Hello friends! I'm in the process of writing my second book, and I notice myself spinning around a bit like a dog trying to find the perfect sleeping spot. There are so many things that I'm excited to write about! I wonder if you could help me decide which path to take first? What follows is the first chapter of a book I've been working on. If this topic interests you and you find yourself wanting to read more, please let me know! I greatly appreciate you taking the time to stop by and help me out.
Anyone can be an athlete - even you
How to unleash the athlete within
When I got back from running the John Muir Trail in the fall of 2013, I began writing about the experience with reckless abandon. The pilgramage into self was so transformational and laced with so many flavors and textures that the book gushed out of me in a rushing torrent. It was a story that I simply had to tell. Since the completion and publication of that book (In the Footsteps of Greatness) the journey has continued in exciting and sometimes unexpected ways. I quickly discovered that while the book was many things – a guidebook, a memoir, an adventure – it was the vulnerability and the struggle that really resonated with people; it was my willingness to keep going, even after stumbling mightily, and my deep belief in the power of the human spirit.
It is for these reasons that I realized I have another story to tell.
After scaling towering passes, facing down bears, and running out of food over 212 miles of high Sierra terrain and climbing those last steps up Mount Whitney, what I felt was… a quiet and intense appreciation for what we are all capable of and a burning passion to help other people touch what I had just touched. I know in my bones that I’m just an ordinary guy who is willing to take on extraordinary challenges – and that I am no different than you in the ways that matter. Sure we have unique toolboxes; you may process oxygen a little better than me, I may put on muscle more quickly than you; but we are all capable of staring down our self-imposed limitations and stepping into our own greatness. And even better, we can add to our toolboxes anytime we want to!
As young boy I had an empty toolbox. (As I write this I can see my mom raising her eyebrows and preparing to defend the ghost of my childhood, so let me rephrase) As a young boy I couldn’t find any of the tools in my toolbox. I was sensitive and afraid of anything that carried me out of my comfort zone. Camp? Too far from home. Football? Too much yelling. I focused on school and baseball. Two things I was good at and that made me feel safe.
Eventually I matured enough to tentatively dip my toes into the scary river of the unknown, and slowly realized that these waters are rich with life! This is where all the sticky stuff happens. Pain, loss, and struggle of course, but also immense joy, passion, purpose, and dare I say it – fun! As I went from dipping my toes, to hyperventilating into waist deep water, to eventually taking a deep breath and diving in - the more time I spent in the unknown the clearer I became that this “place” is why we’re here. What is life if we are not willing to live it?
It also became clear that I am capable of so much more than I think I am. I systematically forged myself into an athlete. (And this is not about how “good” I am. There are plenty of people who are faster than me and who have done amazing things. As you will see it’s about much more than that) I began as a chubby, insecure kid and have now done things like Ironman, and running alone in the wilderness for days on end. I’m really proud of that and I’m not ashamed to admit it. It feels good to face your fears and come out on the other end with a smile. And it excites me so much knowing that you can feel that pride too!
I am blessed to spend much of my days helping people navigate these waters. My wife and I own a gym in Sacramento, CA where I work as personal trainer, nutritionist, and run coach. I’ve had endless conversations with clients about all the subjects in this book; in fact many of them served as invaluable sounding boards when I told them I was writing it. They all came to me in various states of despair and disrepair, wanting to be healthier, happier, and stronger. Almost none of them saw themselves as athletic or capable. This is a sad and all too common story. But then, more quickly than you might think, they start to move more fluidly. Pain lessens. Muscles appear. Possibilities emerge. And at some point they walk into the gym with a grin and an electric twinkle in their narrowed eyes and I know it’s happened. The lightbulb has exploded above their heads. Their inner athlete has awakened.
So imagine you are a new client and we’re chatting as you warm-up before a workout. Maybe you’ve never done anything to push your body but would love to run a 5K. Maybe you’ve played with weight lifting but would secretly like to compete at the CrossFit games. Maybe you’re an experienced triathlete but you’re afraid of Ironman. Whoever you are and whatever your story, I want you to know this: You may not see yourself as an athlete now, but you are. It’s there inside you just waiting to be unleashed! I hear from people all the time, “I didn’t even think of myself as an athlete until you told me I was.” Well, you are!
What follows is everything I’ve learned on my own journey, as well as over a decade of helping people find and embrace the athlete within. If you want to do more and be more with your body; if you feel like your limits are still out there waiting to be found; if you hear the chanting echoes of your primal ancestors urging you forward – you are in the right place. It’s going to be an exhilarating, often uncomfortable, sometimes terrifying, life altering journey - and I promise you the rewards are bountiful and sweet. Will you join me?