Goal setting 101


A recent study stated that 73% of gym joiners in January have a weight loss goal and over a 365 day period only 14% of those will succeed. Let’s talk about how to up the success rate. Without a doubt, setting the right goal is the most important part of your fitness journey. Read any piece about success; what it takes to get there, who did what & how. All will come back to some version of, “Start with the end in mind.” This makes overcoming obstacles along the way easier especially the more desirable the end result is.

Change is difficult. Very difficult. People make the decision to change when their current situation is more uncomfortable than their perception of the change. Since 2001 as a Fitness Professional, when I ask people any variation of, “What are your goals?” or “What are you training for?” The standard reply is…”Lose weight & tone up.” (LW&TU). If this is your goal I have one request; DO NOT join a gym. Let me explain why. Someone with a LW&TU goal wants their life to change, but they haven’t yet decided to change their life. If that last sentence didn’t click, read it again. I’ll wait.

So let’s look at something most can relate to; Consider two people who want financial success. One wants to, “Be rich”. The other wants a successful career in Law. The first commits to buying at least one lottery ticket every week and checking in on the numbers. The latter knows he is not where he wants to be and sets forth on a journey to find the missing links. He will meet new people, see and experience things he never imagined. He may also make missteps along the way but hopefully knows that is not just the cost of taking steps but a lesson in and of itself. The former will become entrenched in a community of shortsightedness and selfishness. Each ticket they buy moves them further into a position of entitled victimization that becomes harder and harder to return from.

It doesn’t mean they can’t be coaxed.

The fact is many will bring me the LW&TU goal over the next few weeks. To which I will reply, “Why?” This usually spirals into a cycle of generic answers vs. quick Why replies… like, “Because my doctor told me I have to lose weight” Or “So I can run a 5K.” Or “Because I want a six pack like (favorite celeb).” or any of the defensive BS that people put up, until I hear a little bit of truth. Something like, “Because I want to feel better!”

JACKPOT!!! Understand that this isn’t the total answer that I’m looking for. But it is the crack in the built up wall that can lead us to the truth. As soon as I hear anything along these lines, The tempo of the conversation changes. Instead of the sharp Why!?! replies, I let their statement sink in. I’ll then ask, “Can you tell me more about that?” “When is the last time you felt really good?” Or one of my favorites, “Paint me the picture of you feeling GREAT.” This is where they tell me about time playing with kids, activities with friends and experiencing LIFE! The life they want back! NOW, we can come back to their current positions and start building daily tasks to get from here to there. Now we build their plan.

This is where it gets really interesting. This is where they come back to me with “next level” goals. I’ve had people bring me, ‘Climb Kilimanjaro’,’Be a competitive Fencer’ or my personal favorite; ‘compete and place in Ballroom Dancing competitions’. This was a woman who had never taken an athletic venture in her life. 5 months after joining the gym she placed 2nd in her category. How many times in those 5 months did she step on a scale? 0. She felt better, she looked better, she had more confidence; so who gives a shit what the scale says. By the way, when she finally did step on a scale, the BMI charts scored her as over weight. But the beautiful part was she no longer cared. She was too busy becoming what she wanted to be. I should also note that her Doctor was amazed at the up turn in all her health markers.

Now, to come back to your goal for this year; close your eyes, picture 10, 20 or 30 years from now. Who do you want to be? Get that crystal clear picture. Then start your plan.

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Is Less Really More?


I keep hearing, “Less is more” and WANT to agree with this statement but kept feeling like there’s more to it (ironic, I know). Left to just, “Less is more” most would have more questions. I know I did.

So today I was reading an article on “11 Simple Concepts to Become a Better Leader” and saw the epiphany inducing quote by Milton Glasser… “Less isn’t more, just enough is more.” The concept of less being more allows people to continue to believe that starving themselves is making them healthier or that they need to give up a happy life for a healthy one; when any sane healthy person knows that getting more out of life is THE driving force behind health and fitness.

So I wanted to come up with a concept that would help people make better decisions as they look to get healthier. And I had this idea in my head that makes SO MUCH SENSE… to me. But, as I’ve passed the advise on it’s taken as a clichéd note. So I wanted to define it as clearly as I can, word by word:

Living Lean Helps You Live Lean.

Living – Life. The day to day. Day in and day out of the same thing. This patterned monotony often drives us to “retail therapy”. A quick fix to make us feel like we’ve accomplished something. What we are really doing is just filling a void. A void that is rooted in depravity and truly healed setting a goal that you are committed to. Something that, maybe scares you a bit but also stirs a passion in you.

Lean – Minimalism. You don’t go without, you hack away the unessentials to life. You rid yourself of the deadweight in life that slows you down. You don’t hunger for consumptive possession. You look to create something; an experience of a homemade meal that the whole family is part of, a project that you and your daughter work on that becomes her first car, and the goal you set doesn’t take away from the important parts of your life (career, family, social, etc) but fits within them and possibly connects them even more.

Helps – Teaches. These choices put you in positions where you build experience. Where you learn exactly what you are truly capable of. You learn that when all else fails, you won’t.

You – This one should be the easiest, right? Maybe. You at your core. I heard John Wooden say that, “Your reputation is who you are perceived to be, your character is who you really are.” ‘You’ is your character.

Live – Thrive. This is not “maintaining life”. This is L-I-V-I-N, LIVIN’!!! When you go to work on Monday, the rest of the office can’t wait to ask you, “What did you do this weekend?” ‘cuz you’re the guy who always has the amazing answers.

Lean – Healthy. Mind, body and soul. We’ve all felt one or more of these parts of our life cluttered at one point or another. Lean is not cluttered. Lean is functioning at full capacity and loving every minute of it.

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The Best Workouts for Sexual Stamina

This was an interesting interview. Often, when people seek out a Trainer or Coach, “getting some” is high on the list of goal. As I said in my contribution to the article (#2) you should view it as an athletic event you can get better at.

The Best Workouts for Sexual Stamina. by Astroglide.

Imagine that the thing you want most in the world is at the top of a steep mountain. You lace up your hiking boots, strap on your backpack and set out to reach the summit with a smile of iron-willed determination. The climb gets steeper, but you persevere. The rocks under your feet crumble and you slip backwards, but still you push on. The air grows thin and just as it seems the thing you want most in this world, the thing at the top of the mountain peak, is within reach, your lungs give out and your knees buckle. You slide backwards, trip and tumble until you’re back at the bottom of the mountain with no backpack, one hiking boot and zero energy to try again. Now imagine the thing at the top of the cliff is an orgasm.

Reaching the heights of sexual pleasure can sometimes seem impossible, especially if your own body is working against you. Luckily, there are steps you can take to sexercise your way to better sexual stamina. We asked sex, health and fitness experts which workouts they recommend to clients who want to have sex longer, stronger, and well, just plain better. Here’s what they had to say:

5 Exercises for Sexual Stamina

  1. Make it Bounce. The workouts you do to increase sexual stamina don’t have to be boring. In fact, Sex Therapist Jacqui Olliverrecommends one that you’ve probably loved since you were a kid — jumping on a trampoline. “Rebounder bouncing, or bouncing on a mini trampoline, increases blood flow to all areas of your body and strengthens your lower body support muscles including your pelvic floor, abdominals, hips, thighs and lower legs,” says Jacqui.

“Rebound for 10 minutes a day to enhance your overall health and sexual fitness.” Feel a little silly bouncing around? Set up your trampoline in your TV room and bounce while you watch your favorite show — or watch music videos and jump along to the beat!


  1. Focus on Strength. According to Personal Trainer and Nutritionist Brandon Mancine, “There are 10 physical skills that can be developed to enhance performance. Of the 10, strength has the greatest carryover to every other skill. So if you’re looking at sex as an athletic performance (and you should, for you and your partner’s sake) work on pound for pound strength. This type of training also happens to elicit a hormonal response that will increase sex drive so its a win all around.”

Which exercises does Brandon recommend for building strength? “Squats will have the greatest effect on total body strength, kettlebell swings are a great addition as well for a easy to do anywhere strength, power, endurance workout (good hip action too!)” You can do these in the TV room too, but we definitely recommend swinging the kettlebell AWAY from your flatscreen.

  1. Stretch It Out. Ever wonder why dancers have a reputation for being great in bed? Donna Flagg, the creator of Lastics, credits it to the flexibility that comes from consistent stretching. “I’ve had many students tell me, (very surprised) that their sex lives improved from my stretch classes. And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Stretching (if you’re doing it right) not only creates flexibility but also control in the muscles, particularly in the pelvis.” Try Lastics for yourself, or create your own stretching in the morning or before and after your regular workouts.
  2. Practice Second Position. Jennifer McCamish is a former Radio City Rockette, personal trainer and owner of Dancers Shape, a barre and Pilates studio in Austin, Texas. She agrees that when it comes to improving sexual stamina, you can learn a lot from professional dance. “The stronger and more flexible you are around the hip joints, the easier it is to spice up your sex life by exploring different positions that might normally be difficult to get into or hold for an extended period of time,” says McCamish.

To help achieve these goals, she recommends getting into second position. “Bend your knees as low as you can without letting your shoulders collapse forward or your tailbone stick out. Engage your abdominals back towards your spine and pull your ribs together so you are supported through your lower back. Begin to dip one inch down and lift one inch up and feel the weight in your heels with light toes. With each lift, exhale and feel the area between the sits bones and pubic bone pull together and upwards.

According to McCamish, “This exercise will work the most critical muscles needed for enjoyable sex, the pelvic floor, while at the same time stretching and strengthening the inner thighs, glutes, quads and knees to help you conquer more exciting and adventurous sexual positions. It also builds body awareness so you know what muscles to activate for a more intense climax.” Sounds like it’s worth a try to us!

  1. Pace Yourself. Want to know how to have better sex? One of the easiest changes you can make is varying your pace. Alternate between faster, more forceful thrusts and slower, more sensual moves. This will help with sexual stamina by making it easier to stretch out sessions, and it’ll also build up your sexual energy so when you orgasm you REALLY orgasm.

Fitness Trainer and Health Coach Clint Fuqua says a great way to work on switching it up is to do sprints and HIIT (high intensity interval training). “Even if you’re going for a marathon session in the sack, you’ll need to be able to go from slow to fast pace over and over again. The best way to keep your body from giving out before you get off is to make sure it can handle all the ups and downs for as long as you want to go or until that little blue pill loses effectiveness.” The more you practice sprints and other cardio of the HIIT variety, the easier time you’ll have!

Any of these moves will help you sexercise your way to increased sexual stamina, and the more work you put in outside the bedroom, the easier it’ll be to put in work inside. But keep in mind that your overall performance level is affected by other habits and choices too! Here are just a few more things you can do to keep yourself at peak sexing shape:

  • Stay hydrated throughout the day
    Limit your alcohol before sessions
    ●      Eat a balanced diet full of whole foods
    ●      Limit your refined sugar intake
    ●      Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
    ●      Take a daily multivitamin
    ●      Limit smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke
    ●      Remember to slow down, switch positions and change things up

Remember that above all, sex should be fun! So if you’re straining and struggling don’t be ashamed to take a break or suggest a different position, or to break open that free sample of Astroglide to cut down on the friction. Anyone who isn’t understanding and accommodating isn’t worth doing all that sexercise for anyway.

Have you tried any of the moves we mentioned? Have your own unique tip for increasing sexual stamina? We’d love to hear it — tweet us @Astroglide and share your thoughts!

Are You Overtraining? Here’s How to Tell:

Overtraining. 10 years ago it was the buzzword that kept a lot of people from seeing results. Now it’s almost a goal for some. As if their effort is the payoff in gym regardless of results (I’ve seen plenty of people bragging about injuries from “going so hard”) Others state that there are only a few people in the world that are capable of overtraining. If you think this is the case, then start squatting now and don’t stop until I personally tell you to… like face to face.

So, are you overtraining? Here’s how to tell: Does your exercise program make your life more difficult? If yes, then you are overtraining.

This does not mean that being sore is overtraining. If you are looking to compete in a bodybuilding or figure competition then you have accepted what comes with it… ALL that come with it (the muscle stiffness that comes from hypertrophy) and you will have some rough days. But you’re an adult and that is your choice. If you have decided to train for athletic competitions, Crossfit style or OCR then you can expect some bumps and bruises, because that’s what comes with these competitions. These are a sport and just like any other and again, being an adult, you need to take ownership of that.

Now, if your goal is to increase longevity and quality of life because you want more energy and to spend time with your family, but you can’t walk for 3 days after you workout, then you may not be getting what you want from exercise. So make sure you’re putting the right effort and resources into it. You should feel that there is change happening in your body and you should be progressing but ultimately health and fitness is about getting more out of life.

Put in work. Eat for fuel and recovery. Learn something new. Have some fun. Get some sleep. Repeat that 90% of the time and you are a fit and healthy person.

Don’t Be a Dumbbell: Avoid These 11 Common Gym Mistakes

Written by Amy Roberts.

Trainers see just about everything when it comes to bad gym behavior, from moves that put muscles and joints at risk to careless habits that endanger the health of others (or simply annoy them).

SafeBee asked several trainers about the most common mistakes they see, and for their advice on how to stay injury — and embarrassment — free at the gym.

Mistake #1: Engaging in boot-camp madness

You’re pumped you made a commitment to get fit, and you can’t wait to crush your first workout. But do too much too soon, and at the very least you’ll be very sore. “Two-a-days and high-intensity boot camps are for sports and the military, not for building a solid base of a healthy life and body,” says Dallas-area fitness trainer and health coach Clint Fuqua, NASM-CPT. “Simply surviving a workout is not the way to increase health for the long term and will normally leave you on injury reserve, getting depressed and fat on the couch.”

Mistake #2: Diving in without warming up

You want to get in and out of the gym in the most efficient way possible. But don’t just go full-swing into yourkettlebell swings or strength circuit or sprint intervals without first priming your muscles for the demands you’ll be making on them. “I rarely see anyone do anything related to a warm-up: no foam rolling, no stretching, let alone a dynamic warm-up,” says Henry Halse, CSCS, ACSM-CPT, a trainer in Philadelphia. Spending a few minutes doing arm circles, leg swings, and a few warm-up squats, for example, can save you pain and possible injury later.

Related: Injury-Proof Your Exercise Resolution

Mistake #3: Believing the calorie burn on the screen

Cardio machines display all sorts of numbers: distance traveled, speed, heart rate. And every gym-goer’s fave: calorie burn. Sad news: This number could be inflated — by up to 42 percent, according to one report.

Mistake #4: Sticking to all cardio, all the time

Access to treadmills and ellipticals may have been your impetus for joining the gym, but don’t get cardio tunnel vision. “If you do the same aerobic workout every day, your body will adapt and you won’t see the changes you want,” says Kate Vidulich, ACSM-CPT and the founder of FatLossAccelerators.com. Mixing up your routine is essential to keeping your muscles — and you — from getting bored.

Be sure to also lift weights or do some other form of resistance training, especially if you want to maximize your calorie burn even after you leave the gym (this is known as the after-burn effect). “Strength training increases basal metabolic rate (BMR) meaning you use more calories to live,” says San Antonio-based personal trainerBrandon Mancine, NASM-CPT.

Related: How to Stay Germ-Free at the Gym

Mistake #5: Lifting weights that are too light

“Women in particular tend to underestimate their lifting ability, and therefore never reach their full training potential,” says Vidulich. “Why? They don’t want big muscles. But lifting light weights for a billion reps won’t create the intensity required to get any noticeable results.” How do you know that you’re properly loaded? If you can do 10 reps and feel like you could do easily do five or more additional ones, you gotta go up. Ideally, you should have just enough gas to maybe churn out two or three more.

Mistake #6: Lifting weights that are too heavy

Overloading yourself is a bad idea, too, and a recipe for injury. “Not everyone has the biomechanical or neuromuscular structure to control heavy squats or bench pressing, so don’t put square pegs in round holes,” says Marc Megna, CSCS, an NFL player turned strength coach and co-founder of Miami’s Anatomy at 1220. “There are regressions, progressions, and alternatives for every exercise. The goal of every training session should be to be able to perform the next training session.” If you’re not sure how to choose the right weight or exercise for you, ask a trainer.

Related: Can’t Get Into the Exercise Habit? Try this Trick

Mistake #7: Ignoring your form

How you perform an exercise is as important to your wellbeing as getting to the gym in the first place. Bad posture, incorrect or incomplete range of motion, and compensating with one muscle when you’re looking to work another — all of these mistakes not only sacrifice the quality of your workout but increase your risk of injury. “For strength training, I tell my clients: Learn the movement, then challenge the movement,” says Mancine. This often means literally going through the motions with no weight at first.

Mistake #8: Zoning out on cardio machines

Bad form can happen on cardio machines, too. It’s easy to just let the machine chug along and not watch your posture, or worse. “I can’t tell you how often I see people on stepmills looking to work legs and butt, hunched over in a posture that makes it impossible to fire their glutes fully if at all,” Mancine says. Never hold on to a cardio machine unless it’s designed for you to do so (like ellipticals with moving handles), and look straight ahead — not up at a TV or down at your magazine — to avoid neck troubles.

Mistake #9: Not consulting a pro

For some reason, people are unlikely to ask for help or advice from the trainers at the gym. (Educated guess: They’re worried she’ll try to hard-sell them to buy sessions.) Instead, they watch other gym-goers to get ideas, or chat with the lifter on the bench next to them. “Commercial gyms are also universities of ‘broscience,’” Halse says. “When someone has a question, everyone instantly becomes a fitness/nutrition/rehab expert and gives their two cents — it makes me cringe.” First, the advice might be flat-out wrong, and second, what might work for one person’s body or goals may not work for another’s. Many gyms offer complimentary training sessions when you sign up. Take advantage. Ask lots of questions. (And have your “thanks but no thanks” speech ready for the sales portion, if need be.)

Related: How to Avoid a Treadmill Accident

Mistake #10: Not dressing for success

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it happens. “Booty shorts and flip-flops both have their place and it’s not in the gym,” Fuqua says. “Leave the beachwear in the bag and come to the gym dressed to train so you can look great at the beach later.” That means, ideally, wearing clothing made of performance material that wicks sweat away from your skin and dries quickly, and choosing appropriate shoes for your activity.

Mistake #11: Being a slob

Do your part to keep this shared space tidy. Follow the rule kids are taught in kindergarten: If you use it, put it away. And that’s not all. “I get it — working out is sweaty business. But not wiping down the equipment or cleaning up after yourself really gets up my nose,” says Vidulich. “Please use a towel!” Wiping down surfaces before and after you touch them is also a good way to avoid getting sick at the gym.

Amy Roberts is a certified personal trainer. She writes about fitness, health and a variety of other topics for many well-known publications.

See the original article here: http://www.safebee.com/health/dont-be-dumbbell-avoid-these-11-common-gym-mistakes

Skip The Scale: Non-Traditional Ways To Measure Weight Loss

In an interview I did with about.com’s Mountain Biking expert Beth Puliti, we spoke about “non-traditional ways to measure weight loss”. I would have rather seen it titled, “Nontraditional way to measure increased health” but I understand which would get more clicks. Here is my contribution with a link to the full article at the bottom.


Ride Your Bike & Set Goals
In addition, Brandon Mancine, certified personal trainer, nutritionist and owner of B-Fit Personal Training/Brandon Mancine Fitness in San Antonio, TX, has clients do the following:

1. Regularly take part in an active hobby that you enjoy. As you get in better shape, your physical abilities will increase. This means you can accomplish more. If you weekly take part in an active hobby (let’s say… ballroom dancing), you will be less likely to skip a workout because you are experiencing how it improves your life by allowing you to do more of what you enjoy.

2. Develop an empowering goal. It could be tied to that hobby (compete in a ballroom competition) or to deadlift your bodyweight, run a mile in a certain time. But have something that you will accomplish by a certain date and set a plan to get there.

Full article:  http://mountainbike.about.com/od/fitnesstrainingracing/fl/Skip-The-Scale-Non-Traditional-Ways-To-Measure-Weight-Loss.htm

Likes Become Things. Are You Stuck in a Social Media Victim Cycle?

Lately, I keep hearing people say they are quitting social media because there’s too much negativity on their feed. Hopefully you read that and thought the same thing I did: “You know you control what’s on your feed, right?” Now bear with me as I am not saying that everyone needs facebook, twitter and the like. It’s your world do as you wish, but it serves to at least ask the question; If you quit this medium all together with the aim of creating more positivity in your life, how are you going to make sure you don’t cultivate the same negativity in the rest of your life?


It’s been said that the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. So if you find a constant chain of doom and gloom flooding your screen when you log on, why not try changing your feed? Why not set yourself up to be in a better mood? Scrub your friends list of the naysayers and Debbie Downers. Go through your ‘page like’ selections and purge the pages that don’t give you an instant “warm ‘n’ fuzzy” when you see them. Now you have created some space. Next, attract some good by liking some pages that promote education, growth and health (mental and physical). Look for community pages that share local events and take part. What I’m saying is use social media for what I believe is its intended purpose: To make your life better. In that name, there is a next step that is very important. Batch your time for e-mail, posting, sharing and scrolling. There is a big world out there and if you want as awesome an experience as possible, I suggest using social media platforms as resources. Set times during the day when you can log on. Other than that, be out and engage with the world!

I have had the good fortune to travel and live several different places and through it all I have met some amazing people. These sites have allowed me to keep in touch with them in a way that was not possible for previous generations. I also love what social media has done for information sharing but again, I am cognizant of what fills my feed. I do make an effort to read something opposed to my views once a month. I feel it’s a good practice for staying informed about what is out there without being over run.

If you’re considering wiping the slate clean of all platforms, I applaud the intent but ask you to consider changing the way you use them. Look to other avenues to actively bring more good into your world. (Check out Jonthan De La Garza’s Positive Pin) If you want your world to change, you have to be the one to change.


If you enjoyed this post, please share! Want some more “good vibes”? Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for continued updates!

Fire All Your Clients


Now Hiring: Partners
Throughout my fifteen years as a fitness professional, colleagues have complimented my work by commenting on the work ethic and results of my trainees. My trainees have complimented my work by keeping my book full and giving me the results that my colleagues notice. So how do I get the results? How do I keep a full book of high achieving, focused, and dedicated trainees?

I pre-qualify who I work with.

Let me be clear… I don’t care if it’s a Benz in the lot, I care if it was on time for our appointment (or fifteen minutes early); I don’t look for a Rolex, I listen for determination and a hunger to grow when goals are spoken; I’m seeking partners.

I’m not interested in taking any more clients… ever. Clients are consumers. They want to pay for my time, put their faith in me, and hope that I’ll change their life or, (it hurts to say this) some just look to talk about my services as a status symbol. I, like many other trainers, have been credited with changing many lives. Let’s be clear: neither I, nor any other trainer, is in the business or capable of changing anyone else’s life. I provide options and direction. I offer education and motivation. Clients set their goal and if they take what I offer, they will reach that goal. Many make progress, but when they leave their comfort zone, they quit. They choose to remain a client, consuming my time like a commodity, but never investing to change their self. I’ve had many trainees meet their goal and still remain a client. Once the goal is met, even before, I advise that we set the next goal to continue progress and continue their investment and truly make it a lifestyle. They meet the goal and want to ‘maintain.’ Maintenance is boring, so they wander, lose focus, and come back into me months or years later wanting to push the reset button on the goal we set way back when. They never invested in changing themselves. They PAID for my time and knowledge to meet a goal, but they didn’t INVEST in change.

Partners invest. They bring a goal, conviction to achieve that goal, and an understanding that the next goal will be waiting when we get there. Partners want to learn. They want to use me as a resource, but know that I’m not their guru. I’ll give them my professional opinion, provide them additional resources that I approve, and consult them on any outside opinions they bring to me. Additionally, I like to recommend that some of my trainees get a good PT certification. Some trainers worry that this will devalue their service – I offer them an exit to the profession. Like I said, I’m no one’s savior, but I’m not taking hostages here, either. I want my partners to have a better understanding of the knowledge behind the effort. My partners won’t always be training with me, but I will always be a resource for them. In turn they will be a resource for me – teaching me, enriching my professional and personal life, and filling my book with referrals.
That’s how I fill my book with driven, goal oriented, knowledgeable success stories. I seek driven, goal oriented people, cultivate knowledge, and we partner up on the story.

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Willing to be the Weakest. A Guest Post.

The fitness industry is rife with “know it all” blogs that consistently bash and slander other programs. Constantly posting, “Top 5 Exercises to Avoid!” or “The Reason I Don’t Do (XXX) Program”. It is my opinion that this is one of the biggest challenges the industry faces. Anyone who has internet access and a phone can portray themselves as an expert and there are unfortunately hordes of people willing to jump on a bandwagon to hate anything.

And then there’s guys like Mike Gillette. Below is the most recent post from his page. I can’t think of a situation where a person shouldn’t read this.

Willing to be the Weakest

By Mike Gillette


At two key points in my life I made an important decision. Both times it was the same decision. That decision was to be the weakest person at the gym.

The first time was in 1981. I had just turned 19 and had been living a life characterized by fear, negativity and weakness. In order to reverse course, I knew I would need to do, think and believe the opposite of what I had previously done, thought and believed. So I did.

Intuitively I must have understood that I would never be able to start thinking strong or acting strong unless I actually felt strong. And at 19, I “knew” that in order to get strong, you had to join a gym. So I joined. It was a confusing place, particularly for someone who didn’t know anything about training. There were gleaming chrome Universal and Nautilus machines and an assortment of dumbbells and barbells. It seemed like a lot of stuff to have to figure out.

But the bigger challenge was just walking into that place. A place where I didn’t feel as though I belonged. At that point in time I was as far away from being a physical person as anyone could be. Skinny, weak and I had only recently stopped poisoning my body with drugs and alcohol. I was the weakest person at the gym and I knew it. I assumed everybody else knew it too. It was a circumstance I very much wanted to change. So I did.

Within three year’s time, I went from being the weakest person in the gym to an Army paratrooper who achieved perfect scores on every one of his physical training tests, to aformer Army paratrooper with a broken back. Because of a climbing accident, I had actually managed to become physically weaker than I had been  when I began my strength journey in 1981.

But the one thing in my favor was that in those intervening years I had learned how to “think” strong and “act” strong. So I did. Sometimes.

After almost a year of getting comfortable with things like walking and standing, I started to think about what it might take to “feel” strong again. And just like before, I knew that I needed to join a gym. Between 1986 and 1988 I actually joined five or six different gyms. They were all short-term memberships. Because each time I would start working out, it would take only about a week or two for my back injuries to become so unbearable that I would have to stop. I would then spend several depressing months sitting around feeling weaker than before. But eventually I would gather myself up and join another gym. And the process would repeat itself.

It was in January of 1989 that I made the decision to be the weakest person in the gym for what would be the last time. I had gone almost a year without even trying to train. The endless disappointments had taken a toll and I didn’t want to go through that again. But, there I was, joining another gym. And just like the very first time, eight years earlier, I was skinny and weak. I was actually worse than weak, I felt fragile.

Happily, this story turns out well. But only because I’ve been willing to be the weakest person in the gym. Being weak in a gym full of strong people sucks. But it only sucks for a while. Because eventually you get strong too. And once you’re strong, you can share that strength with someone else. Maybe you’ll share your strength with the weakest person in the gym. I hope so.