Becoming a Coach

A inaudible ringing of a boxing bell and reminds me of the ones I had been highly addicted to for nearly a year. At the time I was pursuing a lifelong dream of acting via weekly mainstage improv performances, and registered at one of the top acting courses in Los Angeles.

When Boxing/MMA entered my life when I needed it most — without even realizing it. I began ditching acting, and college classes, to make sure I could train. It began with one hour sessions, then two. Boxing, then muay thai and a bit of Ju-Jitsu.

This coach believed in the magic of training so much, he transformed his garage into a gym. With bags, mitts, and wraps ready to go. Even a pink / purple set for his feisty dynamic duo of daughters under the age of 12.

“Ready to die?” He’d greet me, and I pulled up to his home located just off — what we would call “The 5 N.” I was. Night after, night I made sure I was there hair-braided with bells on. Ready to fight until the bells rang, and resurrect in the next round.

We wore gardening gloves so that the tires, and hammers, wouldn’t splinter our hands. My white sneakers, now brown from sparring in the yard. Hoodies were worn for focus, and an extra burn.

Focus mitts became whatever I needed them to be, to ensure a viper-like-strike. The music was the metronome for the “combo,” and power punches were your opportunity to letterrip.

Every session ended with a recap, a life talk. That was the round that meant the most. Every second of work, was an exercise in dedication, persistence and focus. It was life’s rehearsal — and it was a knockout everytime.

Every night I flinched as the shower struck tender muscles. Gently gliding my Venus razor over violet hued bruises that speckled my shins. I was hooked. It was wasn’t the physical beating that lit my heart a blaze.

It was realization of a power that had gone mute. The ability to fight with everything I had to “dig deeper,” go darker, and discover levels of strength I didn’t even know were there; mentally or physically.

It was in this garage that I gained the confidence, courage, and clout, to become what I knew to be a “coach.” The person who believed in you enough to push your limits — knowing what was hiding within you all along. The human who “got it,” and was there for you mentally, physically, and emotionally.

It wasn’t someone who “knew it all,” or fit some standard physique. It was a person who knew they weren’t done growing, and neither were the humans in front of them. Their mission: to ruthlessly nurture, and guide the growth of, human beings.

Coaches coach you through the darkest rounds and reps — in or out of the gym. The ones that suck, hurt, and take everything in you to come out on the other side. and know that you will come out better on the other side. Coaches are the ones who believe in the ones who have trouble believing in themselves. Coaches, are in it for the value of being entrusted with another’s evolution.

It was a personal training certification — which was sponsored by whatever God you believe in, and in partnership with Gold’s Gym SoCal — that would allow me to begin this adventure in professionally.

My coach was there every step of the way. Asking me to write the nightly workouts, and co-coach a youth boxing camp over the summer to get my “whistle” wet.

In the process, finished my certification in just north of 30 days, whilst taking up residence in a local coffee house for 5-6 hours every week day till completion. Just after, began an internship with a leading sports medicine facility in Los Angeles.

I was an intern with an insatiable need to understand the human body — and more importantly — what happened when training went awry.

The only thing I knew for sure was it’s more than the workout, and I really did “get it.” All I wanted to do was be — for every future “client,” — what my coach was for me.

The person I wish I had when things were at their worst. Who was just as excited to learn and grow, as his athletes were. A person who believes in the power of grit, the artform of technique, and the limitless potential of the human body.

When I entered the world of personal training, I was fortunate to have mentors, friends and coaches, who genuinely cared for the well being of human beings.

Who’s first order of business in every session, was to greet you with a fiery fist-bump and a  reminder you of WHY you walked in those doors in the first place.

They preached a very real need for genuine-authenticity, fearlessness, and passion for education. A need for humans ready to build other human beings physically, mentally and emotionally.

Humans who authentically believe in the goals of others. Who will always remind you that your well being, happiness, and evolution are not lost in the muck of the world.

As trainers — we’re there to give them the confidence, love, and support, to transform.

One mentor asked, “What is a personal trainer? A coach? A therapist? A friend?”

“You’re all of it and more,” I thought to myself.

Sitting at a desk — in Gold’s Gym HQ — near the front because otherwise I wouldn’t see shit. 5’3” 110 lbs and maybe 10% body fat, I was the tiniest one in the room — from that point forward.

My fellow coaches in the making were easily twice my size. Snacking on Chipotle bowls, and PB & Js to make sure a mark wasn’t missed on their “macros.” Going hard in “bulking” season, and having hushed conversations about secrets to “getting huge.”

It was all french to me at the time.

My focus was on the slides in front of me and a mentor I had come to know and look up to. Between the scribble of my pen — in the margins of the handouts — and the “glug” of gallon jugs, he shared a nugget of wisdom that will forever be apart me.

“It’s not just about the one hour workout. There are 23 other hours in the day — how can you prepare them for those..” He had all of my attention and more. “If there’s nothing you take away from this training, let it be this, ‘life doesn’t happen to you it happens FOR you.”

From that moment forward I knew what my personal mission as a coach was. It had nothing to do with mirrors or metrics, and everything to do with human-evolutions.

When it came time for take clients — I negated the script written by corporate closers. I followed my heart, and brought as much love — and energy — as I could to every session. When a new client crossed my path, our journey began with why they really wanted to evolve in the first place.

The “why’s” would astound you. New widows, depression, infidelity, and tragedies I could never fathom. It’s in the gym that we are the most vulnerable which is why we always wonder who’s looking at us. Judging us. It’s the modern watering hole; a place meet, connect and take evolution for a test drive.

The workout is the microcosm of daily life. There’s gonna be reps that don’t feel great, and ones that do. Loads that seem impossibly heavy, and ones that life light as a feather. There will also gonna be days where you’ve worked so hard you’re stiff as a board. It’s not about the details, it’s all about how you approach your reps. Hell — it’s not even about the whole workout

It’s about one rep at a time. Knowing that each rep is an opportunity to dig into discomfort and reep what it has to offer you. Growth, and a chance to be better than the human you were yesterday.

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