How to be a human “being”

“Joining with the body… feeling what’s actually happening inside you… just experiencing now as it is in your body, is a courageous and profoundly radical choice, ” Nancy Colier LCSW, Rev., Psychology Today.

I can’t sit still. At all.

Nail technicians don’t like me very much. I don’t want a design, use language more colorful than the options for gel-polish, and have a serious issue sitting still. The managers can smell my discomfort with relaxation, even through the acetone. Which is why they look at me sideways I turn down the offer for a p.m.-pinot.

The 3 lb meatloaf-mind of mine, is a bit like that of a dragonfly — come to think of it — on par in speed, unpredictability, and whimsy. Both mind, and body, are in a constant war to be better than before. Not that it’s a bad thing — to be ready for battle — there has to come a point where we allow ourselves to retreat and be.

In an effort to not piss off my technician, this afternoon, an article subtitled “From human doing to human being,” grabbed my attention. We’re introduced by what we do, not who we are. Our value is placed on how much we make, or how many follow. Somewhere in the mix, we stopped being entirely.

Humans haven’t gotten this far by entrapping themselves on a comparative hamster wheel of flashing funds, or quick fixes. Humans have evolved by being.

Being present, within themselves, serving one another, engaging in stories and evolutions. That’s what it meant to be a human being. Something tells us that if we stop going — at all — the wheel will implode along with our opportunity to be enough.

What if… I told you that the brain is wired just like your house. Paths, that hold certain responsibilities, with synapses that serve the purpose of electrochemical pulse that reverberate throughout the mind and body. Causing the associated neurotransmitters to be released, and the given response to be elicited.

That meatloaf in your head fires in patterns it’s been trained to understand. The brain receives a stimulus, the stimulus elicits a reaction, the reaction elicits a response. You are the one in control of these pathways and the way in which your body responds to them.

If you’re finding difficulty being still — as my lovely nail lady do gently pointed out — train it just like you would anything else. Mindfulness is a fitness weakness many of us have — and refuse to work it in. Personally, I think a well rounded brain is sexier than abs, and a tight ass.

It’s a powerful piece of machinery, that deserves rest, and recovery, as much as every other entity in the body.

When you find your brain inching back for another hit of the hamster wheel:

  1. Recognize the thought and bring it in. All thoughts are, are little rubber duckies (each with their own unique appearance) you put on a river bed. They can float by — hell you can even throw em away. They’re yours to do with what you wish. Either way — it’s just a ducky.
  2. What does this ducky have to offer you? Is there something that serves you along the next chapter? Or is that ducky carrying a load that’s baring its buoyancy.
  3. Take what ya want/need, leave what you don’t
  4. Move forward with more love than before.

Thanks to my sicilian heritage, this very patient technician was finishing the second attempt at top coat when she said, “As long as you do it with love, you will never be wrong.” That’s all we’re trying to do — any of us are trying to do.

Begin with your brain. Nourish, and nurture that 3 lb meat loaf in your noggin. Remember that up until now — you’ve only had 10% access to a mechanism capable of so much more. Treat every thought with openness, love and optimism — even when it seems impossible — it is.

Sandow, Caesar, and Success

Success is an interesting metric. A bit like love, it is difficult to define as the meaning is subjectively derived. In a digital age, we are subjected to montages of monumental purchases, of disproportionate monetary value.

Leaving humans — that are currently chasing down their demons and dreams — left to feel less than enough. The luxuries of life are just that — luxuries. They are to be appreciated from afar — unless you fit the ticket. A bourgeois brownie badge of esteem entitled to an empire.

Julius Caesar is one of the most infamous rulers in history. An authoritarian — once proclaimed “dictator for life,” — known for his extravagance. Bronze cast statues, elaborate palaces, and parties with hefty price tags, left him relatively unpopular with taxpayers of Rome.

Though he successfully made citizenship available to those on the outskirts of the empire, and made an effort for social/political reform, he was a populist whose policies irked the upper class and elites  

In theory he had it all.  Money, fame, blindly adoring subjects, beautiful women, and an empire. As a result of Caesar’s outrageous spending, and political leanings, his empire eventually crumbled.

On the Ides of March, a group of rebellious insiders — led by his confidant, Brutus — stabbed Caesar to death on the steps of his palace and left him for dead. Perhaps not surprisingly, Brutus fled Rome, but was later apprehended.

Shakespeare, historians and authors have immortalized Caesar’s saga; to this day, he remains on of the most well known — albeit controversial — rulers in Roman history.

Moving forward to the turn of the twentieth century we get another self-made man, Eugen Sandow. At 5’8” and never weighing more than 175 lbs, he was not massive, but his impact was.

A German immigrant, he built an empire of his own as the father of modern day bodybuilding, and the original modern-day strong man.

He toured around the world, appearing Vaudeville shows where he performed his awe inspiring feats of strength. His acts included overhead pressing ponies, and holding strong as “Hercules bridge.”  He also utilized his charisma and revolutionary physique, which had audiences on their feet.

The Sandow name, derived from his mother’s German maiden name “Sandov,” became a brand of its own. One that was heavily sought after, and rarely sold.

Sandow held steadfast to his belief in the power of physical fitness, health, wellness, and the betterment of an individual human. As his muscles marveled the maidens in the crowd, he reminded himself — and viewers — that they too could achieve their own level of perfection.

Sandow introduced the original workout guides, mainstream fitness accessories, and the concept of pursuing an entrepreneurial empire in the world of health and fitness. Sandow was asked to cast his impeccable physique in bronze — similar to Caesar — which can still be seen in Brussels.

He was wildly successful and admired unwaveringly by those he inspired.

A bad investment, and a worse marriage, coupled with the war and bankruptcy, Sandow lost nearly everything. Legend has it that he died lifting a car. Though it wasn’t actually the lift that did it — it was an aneurysm — he would have preferred a more grandiose grand finale.  

His wife, left bitter and broke, buried Sandow in an unmarked grave. Shortly thereafter, Sandow was essentially scrapped from conscious existence. His empire, crushed under the weight of expectation, and demand. 80 years later, his grandson erected a immovable structure that resembles the superhuman — one of a kind — strength, that Sandow possessed.

Sandow is now immortalized in a miniature bronze sculpture, better known as The Sandow Trophy at Mr. Olympia, as a tribute to his irreplaceable impact on the fitness industry.

Both Sandow and Caesar ruled empires of their own in ways that could not be more different.

 With two such successful empire builders, we are left with the question: what is success? Is it the size of the empire, longevity, or material wealth? Is success having the ability to inspire, lead, or make an impact? When have you achieved it?

By dedicating yourself to your truth, relentlessness, and passion, success is yours to experience many times over. It is not about tyrannical tactics or monuments, it is about a lasting impact. That does not come with an account balance, or Aston Martin. Success is rooting down into your passion with ruthless resilience, action, and love.

Life is like a tattoo

I have family members that loathe the looks of permanent ink — particularly on their first born. Assuming it tarnishes the purity of flesh they used to pinch, smooch, and squeeze.

Tattoos illustrations on a canvas foreign to all of us. A meat suit we were placed in — and told to love. To treat with kindness, and support; faced with a defiant environment that’s dedicated to the detriment of our well-being and happiness.The human body is the cover to a book that’s still being written — and always under revision.

Humans have been permanently illustrating their journeys since 2000 B.C.E., including records of mummified remains reported with ink. The process was originally practiced by Japanese and Polynesian amateurs. In 1846, Martin Hildebrandt open the first shop in the US, introducing tattooing to the American Mainstream.

A German-American immigrant, Hildebrandt traveled to ink the soldiers of the Civil War, troop by troop. While Maud Wagner — America’s first female tattooist — exchanged a date for a lesson in the artform, in 1904 at the Louisiana Purchase state fair. In spite of the recent invention of the modern tattoo machine, Wagner stuck to the traditional stick-poking of her mentor and predecessors.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the stylings of Sailor Jerry, and the iconic symbolism his work embodied. A sparrow — which is on the back of my right shoulder — was a symbol of returning home. A symbol sported by soldiers, who’d recently received much awaited “home orders.”

When my aunt — and guardian angel — left us, she was permanently tattooed with ink as vibrant, feminine, and warm as she was. Coupled with a pair of pink gerber daisies. The flower I bought for Mama B — her best friend —  while debilitating chronic pain, and near paralysis, gave her “home orders,” that lasted 6 years.

My aunt — our family’s reminder of hope, and light, even when darkness seems to win — received her home orders when she passed. A soul far too bright for a world stuck in darkness. Now she’s with me everyday. A reminder to believe in magic, love and a promise to never grow up.

Cut to, my consult for a piece that now stops people on the street, for one reason or another. My warrior goddess — a piece that gave me more than a life-long illustration. It left me with a knowing that I had forgotten for far too long.

This piece is my only one tattooed by a women, to date. I arrive at the appointment, eager nervous — sorta have to pee. I give her a hug.

“You ready to meet her?” the imagery of a warrior within myself that had been silenced.

She reveals the stencil. “That’s it. That’s her… my lone wolf, fearless, bad ass fuckin warrior,” and fit like a glove.

The process begins — and to be completely frank so did the beginning of this blog. I remember sitting on the table — anticipating the sting. Preparing for pain, and meditating through the stimulus — a new practice at the time.

The quiver of my quad blows my cover — relaxing isn’t exactly a part of the repertoire.

“If you welcome the pain, it won’t hurt nearly as bad,” she said.

How hard could it be, I thought, you’ve done it seven other times. This session was different.

We get to talking about both of our dementors, whom she referred to as her “friend.” I was stunned by her seemingly effortless ability to master a darkness I had only ever know to fear. She was the warrior that people looked to me to be.

The oldest of five, in a home that took one hell of a tidal wave. A coach to humans to trusted me with their journeys. A lover who feels she could never repay her partner enough for the love she’s received.

It was time for me to start believing the truths that I thought were fables. Labels that made up more of a human than I thought I could be.

“Tattoos are really similar” to dealing with dementors, we agreed. The discomfort, and pain, is going to be there whether your choose to acknowledge it or not. The more you try to fight back, tough it out to silence it, the more attention it demands.

Silence it by being bold enough to embrace darkness, as part of the process. Stand up to the stimulus watch as it’s power dissipates. Pain is a necessary evil. It triggers the most raw of reactions and the truest of truths. With every moment that makes you flinch, squirm or want to call it all together, know you’re one step closer to a beautiful work of art.

Life isn’t watercolor brush strokes — life is the buzz, and bite of a tattoo gun paired with a needle all your own. That no one else will ever know. Sometimes all we notice are the pricks and pokes, and pain they bring. Then you remember that at the end of that need is ink. Driving a bit more color, and detail, to one hell of a masterpiece.
Bring it in, and don’t be afraid. Breathe into — not just through — the discomfort, and relax. It’s not about the finished product. It’s about you, your needle, your body and your artist — present in a moment of time. Illustrating a pages of a book, on the world’s most complex canvas.

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.

This is my Why

When this began I didn’t know what an “influencer” was. The meanings of “follow,” “like,” and “hashtag,” weren’t part of my vernacular and 2 p.m. was an empty space between personal training clients. When this began I also lived in fear of dementors dominating my daily life.

Simultaneously the #fitspo was swallowing the fitness industry whole, like a hot pink horse pill peddled by said “influencers,” in hopes of getting a hit of the highly-addictive instant-gratification of our newly founded “insta-world.” While in Largo, Florida, I was up and in the gym with clients — everyday — at 6 a.m. with a cup of coffee, and a hug ready to go.

My mission was — is— to build humans from the inside out. The human body is the most complex piece of machinery ever crafted. A luxury vehicle, deserving to be handled with respect, love, and dedication. It’s been my mission to understand it and all its complexity.

Understanding its evolution is never ending — and therefore should be treated as such. Every moving part serves a greater purpose for the whole. Nothing is a mistake, and every piece has a place. The human body is magic realized — and it’s so much more than the the aesthetics we’ve come to obsess over, as a thanks to more than public progress photos.

Running a full-time personal training business as a full time student was more than enough to test my passion, and patience. I was wrapping up a B.A. in Digital and Mass Media Communications. A degree nearly six years in the making — for what I thought would be nothing but an ill-fitting robe and an initialed piece of paper. A degree that ripped me from everything, to show me exactly what I had:

A knack for the click clack of a keyboard, a love for transformation, and an uncanny talent I had honed that transforms traumas into tests, tests into lessons, lessons into stories, and stories into human connections. My degree showed me that every human has stories, truths, loves, and traumas, that deserve to be heard.

When practiced with love, objectivity, and empathy, communication transforms from a task, to a tool. It evolves into authentic human connection. It’s by these connections that we form relationships, families and social circles. Communication is the concrete foundation for a healthy, and well functioning society. It’s the one thing that seems to be missing from our world. The willingness, and the want, to connect, share and be human, with — albeit — other humans.  

Every class was a mirror to — in my eyes — blatant errors in the media. We all want to be followed, liked, and shared. We all want to feel like we matter. So how is it that we have come across the most anthropologically advanced piece of technology —our species has yet to discover until recent history — and use exclusively to get an extra hit of the hottest drug on the market.

Social media has the power to serve one of the most primal human needs — aside from the obvious of sustenance, shelter and security — is human connection. Without it, we wilt and wither away like that of an unloved houseplant sentenced to a life of solitude, without a lick of sunshine.

We have all — to one degree or another — “been there.” We’ve been the houseplant in the corner. Bruising our leaves in an effort to soak up just a few little rays of light. Wondering what the purpose is anyway, to have something so beautiful left at the hands of darkness.

My personal battle with dementors isn’t locked away in a Chamber of Secrets. It’s online. I went from proclaiming my distaste for humans — as has become so common as a thanks to internet — to sharing every bit of my journey with a digital world.

Knowing that there were human beings behind those usernames. Human beings in search of something they were missing in “real life.”

There was a moment in one of my classes — Media Ethics (yeah… I know… the irony)— where something just clicked. After 5+ years of questioning what the fck I was going to do with a degree, it made sense.

“Journalism is the business of humanity,” I said to my professor. “It’s our job to share the stories, and connect with other human beings.” To remind them that there are stories to be told, and no one is a wasted chapter.

I took to social media that day and began sharing my own story. Knowing that if I wanted others to open up to me, I would have to take the first step. It wasn’t about how many people read, or even liked it. It was about starting a conversation that needed to be had.

With every onion layer of my personal journey that was posted, came an influx of messages from other humans thanking me for “being vulnerable.” They thanked me for being “brave,” and it left me baffled.

I can’t be the only one.

The posts got more real, and the message got clearer. Everyday, between ‘flients’, I would write, connect and share with humans. Yes. Real life people. The humans all too comfortable suffering in silence on the outskirts. Who “get it,” and just “don’t wanna sound crazy,” when they need someone to — lovingly — start the conversation.

We scroll our way through the day, double tapping things we like, and swiping left on those we don’t. Refreshing screens for red tabbed notifications that arbitrarily validate the lives we lead.

What if, we stopped scrolling, and started connecting? What if we took time to say “how are you really,” and prompt the larger questions of life.

What if we use social media to start a conversation on the importance of mental health, being love, while promoting impactful psychological and sociological change?

This tool we’ve uncovered, that has been bruised and beaten by the barbaric notions of society, deserves a facelift. It’s time to take social media back from the bots, booties, and breast implants.

Let’s make socials a place to be social. A place of ever-expanding evolutions, mutual growth, and positivity. A place for stories to be shared, respected and heard.

It’s more than the quantifiable values we have become fixated on. It’s about humans finally receiving what they have needed for far too long. A pseudo-watering hole that connects human beings around the world based on mutual interests.

It is time to evolve our interests from viral videos to a #real virus. According to the AFSP , in 2017 there were nearly 1.3 million suicide attempts in the United States, and suicide stands as the 10th leading cause of death.

Headlines read ages as young as 9 years old, ending their lives. Regardless of what the individual trigger was, the route cause is always the same. What’s the point if the darkness is going to be that loud and present / no one understands /  or there is no one to talk to judgement free.

We can talk about “awareness” until we are blue in the face, in my heart it’s time for more than that. It is time to put this earth shattering mechanism to the test and use it to take action. It’s time to remind the people behind the usernames of what connects all of us down to the fibers of our being.

The need to love, and be loved. Every human deserves to know they’re worth the human-right to evolution, change, and growth. The only reason your dementors are here, is to show you just how magical you are.

Like a sorcerer’s stone, it’s been buried, and likely in the wrong hands, for way too long. It’s up to you to blow of the dust, and take back what’s always been yours. To know that you have it in you to conquer every hurdle, and execute your reps — in and out of the gym — with dedication, focus, and optimism.

This is my WHY. It’s everything to me. If I could give back even half of what this experience has given me thus far, it would be too little. Every single human that comes across @bemacfit will be reminded of their worth. They will know — even for a moment — that they aren’t crazy, and there is at least one more human out there who really does “get it.”

It is my WHY To be the person I wish I had when things were at their worst, to authentically connect with, and educate, humans around the world, and create a program that provides actionable steps to defeat dementors in/out of the gym, with the intention of helping prevent suicide from going — any more — viral.

I BELIEVE IN MAGIC

I believe in magic. Not the way I did when my love for Disney prompted be to permanently print a the enterprise’s prized possession— Mickey — on my ribs. The magic I believe in now came to me through a hail storms of honesty.

Honesty of self, facing the dementors you’ve been using your nightlight to hide from all your life. Honesty of wants, needs that for the first time are no longer selfish — but a realized right. Making an honest promise to yourself that you — may just be — worth everything you’ve were told wasn’t “for you.”

What if — for a moment — we all pretended to believe in magic. The possibility of proverbial pixie dust, and the promise of conquering summits you thought to be unscalable. The first time I believed in magic, came after a cat. 5 hurricane of dementors the tore our world to pieces.

It was a level neither of us had unlocked. Definitely not one either of us was prepared for. We “hunkered” down, for a storm only we could feel.

There it was. Darkness, truth, and ego; a swirling vortex of truth, lightning bolts striking at our hearts, and love — with an inarguable gravitational pull — at the epicenter of it all. Thankfully not a single fatality.

We faced our dementors, as the stormed the gates of our own sacred castle. The magic didn’t come from spells. It came from a pressure cooker of growth. The magic was not that of fairy tales, warlocks or witches, the magic was the power of love amidst the roaring clouds above.

Weighing us to the eye of the storm was the knowing that magic might be real. That love is the most powerful patronus. Amidst ghastly winds, ripping roaring on a one way mission of destruction, was unconditional love.

Though there was debris to be disposed, the weekend after the storm, was when I could see the magic — that kept us from the clutches of the clouds — clearly for the first time.

He was deep into his work flow, tucked away comfortably in his office. I needed to be outside. I stood in our front yard, with a cup of coffee that has become a daily self love ritual. Kira pounced through the yard, practicing her lizard hunting abilities.

The yard that we transformed on step at a time, from concrete/rock, to dirt to lush great lawn. It sucked. It’s also one of my favorite memories. We would wait until it got cool enough, I’d strap on my gardening gloves he has gifted to me. We shoveled, on scoop at a time, over two weeks.

Then time to sod. We spent a day, with pop-punk blaring and an assembly line laying one — piece — at a time. Every time I sit in our yard I’m reminded of the first real challenge we encountered together.

I twisted my heels into the ground and tried to find my “power position.” I pushed my feet into the grass, and lit up every muscle from head to toe. With the largest breathe I had taken in days. I looked up to the sunshine, eyes closed, absorbing the warmth like an electric charge.

I prayed. Really prayed for the first time in a long time.

“God [insert whichever God you believe in], I choose him. With everything in me, I choose him. But I can’t do that unless you’re on my side. I need your support — I choose him.”

No sooner do these words cross my mind that the hooman walks outside with a bright, “Babe! Where were you I was looking for ya!”

I snap out of my warm, sunny-daze, and gesture for him to “come here.” He knows what this means.

He turns his back to the sun, and wraps his — very impressively growing arms — around my head, as a burry my face in the man-fur I’ve come to find as my safe place.

I start again with deeper breaths than I thought possible. Now with the first draft of an inner monologue I didn’t even know I had.

“I realize now, right now in this moment, that I haven’t been able to accept the love he’s offered me because I do not love myself. From this point forward I accept the love he’s giving me, because I’m worth it. Because I love who I am —“

My river-stream of thoughts was stopped in its tracks as I felt a familiar kiss on my forehead.

A kind of kiss that Mama B, and I, have always reserved for the most special of humans.

I look up, and involuntarily to the left.

There is not 1, nor 2 but 8-10 dragonflies hovering in perfect formation staring at us. I laughed — and like the sap I am — burst into a tears.

“That’s magic.”

Magic isn’t for fairytales, or folk-lore. It is there to remind us of why the dementors are so important to our stories. The dark clouds, stormy days and destructive downpours are only negative if you allow them to be.

At the end of the day, the force holding all of it together is love. It’s amidst these storms that we learn the most lush lessons of life. It’s when the winds of worry are the loudest, that appreciate solace in silence. While it may seem gloomy,  behind those clouds is a warmth; a battery charged with hope, truth and belief of self.

If you don’t already, try this year to believe in your magic a little bit more everyday. When the storm brews, and inevitably strikes, you will be more prepared than ever. You will no longer ask why is this happening “to me,” you will wonder “what’s the lesson,” followed naturally by “bring on the pop quiz.”

Fall in love with the possibility of magic. Watch as the storms transform from catastrophic, to consciously cataclysmic. Approaching every opportunity for growth with fearless regality, knowing that love, and warmth, is at the center of it all.

The WE that built THE OTHER 23

It’s been over a month since my last real blog. Whether it was self-judgement, time management or personal conflicts in the way… there’s no excuse for letting something that means this much fall to the wayside.

In the last three months or so, everything has changed. The way I look at life, coach, train and think, has completely evolved.

I graduated college — fiiinallyyy — while simultaneously laying the brick and mortar — one at a time — to the foundation of an empire, to officially leaving personal training and embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. It’s been a bit of whirlwind here at our casa.

We had decided it was time to put pedal to the metal, and see just how real these dreams could be. Moreover, so that I could practice what I preached, and actually be there for all of my nuggets during The Other 23 hours of the day rather than just their 1 hour session in the gym.

The other 23 hours that I talked about incessantly between reps with every human that crossed my gym floor.

“Fck the scale… how would you feel? It’s not about the workout. This is just the microcosm… the dress rehearsal,” I would say to my flient who’s cheeks were flushed, and tank top saturated in sweat. “Everything that happens once you leave those doors, matters and has an impact on what happens in here, and vise versa.”

Think about it. You walk into the gym, and you have your workout.

“I don’t wanna…” you think to yourself, but you do it anyway. You settle into the warm up, and suddenly a little bit of stimulus sparks a reaction.

“Ow — okay that burns a bit… well can’t go home now.”

Then the workout. You have any given number of sets/reps, and the load is going to increase. On each rep, the stimulus gets more intense, and you have a choice.

Embrace the discomfort to see how far you can go, or rack the weight and quit the set. The choice is entirely yours to make. I’d say go dark. It’s not like that burn is going anywhere so you might as well embrace it and see what it has to offer you.

You keep doing this — one rep at a time — and eventually you’re done. You’ve discovered something about yourself, maybe you’ve hit a PR, but regardless of the external variables, you accomplished the tasks at hand — and with precision.

Life isn’t any different. It’s how you handle the reps that are in front of you that dictate your performance. The more down you are with discomfort, the more you will discover.

It was moments like this — the #BIGTALK — that made me get out of bed in the morning. We knew that it was going to be more than a workout. We were both there to learn, grow and simply be present with one another.

We’d exchange stories — past / present and future — about what lead us to this point, or where we see ourselves going. It was never ‘I’ the coach and ‘them’ the client(s).

It was always ‘we.’ From minute one, I knew it was my job as the coach, to cultivate an impenetrable community. You — as the client — need to know that no matter what you have someone there to love you. To support you throughout this process, and more importantly, to remind you that you’re not alone.

Every ‘flient’ from the very beginning until now, has had a hand in shaping the human I am becoming. Every conversation, life talk or challenge, brought us closer, and tore down another barrier.

Only to reveal that we are both just, human. Seeking out evolution in any way we can, and test the limitlessness of our own potential.

There was no question that personal training had my heart, but I knew there was more.

More that I could offer to current clients, and thousands of other incredible humans I had yet to meet. More opportunities to share this message of vulnerability, authenticity — and moreover — humanity.

Coaching is what makes me, me. Being there for each individual throughout every step of the process, watching the light bulbs turn on session after session, that’s what makes me get out of bed in the morning.

Now, I could be the coach I always wanted to be by combining all of the variables required to build an unbreakable human. Fitness, nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset, in a recipe balanced for each individual.

I saw an opportunity to hit this industry square in the “eggplant,” and show the world of health/fitness everything its missing. Genuine human connection, love, reality, and good old fashion science, and dedication.

Becoming an online coach was never about me. It has — and always will be — about the We, that we’ve built, through blood, sweat, and tears. Late nights and lots and lots of self doubt. Missed family vacations, holidays and birthdays. Through unconditional love, relentlessness, and we took coaching and centered it around the belief that every human deserves to have a person — the one we all wish we had when things were at their worst.

Our family, is a Mafia. Once you’re in, you’re in for life, and no matter where you go, we will be there for you no holds barred, and 100 percent judgement free.

This new adventure has given me the super human ability to be available to anyone, anywhere, and help them discover their truest potential — not just for that one personal training-hour in the gym — but for The Other 23.

It has opened up the possibilities to truly impact, and transform, every human being from the inside out. Allowing them to be in full reigns of the process — with me in their back pocket.

This Mafia — has evolved from a handful of us in a local gym, to nearly 40,000 humans who believe that there has got to be more to life than what you see in the mirror. I’m here to tell you, you’re absolutely right, you’re not alone, and you are worth the evolution you’re after.