Revolutionary You! #356-Dr. Bo Babenko: Revolutionizing The Physical Therapy Profession (4 of 4)

In the final episode of our 4-part series together, Dr. Bo Babenko wraps up the series with me this week. In this one, we discuss the technology and methods he uses to assess clients and make them the best versions of themselves (your host included) and where he feels the physical therapy profession can make advances despite a health care system that is problematic to say the least. 

To learn more about Dr. Bo’s work: 

www.fitcarephysio.com

www.instagram.com/drbobabenko

www.facebook.com/BoBabenko

You can also search YouTube for “Doctor Bo” to subscribe to his channel. 

To learn more about your host: 

www.jasonleenaarts.com

www.revfittherapy.com

www.facebook.com/jason.leenaarts

www.instagram.com/jasonleenaarts

You can also like our Facebook page at: 

www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou

To purchase my book, “A Revolution A Day”: 

www.amzn.to/2R9Larx

Apple Podcasts OR Stitcher OR Spotify OR Amazon Podcasts

13 Reflections On 13 Years Of RevFit

I posted most of this on Facebook last week on my personal wall. I’ve had some time to think about it and add some more to my original post.

I got certified as a trainer at the tail end of 2007 when I was 32 years old after being in retail and retail management since I was 16 years of age.

My degree is in business management not exercise science so I’ve always felt like I was behind the ball when it came to knowledge of the human body, nutrition, psychology of change, etc.

However, I had a some things I felt were working in my favor when I had the opportunity to open RevFit in the spring of 2009. I’ve tried my best to compile 13 of my random thoughts into things that helped us reach the ”Lucky 13” year anniversary.

-16 years of retail experience taught me a great deal about customer service, something I believe is not covered well in Exercise Science programs. We try our best to keep that in mind at RevFit. I don’t wag my finger at my coaches and say: “You should do this, you should do that.” Instead, I just try and mirror what I hope are mostly good practices of taking care of people who are investing their hard earned money into themselves and our establishment.

-13 of those 16 years were spent in management where I was responsible for hiring, training and (when needed) terminating staff. You learn a great deal about the importance of your team when you go through this process over and over again. I hear a lot about the problems other industries go through with staffing and I have been genuinely fortunate to have coaches who are punctual, considerate and respectful of myself and others.

-10 years of my personal life was spent with a very costly and very damaging addiction to drugs. Much of this could have been avoided if I had better coping mechanisms for my stress and emotional challenges at the time. As a result of getting clean of my own accord, I had a better grasp of “lifestyle change” than most “wet behind the ears” trainers who come into the industry (that’s not a knock, just an observation). Where I didn’t have the experience of being the coach who experienced change due to weight loss efforts I understood what self-destructive tendencies look like and I try to keep in mind that everyone’s battle is uniquely they’re own. We’re here to help them fight it.

-I do not “love” exercise but exercise is a non-negotiable in my life. That includes strength training, a high step count, and low intensity cardio. If you are a trainer who loves to exercise and you are trying to cheerlead your way into your client’s hearts that they should love exercise as much as you, you’re going to struggle.

-I have more “competition” now than I ever have but, to be honest, I have no competition. That is not my ego speaking. All of the other fitness options in this area are different from RevFit. I cannot replicate what they do, they cannot replicate what I do. Even if one of my coaches left my business, stole training plans out of our binder, and tried to run a carbon copy of this business around the corner, they would not succeed. That has less to do with me and more to do with the community here. It is virtually impossible to replicate a community. You have to build something that resonates with you, who you are and your core beliefs. The community that forms around us complements all of that. I could not have built a better community if I had tried and, much of it was out of my control. I just had to open my doors, open my arms, and do the best job that I could to give people a welcome space to thrive. I believe that I owe this sentiment to Alwyn Cosgrove.

-If you want to get into this industry and be successful (financially or otherwise) be prepared to work. Seriously. I am away from home/family 60-70 hours a week every week, nearly 40+ hours of which are directly on the training floor. It is not an easy schedule and it is physically very demanding PLUS I have to prioritize my own training. Having a great staff with me helps tremendously but they can’t shoulder all of the load. I am busier now than I have ever been and while I know that busy-ness isn’t everything it does make me feel like I’m doing enough of the right things for the right people. Some might read this and say: Well, it sounds like you need to work smarter, not harder. I believe it’s important to work smarter and harder. It’s challenging and I have to constantly tweak the way I operate to do the work I need to. I make mistakes, I am not perfect but I am improving. I never wanted, nor would I have appreciated, an easy life. I have a purposeful life. That is invaluable.

-I have very little social life. This is a conscious choice. It’s not that I don’t want to see friends and enjoy time away from work, it’s that I am in bed early so that I can wake up early. It does not lend itself to a party lifestyle (and to be frank, I got most of that out of my system in my 20s). Now, it’s about building a business that pays my staff well, that supports the lives and goals of my clients and allows my wife and my sons to have the things they need in life.

-Turnover in the personal training industry is extremely high because I think those who want to get into the industry don’t understand how long they have to struggle and grind before they start to see the light and the profits. I have been watching the evolution of my coach, Mike Roder, and it almost makes me emotional. My.guy.is.grinding. He is working 30+ hrs a week at a hospital in cardiac rehab and 3 nights a week he comes here and gets his ass kicked with his youth athletes. These kids love him and they should, Mike exudes passion in his work and if I have someone looking for sport-specific training, that’s where I send them. But Mike will be the first to say, the schedule is not for the weak. He’s young now…he won’t be young forever 😉

-I have been very blessed by the fact that year after year since 2009, this business has grown. I know what kind of an achievement that is and I don’t take it for granted. I have made, what I believe were some very sound and wise decisions for this business and I have made catastrophically poor decisions. Thankfully, I’ve learned from both but poor decisions can certainly turn your head on a dime and make you change your behavior.

-Like our clients, it’s easy to get lost in comparison traps: How does my body look compared to other coaches? How does my business perform against comparable studios? None of this stuff really matters. All that matters is that I focus on the experience my clients get and that I do the very best I can at prioritizing my health. The rest will sort itself out.

-If you’re going to make it work in this industry consider that you will need to hire these people and in roughly this order: a business banking specialist who you can call/email at a moment’s notice about your accounts and lending opportunities, an excellent accountant with expertise in small businesses, a therapist to help you cope with demands on your time and your mental health, a coach who can design your training so that you can understand what it feels like to be in the client’s shoes.

-Traditional marketing methods likely suck. You’re going to have to embrace the old fashioned way of meeting people and making a good impression on them, delivering a great service that people want to return to and understanding enough about social media that you know which platform to be on and how to target your ideal demographic.

-I said this on a podcast recently and I’ll reiterate it here. Obviously, the lifeblood of RevFit is our clients. We do not exist without them. Outside of our clients, having a great staff is paramount to success. I have had to rely on my family heavily (especially in my early years) to help me start and maintain this business. It is the hardest thing I have ever done and it was completely worth it. All of this aside, the person who has paid the greatest price for the work I do and the time I commit here is my wife (and by extension, my sons.) When the day is done, it’s to come home to them and have something left to be grateful for. I work for all of you (my clients) but ultimately it’s for Marissa, Jackson and Sebastian. My wife has been my rock and I could not do what I do without her commitment to how we navigate our marriage and responsibilities.

Thank YOU to everyone who has made this a possibility. And thank you for helping us acknowledge 13 years of business.

(Your Coaches, L to R: David, Jason, Mike, Nick)

Revolutionary You! #355-Dr. Bo Babenko: The 5 Pillars Of Health (3 of 4)

Dr. Bo Babenko is back with me for Part 3 in our 4-part series together. This week, we tackle his 5 Pillars Of Health namely: Movement, Recovery, Nutrition, Connection & Mindset. While an episode could be made for each of them, Bo and I try to cover each pillar as succinctly as can to give you something to consider and execute on after tuning in. 

To learn more about Dr. Bo’s work: 

www.fitcarephysio.com

www.instagram.com/drbobabenko

www.facebook.com/BoBabenko

You can also search YouTube for “Doctor Bo” to subscribe to his channel. 

To learn more about your host: 

www.jasonleenaarts.com

www.revfittherapy.com

www.facebook.com/jason.leenaarts

www.instagram.com/jasonleenaarts

You can also like our Facebook page at: 

www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou

To purchase my book, “A Revolution A Day”: 

www.amzn.to/2R9Larx

Apple Podcasts OR Stitcher OR Spotify OR Amazon Podcasts

Are You Moving The “Big Rocks” For Progress?

Late last year, I reconnected with Dr. Spencer Nadolsky. He and I had been connected through social media for several years and when I first started my podcast, he was one of the first guests to join me.

Spencer was about to launch an exercise program called LiftRx where he partnered with a physical therapist and exercise specialist (Alex Bryce and Alex Sterner, respectively) to build an affordable exercise platform for his followers to participate in. It allowed those who have access to gym equipment or minimal equipment to follow along with new monthly workouts to incorporate a training plan into their lives.

As a component of LiftRx, Spencer also had his eyes set on a nutrition program and selected myself along with four rather talented ladies (Shout out to Michelle, Rachel, Alja and Sarah!) to help him launch it.

If you know anything about Spencer’s work, you’ll know that in all of his years of practicing family medicine as well as being an obesity and lipid specialist, he cuts through the myriad of b.s. that’s entrenched in diet information.

Spencer manages the delicate balance of having a considerate bedside manner as well as a sense of humor to approach how he coaches nutrition to his patients and social media followers. Over the years that I’ve been connected with him, I’ve been inspired by his work and shared vast amounts of it with my own clients.

When the opportunity came to join forces with him, it was a no-brainer.

Last week, after a couple of months in a beta format, Spencer officially launched Big Rocks Nutrition Coaching.

I wanted to take just a few moments to take some inspiration from it to craft this week’s article.

Specifically, what exactly do we mean by Big Rocks?

Well, a lot of that depends on your goals and what you bring to the table in terms of diet history, medical challenges, philosophies around food and more.

While not exhaustive, “big rocks” to progress can be:

-Making sure you get enough protein to achieve your goals and complement your training

-Helping you understand how and why a maintenance break can be helpful for psychological and physical reasons

-Understanding how medication can work for and against you with fat loss (Spencer oversees any prescriptive advice)

-Helping you break free from overly restrictive and inflexible diet approaches

-Encouraging your movement to support fat loss efforts (whether that’s raising your step count or making sure you’re fueling your workouts.

-Offering you judgement free coaching, so that no diet approach or food choice has a negative reflection on you

-Fostering tracking methods in the short term to get realistic views of calorie intake and how to modify to to see progress

-Knowing when to dive into the nuance of calories and macros and when to pull back

-Reminding you to drink more water!

-Supporting your efforts for better sleep hygiene so that your diet doesn’t pay the price

-Ultimately, helping you have a better relationship with food than you did when you began

I’m also proud to announce that the initial launch was more successful than we imagined and, as of this writing, potential new clients are on a waitlist for the next opening.

Speaking for myself, it’s been a great experience. Aside from the clients I’m working with face-to-face at RevFit, I get to work with clients from across the globe within the Big Rocks platform.

And, it helps me to work with such a talented group of coaches that I can learn from as well.

If you’re interested, consider getting on the waitlist. Whether you work directly with me or one of my colleagues, we’ll help you figure out what the Big Rocks are so that the change you deserve to see is finally within sight.

Revolutionary You! #354-Dr. Bo Babenko: Long Term Fitness (2 of 4)

In Part 2 of our 4-part series together, Dr. Bo Babenko is back with me as we chat about long term fitness. Building on our conversation from part 1, Bo explains how we need to have a long-term view on how we move our bodies and the best way recover from injuries when and if they happen as well as understanding the importance of cross-training to maximize the performance of our bodies. 

To learn more about Dr. Bo’s work: 

www.fitcarephysio.com

www.instagram.com/drbobabenko

www.facebook.com/BoBabenko

You can also search YouTube for “Doctor Bo” to subscribe to his channel. 

To learn more about your host: 

www.jasonleenaarts.com

www.revfittherapy.com

www.facebook.com/jason.leenaarts

www.instagram.com/jasonleenaarts

You can also like our Facebook page at: 

www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou 

To purchase my book, “A Revolution A Day”: 

www.amzn.to/2R9Larx

Apple Podcasts OR Stitcher OR Spotify OR Amazon Podcasts

You, Your Values And A $10 Chocolate Bar

I recently read the book “Meaningful Work” by Shawn and Lawren Askinosie. I would call it highly suggested reading for any small business owner OR anyone who feels they haven’t found their professional calling. At the heart of the story is the Askinosie chocolate bar (of different origins and flavors) which retails for around $10 and higher.

Throughout the book, Shawn explains how he became a chocolate maker, the life he chose to leave behind, and the lives he now chooses to change by profit sharing with the farmers who grow the cocoa beans, by providing meals back to the malnourished communities the beans grow in, and how he has justified charging $10 and more for his chocolate bars.

The story is fascinating.

I completely bought in and when I finished the book, I went online and ordered two of their award winning chocolate bars, which qualifies as the most money I have ever spent on a bar of chocolate in my life.

Shawn asks the reader (I’m paraphrasing) to consider: Rather than ask why would someone pay $10 for a bar of chocolate, start asking yourself what goes into the bar you pay $1 for.

I realize that in writing something like this, it comes from a position of privilege. Sometimes, $1 is what you can afford.

Allow me to pivot.

For most of my life, I have collected things: baseball cards and comics when I was much younger and then switching to all manner of music: cassettes, CDs, and (now) vinyl as well as bourbon and books. What we spend our money on has a direct correlation to how we value it in our lives.

We know, as consumers, that just because something is more expensive does not make it better in the same sense that something more economically friendly isn’t necessarily an inferior option (take for example the difference between generic and name brand over-the-counter medications which are often made in the same factories).

There can be a placebo effect to the belief that if you paid a lot of money for something, you’ll enjoy it more. I’ve seen this play out in the bourbon my wife and I buy and appreciate: if it was expensive, it usually tastes better; in the records I purchase, by noting the superior sound quality of a pressing, and even with the food we buy in restaurants, surely that expensive cut of filet is better than anything I could have made at home at a fraction of the price.

Those are just a few examples of value as it relates to the prices we pay for things, which of course you can extend towards the price of your home, your car, or personal services (not unlike personal training…more on this later).

Recently, a solicitor came to see me to quote me on credit card processing here at RevFit. He wanted to know what we pay in processing fees to see if he could save me money.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I have a longstanding relationship with a local bank that handles my processing. I plan to stick with their services.”

“You know, we typically can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in fees compared to what a bank can offer if you look at the numbers annually” He countered.

“No sir, I’m not sure you understand. It’s not just processing I do with this bank. This is years of personal banking, business banking and having several family members with this bank. Not to mention, I have a professional relationship with the branch manager and they’ve been instrumental in helping me with any issues I’ve had over the years. This is about more than money saved, it’s the value I place on that relationship.”

Needless to say, the solicitor hit a wall he couldn’t overcome.

In considering services, we will often shop for the most affordable rather than the best available option. I mentioned personal training because it’s my career and I know that being able to afford a personal trainer is a luxury service.

Since I got certified in 2007, I’ve watched as evolutions in technology have continued to change the face of how people choose to exercise. There are free apps that give you daily workouts as well as any cursory Google search which can give you a free workout plan for every day of the rest of your life.

However, what exactly do you get with a free workout? Do you get any individual tailoring? Is there a real, live person you can communicate with to correct your form? What happens if you get injured? Are there modifications to work around those injuries?

This isn’t to say that every person needs a personal trainer. They don’t. Some people need more accountability than others and some people don’t need one more thing to add onto an already full plate. They want someone else to handle the programming, the modifications and to manage personal preferences and goals.

We place value on the things that matter most.

You probably get my point.

Let’s go back to the chocolate.

Over the last couple of years, my wife Marissa’s lactose intolerance, which she has had for all of her life, has become so severe compared to what it was once before, that she can no longer consume any dairy (milk, yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, butter) without getting sick within minutes of doing so.

Most of the popular brands of chocolate are made with milk and, since chocolate is something we both like to enjoy from time to time, we had to start looking at dairy free options. Fortunately, many organic chocolate bars have dairy free options but you’ll pay a premium for those (often $3-5 per bar). Of note, is that many of them are made in factories where dairy is also used but, thus far, this has not been an issue for Marissa.

I made a choice based on how I value Marissa feeling sick or feeling well. Of course, when I read “Meaningful Work” I wanted to know: What does a $10 chocolate bar taste like?

And, if I’m willing to pay $5 for a dairy free chocolate bar, would I pay $10 if I knew that I’m buying more than chocolate?

The answer is yes. Maybe not always, but from time to time to have something special.

Which bears the question: Is it worth it? Well, from a manner of taste, yes. It was delicious. Marissa thought so too (before she knew the story or the cost).

So, whether you like chocolate or not, whether you would spend $10 on a chocolate bar or not, the real question is: What do you value and how do your actions align with your values?

When you’ve had some time to consider the question, make a list of what you came up with.

I’d love to hear your answers.

Revolutionary You! #353-Dr. Bo Babenko: Is It Time For Your Annual Orthopedic Screening? (1 of 4)

I’m honored to welcome Dr. Bo Babenko to the show for our next 4-part series. In this episode, Bo explains the need for an annual orthopedic screening so we can better understand how our bodies move, where there may be areas of opportunity and develop a plan for being proactive to reduce the risk of future injury. Fortunately, due to the convenience of technology, Dr. Bo can do this type of screening through the use of a user-friendly app. 

To learn more about Dr. Bo’s work: 

www.fitcarephysio.com

www.instagram.com/drbobabenko 

www.facebook.com/BoBabenko

You can also search YouTube for “Doctor Bo” to subscribe to his channel. 

To learn more about your host: 

www.jasonleenaarts.com

www.revfittherapy.com

www.facebook.com/jason.leenaarts

www.instagram.com/jasonleenaarts

You can also like our Facebook page at: 

www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou 

To purchase my book, “A Revolution A Day”: 

www.amzn.to/2R9Larx 

Apple Podcasts OR Stitcher OR Spotify OR Amazon Podcasts

Do You Need To Take A Break?

Since I found myself having this conversation a bit more frequently with my fat loss clients, I wanted to write this week’s article specifically about maintenance breaks.

For many dieters, they tend to fall into one of two camps: dieting to lose weight (at whatever degree of deficit they choose) or overeating (eating in a surplus).

And if you’ve never intentionally taken a maintenance break, you may not have known that it was a viable (and sometimes necessary) option as well.

Keep in mind that when you’re dieting to lose weight, the ultimate goal is to not only achieve your desired weight but to reach a place in your life where you live “at maintenance”.

For instance, my body has floated between the same 4-6 pounds for years now. Between the amount of movement I get in a day (having an active job, plus strength training, and cardiovascular activity) and my untracked caloric intake, my body weight really doesn’t change much beyond those same handful of pounds referenced above.

This means, that by and large, on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, what I expend is about equal to what I take in.

For many dieters, they can fall into a rather unwanted rhythm of cycling between the same few pounds despite legitimately trying to eat in a deficit and getting fed up after doing so only to end up overeating when opportunity strikes (not to mention, the shame cycle that invariably occurs as well). As a result, they bounce from one diet (or exercise program) to the next, never really committing anywhere long enough for change that sticks.

Another interesting thing that can happen when you give yourself a maintenance break is that you might actually drop pounds by doing so. Part of the reason this can happen is that, when you increase your intake, the quality of your workouts can improve (meaning you might burn more when you train) and your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) can increase as well. This means that you might fidget more, do more chores, walk more, etc. even if you’re not totally conscious this is happening.

If you’ve ever read or seen someone say something to the effect of: I’m eating more than I used to AND I’m losing weight, this is essentially the reality they’re talking about.

Let me give you some very loose and arbitrary numbers to highlight my point.

I know that my maintenance calories are around 3000 right now (I only know this because I was recently tracking for some other reasons). Anything below 3000, done consistently should result in fat loss.

Let’s assume that I really want to lose some weight and I make an aggressive cut to get the pounds off fast, we’ll say 2000 calories. I can do that for a period of days before I get so stressed out that I spike up to 3700, 3900, etc., get mad at myself for eating so much and then try to drop back to 2000 only to go through the same cycle over and over again.

I decide to take a break on the dieting and push my calories back to 3000. Weight should stay mostly stable (give or take a few pounds). In doing so, I should add back in some of the foods that I felt I was depriving myself of. There’s a slight caveat here that if there are foods you don’t moderate well, you may need to still keep those out of the mix. For me, I don’t moderate cookies well, but if I was offered a cupcake, I would be okay.

How long I stay at maintenance is really based on my mental state. If I feel as if my stress levels are lower, I’m sleeping better, my workouts are going better and my libido is in a good place, then I can determine to do another fat loss phase. For some people, a maintenance break might last a week or potentially a month or two.

Remember: this is a skill. If all you know is “aggressive dieting” or “eating too much”, a maintenance break helps teach your body to maintain the status quo.

Then I can choose to make a modest cut to my maintenance calories again. Perhaps, I cut my calories back to 2700 from 3000 (a 10% deficit) and see how I do. There’s really no wrong answer here. You do what feels right, you listen to your body, and journal your feelings/reactions (if need be) so you have some data to support the actions, and plot the course.

If you had, say, 100 pounds to lose, it’s not unreasonable to have several maintenance breaks along the way. You could “schedule” a maintenance break every 10, 20, 25 pounds down so that you have strategic times to diet and strategic times to take a pause. This can not only help you on a hormonal level but it can keep you from completely abandoning a social life, too.

An easy way to determine what your maintenance is would be to use a calorie calculator or food app to plug in your age, gender, weight, height, and level of daily activity (be honest on this one). Many food apps will ask you to pick a weight loss goal but all you want to select is your maintenance intake.

Remember that calorie goals are estimates and the numbers could be slightly off but start there and keep an eye on the scale to make sure things are roughly where they need to be (3-5 pounds in either direction is normal and you can fluctuate that much in a 24 hour period).

So, if you’ve never taken a maintenance break before, you’re not seeing much progress right now and you’re ready to throw in the towel on fat loss, you may need the break.

Pictured below: pizza and canoli. Which would you add back in when you go to maintenance?

Revolutionary You! #352-Kaleen Canevari: Using Technology To Coach Movement (4 of 4)

In the final episode of our 4-part series, Kaleen Canevari is back with me to talk about how technology can help practitioners coach movement. The primary inspiration for this conversation comes back to the creation that Kaleen has brought to the world with Flexia. We talk about the role technology plays in our ability to coach from a distance, the importance of app-based exercise platforms and being able to quantify movement. Specific to this conversation, Kaleen dives into how technology allows Flexia users to be able to perform Pilates without leaving the comfort of the home. 

To learn more about Kaleen and her work with Flexia: 

www.flexiapilates.com

www.instagram.com/flexiapilates

www.instagram.com/thefitreformer

www.medium.com/@kaleencanevari 

To learn more about your host: 

www.jasonleenaarts.com

www.revfittherapy.com

www.facebook.com/jason.leenaarts

www.instagram.com/jasonleenaarts

You can also like our Facebook page at: 

www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou 

To purchase my book, “A Revolution A Day”: 

www.amzn.to/2R9Larx 

Apple Podcasts OR Stitcher OR Spotify OR Amazon Podcasts

Onward, Upward (For Ryan)

There are so many ways to measure success as a coach.

If you train athletes, success might be measured by making them faster, stronger, more resilient, or helping them achieve the next level in their sport however it’s best defined.

If you train fat loss clients, success can be measured by helping them achieve something closer to their ideal weight, adding longevity to their years on this earth, or making it easier for them to achieve the physical tasks of their daily life that they want to complete.

Throughout my tenure as a coach, I’ve seen amazing physical transformations, I’ve seen my business achieve financial heights I never dreamt possible, and I’ve watched confidence soar in people who never knew what they were capable of until we helped bring it out of them.

One story of note is with Ryan.

About three years ago, Ryan was referred to us by one of our longstanding clients and arguably one of our biggest advocates, Shon C.

Ryan had been a part of another gym in the area which had not been as positive of an experience for him as he or his parents had wished.

Shon told the family about RevFit, and Ryan and his mother Amanda came to meet with me.

He was 16 then, and needed to gain strength and muscle mass for track and field.

Within just a handful of weeks, we could tell that Ryan was all in.

He embraced the culture of the studio, he befriended the coaches on staff and the clients he would routinely train around and took everything we taught him in so he could make the progress he wanted.

As we try to emphasize for our clientele, progress is not about perfection and it’s rarely linear and Ryan absorbed all of this. He kept pushing for more, always trying to get the next best rep, the next pound up on the scale and not letting a less than ideal workout deter him from something greater ahead.

We measured Ryan’s success by all of those markers: his lifts kept getting better, he was incredibly consistent with his workouts routinely getting in 3 sessions per week and allowing his appetite to guide the scale up. In his words, the goal was to “eat more than yesterday”.

As high school came to a close for Ryan, his future was less certain. He wasn’t quite ready to attack college and needed some time away from academics to decide which career path fit him best.

In the interim, we had a need for a coach on staff and I thought it might be a good opportunity to take someone who clearly loved the environment and had a vested interest in the success of the clientele that we could groom him into the industry.

So, Ryan joined forces with us and started working on his personal training certification. He learned lessons from that organization and he learned some of the processes and philosophies that had helped make RevFit what we are today.

He learned how to work with people who shared his enthusiasm for training and those who might never have a passion for exercise but valued what it did for their lives.

And, much as I had learned from mentors before me, I tried to impress on him the good, the bad and the ugly of how this business has grown. I’ve always appreciated that behind every successful business is a journey of peaks, valleys, stumbles, and misgivings that chart a course.

Much like we teach our clients, everyone wants to be successful and not everyone appreciates and respects how long it may take, how success should be defined and how many obstacles stand between us and the goals we want to achieve.

Somewhat jokingly, Ryan would tell clients: “I have a real dad and a gym dad.”

I have had the proud distinction of being the latter.

I’ve also had the privilege of training both his mother, Amanda and his father, Mitch.

And what I’ve seen throughout not only Ryan’s tenure but the time I’ve worked with his parents is that these are two people who have always and likely will always continue to shower their son with love and support while also making sure that he has his wings to take off into this world.

To that point, Ryan began looking for a second job to complement his part time hours with RevFit and found it at a local steel company where he could get steady hours, a bigger paycheck and have plenty of room for advancement should he decide to take it.

As I watched Ryan continue to balance 5 mornings a week at the steel company and at least 5 shifts with us, I kept up with how things were advancing for him. Not surprisingly, he did great work for them as he had with me and they reminded him that if he wants more work, it’s available for the taking.

So, Ryan and I put our heads together and I’m watching this young man, who is no longer the boy of 16 who started with me, try and plan for his future.

We put steps in place for him to finish his time coaching at the Rev and move back into a client role while he takes on a “big boy” job and starts making the money he deserves to make.

This week, at least as far as the eye can see, will be the conclusion of Ryan’s time as a coach at RevFit.

Which brings me back to the definition of success, a message I’ll tailor directly to Ryan.

Ryan,

Thank you for giving me (and my staff) the opportunity to be a part of your life. I have seen what the benefits of nutrition for a goal and appropriate strength training can do for any individual who embraces it. You, my friend, have embodied it. In a perfect world, every client who steps through our door would immerse themselves in those areas to see how it improves their lives as well. What you have done for your body, your spirit and your self-confidence is awe inspiring.

As your coach, you have done everything I’ve asked of you. You’ve pushed when the need was there, you’ve followed instruction, you’ve absorbed the lessons and reflected on them. That is a gift. Thank your parents for instilling that gift in you.

As your employer, you have gone above and beyond more times than I can count. You’ve listened to my constructive criticism and learned how to apply it to the work you do. Not that you’ll ever need it, but you will always have a glowing job reference from me should the need present itself.

As your “gym dad”, remember what you are capable of. Never let self-limiting beliefs keep you from a greater life. You are surrounded by people who love you, who cheer for you and who want to see you happy, healthy and successful (by any definition).

Long before he passed away my father knew the words to say to help inspire me. And while you aren’t my son, you are one of my greatest successes as a coach and I thank you giving me that.

Fortunately, we are not saying goodbye. We are closing one chapter to continue writing another.

I am so proud of you.

And I’m 100% certain I’m not alone.

As they say, onward and upward.

With love,

Jason (and your extended RevFit family)