This is one of the most difficult blogs I have ever had to write. Writing about personal issues is never easy. But when it is a message that everyone can benefit from, my responsibility is to share.
As a fitness professional, part of my job is traveling around the world presenting in hopes something I say can help someone else become more mentally or physically fit. I am honored to be in front of thousands of people a year and there are few rushes greater than receiving an email from someone’s whose life has been positively changed as a result of something I said, did, or wrote.
But sometimes the hardest people to reach are the closest ones to you. The “expert” always seems to be someone you don’t really know. In your own house, rarely are you seen as possessing as much expertise as someone you might find on the internet.
Helping the ones more familiar with you is not always easy. The people that you try to help the most sometimes fight back the hardest. How do I know? Because it was happening in my own home.
As any presenter knows, it is often easier to talk about some things than it is to do them. Here I was doing all I could to help people around the world and I couldn’t seem to help the one closest to me: my wife.
Amanda was an athlete in high school and college, but after a career and four children, fitness had slipped away from her. After our fourth child, she was overweight and it definitely became a household issue that put a strain on us. The weight wasn’t just holding her back, it was also hurting me because I knew if things didn’t change, our disconnect could seriously damage our relationship. I was in a tough position. Although I had the information and experience to help her, bringing up the topic would only be a painful reminder of her current condition. Any mention of working out or a better diet usually resulted in an argument and oftentimes tears (and or some Baskin Robbins in spite).
Sometimes the best time to start new things is during a big moment of change. When many things are new, it could be the best time for a fresh start.
Exactly 2 years ago, we took on one of the most drastic changes as a family and moved from New Jersey to North Carolina. We were in a new state, would be making new friends and in many ways were starting over. It would be new schools to attend, a new house to fill, and a new refrigerator to fill too. In the moving process, there were many things we left behind. Some of it was furniture and old items that were either no longer needed or no longer served us. It was also the perfect time to leave some bad habits behind too. But to do this, I learned you have to take small steps and it helps to get some other people involved.
After the move, Amanda made some new friends that all had the habit of going to the gym. I was happy when Amanda said she was going to start with one day a week (as long as I wasn’t there of course!) One day turned into two and she got past the initial soreness of training that had her limping up the stairs, the positive results started to happen. The weight started to come off, healthy foods started to show up and after a few months all my patience paid off with one magic question: “What do I have to do to get a chin up?”
It was my opening. Every experienced fighter looks for one. He or she waits for the right time, and that was my opportunity to strike. Finally, fitness wasn’t MY thing anymore. It was OUR thing and she was open to my advice. We discussed methods of getting to the right weight and getting stronger. We up’ed her training to 4 days a week and I found myself often getting less workout time than her!
But then, sitting with our two-year-old while “mommy was at the gym,” I received a video text on my phone. The video was Amanda getting the first chin up in almost two decades (and it was actually a pull up which is harder!) Of all the titles and awards I have helped people achieve, nothing made me more proud than that video.
But with any challenge, there is always more. The compliments rolled in and after losing 35 pounds, she got 2.
Then 2 became 5, and 5 became 7 chin ups in a row. Then she added more weight and even did one with 15 pounds added to her.
But it all started with that one chin up.
Whether you are looking to improve your own fitness or want to help the people closest to you, you need to find that opening. You need to be patient. But when you find his or her “chin up” you need to help how you can, positively comment when you have the chance and celebrate the successes when they happen.
This isn’t just some theory I am writing about. This is something I lived first hand.
I originally created TFW over a decade and a half ago to help the best fighters in the world prepare for battle. Ironically, now that same TFW system is helping the people closest to me fight battles in our home. Now my daughter Sofia has to worry her house record for chin ups is in jeopardy. But more importantly now she (and all our kids) have a great role model of a mom.
The impact of that one chin up has been long reaching. Do you want to know more about this exercise? I will be doing a one hour webinar on everything you ever wanted to know about the chin up on Friday May 22 at 3pm EST. If you have ever joined me for a webinar you know it will be a fun and interactive call. You can register here:
Finally, thanks to my wife for having the courage not just to make a change in her life, but more for allowing me to share the story and photos. This is just another testament to the confidence and inner strength that just one chin up can bring.
The Training For Warriors Dojo is your exclusive, members-only website to take your training, coaching, fitness and motivation to the next level. As a member of the TFW Dojo, you will have direct access to world renown fitness expert Martin Rooney.