everyone that comes into an interview with me has already gotten the job...its what you say and do in the time that we meet that you lose the job.

16.) I see a paradigm shift going on in the fitness field. What we used to call FUNCTIONAL TRAINING with funny looking exercises using stability balls, balance boards, BOSUs, and disks is being replaced with exercises using bands and over-complication. I'm old school...I like to just add weight to a bar to make it more difficult.

17.) I have found that the more online presence fitness professional have, the more sensitive they become.

18.) Just because a website is called a "Development Center"; doesn't mean it is housed in a office building and answers to a "board of professionals". It is typically a young kid working out of his bedroom and using his mom as his editor and using daddy's wallet. 

19.) I have twins. Everyone tells me how tough it "must be". Truth wife and I are tough. That's why this task that God bestowed upon us is not looked at as a chore, but a challenge that we do a great job at. I laugh when other parents complain of caring for 1 baby. We have 2 and we manage. As a matter of fact, when one baby is asleep and we are only tending to the needs of the other--its like a vacation.

20.) Foam rolling is great. But I prefer massage therapy. I always recommend massage to my clients first. Depending on the therapist, a highly skilled therapist can make you feel like you are in a different body. The problem is, most people can't equate spending between $50-100 on a good session. They look at it as a waste, rather than a investment in regular maintenance for their body.

21.) I have been working in the field of fitness for 14 years now. I am proud that I have been able to make a steady income the last last 14 years even though the statistics show that trainers drop out of the field after only 2 years.

22.) I don't relate to young, egotistical people anymore. I have been through too much in my life to act precariously and lack a perceived sense of consequence for my actions.

23.) My articles online are stolen monthly by young, up and coming writers that lack the experience that I do. They try to write about it and don't have any "meat and potatoes" to what they are trying to say. So, they need to find the info and apply it to their writing themes.

24.) Your weight directly effects your work production. I had a plumber come over to change a gasket on my toilet and he weighed about 415 pounds. The area to work with was small and obstructed. The stairs to my bathroom were also an issue. It took him 4 hours to complete a 30 minute job. He left plenty of sweat stains on my carpet :)

25.) We talk about keeping training simple, yet I see so many trainers over-complicating exercises. Want it harder? Add more weight. Want it more challenging? Add more time. Want it more metabolic? Lift it faster.


  1. Timothy Brand-SpencerJanuary 30, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Totally agree about the deadlift comment, I feel the same. As soon as that deadlift ebook came out everyone was pushing it and extolling the virtues of deadlifting all of a sudden. I'm willing to bet that many of them don't deadlift and don't include it in their client programmes despite all the bullshit blog posts.

    I'm loving your refreshingly no-bullshit views!

  2. These are powerful insights and I like the best the #12 - "You have to develop your skills of WORKING AROUND, MODIFYING, and PLANNING AHEAD." - I couldn't agree more to this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us John. You're the man!

    Rick Kaselj
    Exercises For Injuries

  3. Ah yes, this is all too true. #13 and #18 grate me the most. And it is becoming more and more common. Personally I prefer to train real people all day rather than promote theories and other people's products.

  4. Great tips here. If you want to be successful in this industry you really need to make sure that you do the following tips. Good luck to everyone looking to become the best personal trainer they can be.


Thanks for checking out the blog and commenting!