5 Things I’d Tell My Younger Self About Fitness

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The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing – Socrates

                I can tell you that this quote speaks volumes to me. As a personal trainer, I’m always trying to get clients to not repeat the same fitness mistakes I made years ago. Getting them to take action on that is a whole another ballgame. My goal is to steer them clear of any roadblocks I encountered. Fitness is a confusing mess and it can be very easy to get knocked off track by the latest gizmo.


There was a time when I thought I knew everything. I had just finished Grad school and thought I was ready to handle world champions- I was the da man. However, reality smacked me in the face when I wasn’t progressing with my own training. Strength stalled and I couldn’t change my body. Luckily, I only experienced minor injuries. It was time to brush aside my ego and get re-educated about strength and conditioning.

That’s just one example of getting a bit of a reality bomb. Over the years I’ve had plenty other “aha” moments and would like to share them with you. If I knew these things years ago I’d be in better shape today, so take this knowledge to help you build a better body.

  1. Don’t Think in Absolutes – I use to think in black and white terms. Basically, a client should “never do (blank).” Certainly, some things work better than others, but you can also argue that everything works, just not forever. A great personal trainer knows when to apply those things.
  2. You Can’t Replace Hard Work – I love the science of training. Developing sound workout programs is always something I’m trying to improve on. But hard work trumps everything. The greatest workout routine ever developed won’t do squat for someone who won’t work hard. I often remind my clients not to get too caught up in formulas (workout programs, diet protocols) and focus more on execution.
  3. Strength is key – Getting stronger is something a lot of people avoid. Maybe its intimidation or ignorance to how to build strength. Maybe both. But being strong helps solve a lot of problems. You can lift weights heavy enough to stimulate your metabolism, you can prevent injuries, you get to feel like a superhero– the benefits are endless.
  4. One Goal – I love training. Building muscle, performing at a high level: a lot of things interest me. Plus I love a good challenge. So I would pile everything into a program – Olympic lifts, bodybuilding work, conditioning- everything and the kitchen sink. I’ve learned over the years that taking 10-12 weeks to focus on just one goal is a superior method of getting results.
  5. Take What You Do Seriously, But Not Yourself – Working out should be done in a business like manner. Get in, put in the work, and get out. You should be recording your workouts and constantly seeking progress. At the same time though, you don’t want to take yourself too seriously. I’ve known guys who live and die by their workout and poking fun at them causes a massive temper tantrum. Don’t be that guy. As they say, “insecurities are loud, confidence is silent.”

So there you have: nearly 15 years of knowledge crammed into about 300 words. In my never ending quest to learn, I’ll be sure to have another list ready in several years.

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