Monday, March 21, 2016


“We are the sum of all of our choices.”

Do you ever feel like you’re doing too much sometimes?

The third sickness in four weeks. First it was strep, then the viral upper respiratory flu thing that didn’t want to go away, capped off with the stomach bug. As I pulled my head away from hovering over the toilet I had to laugh. “Seriously God, can’t I catch a break!? I need my energy back!”

I’ll tell you what He said later. All I know is when things get out of hand my hashtag becomes #SomethingsGottaGive. So I fall back on three training principles that help me stay grounded and on a path to peak performance in life. My guess is you may need to apply these same concepts to your own life.

It’s like the guy who told me he was going to run a 10 mile race even though he never ran more than 3 miles before. I told him he could probably force himself through the 10 miles but it wouldn’t be smart. Most likely he would put himself at major risk. His ligaments, joints, tendons, muscles, and respiratory system weren’t prepared for that increased distance. So although he may feel ok during the event, he would be paying for it afterwards.

Body awareness is a difficult thing to teach clients but a crucial component to maximizing one’s training.  Understanding your body and where it’s at in space, or how it’s moving both properly or improperly, where you’re supposed to feel something during an exercise, how to make things more challenging, or how to modify to avoid pain, is invaluable awareness that doesn’t come easily for many.

If I call out 30 burpees in a class setting and you have nagging sciatic pain, you should be prepared to do a modified version so you’re not putting your hips and back in a vulnerable position. You can’t worry about what others are doing or try to compete at a level you’re not at yet. In all that you do at the gym you need to know where you’re at and where you can take it.

Chances are you know someone who jumped into a ninety minute workout session after not working out for three months. Perhaps you are that person. Or you saw a young athlete try to max out with 100lbs more than they can handle and you cringe when they almost dropped the barbell on their chin.

Progression should be gradual. You can’t load up too quickly. Ironically, sometimes de-loading will get you more results. Go light and do it right. When you slow down the movement, control reps with full range of motion, and lighten the volume, you may gain more in the long run.

Tell me these concepts don’t apply to life.

I have come to the realization that I’m not superman. Maybe you’re the type of person that can juggle an insane amount of workload. I know I can’t. When I have too much going on I can only give people and experiences a portion of my potential and in my opinion, that’s not fair nor is it peak performance.

Phases happen and we’re all going to get caught up in the commotion from time to time. The challenge is to be aware of it and catch it, so something else can give before we do.

As I sit here writing this article my eyes draw up to a large framed picture hanging on our living room wall. The words state, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

I’m not going to attempt a mega conclusion here.  It comes down to this, the above three training principles will help us better fulfill this scripture. We can’t do what Mark 12:30 says, to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” when our life is full of distractions and our energy is depleted.

You may say you can get by on five hours of sleep every night. You may think you can add more to your schedule and enlist in more activities. You may be able to manage a life full of chaos. But I would say don’t get caught in the trap. God won’t give us more than we can handle, but the enemy will. Even great, positive, productive things he’ll put in our way to prevent us from pursuing God.

God’s response by the way, “I’ve got you right where I want you. Cast no other idols before me. When I am number one, all will work out better than you could ever imagine.”

I’m guilty.  I say I put God first.  Doing less, knowing my limits, and going light and doing it right will make my actions show it.

I encourage you to do the same.

And it may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.


Coach Theo

Monday, November 23, 2015


In a Facebook poll I did awhile ago, I asked the question: "if you could do anything you want with your life what would it be?" Many people answered. But not many, if but a few maybe, were actually doing it. 

So then my question is why? 

If there's something that you know deep down you're really supposed to be doing and you're still not doing it yet, you're missing a huge piece of yourself everyday. But even more important and why we always say it's not about us, other people are missing out on you too. 

It doesn't matter how big or small it is, from learning your favorite instrument to completely changing careers and joining the peace corps abroad. No burning desire is wasted and they all contribute to the total package of your creation. From experience I can tell you this though, it gets harder to start the longer you wait and eventually the spark will start to fade. Feed that fire today!

I'm a very stubborn Italian, on top of a childhood history of OCD, which I'm finding is finally paying off. When I want to do something I get tunnel vision and just do it. Now I never used to be like that. I had to fight hard to finally care but not care anymore and just go for it.

Change is hard, I get it. Some circumstances and phases of life are preventing you right now, I get that too. But you can always do something. Cut out TV time to start building your website. Reduce party time to start reading everything you can on what it is you want to do. Schedule a meeting with someone to get ideas. Eliminate time wasters and just stop to think! If you have children I know, the only time you get to think is at night when they go to bed. The problem is, if you are like me, you pass out as soon as you sit down too. I'm with you. But use even those five minutes before you comatose. Squeeze out every square inch you can. I'm really seeing that's a main difference between difference makers! 

Anyways, now that that's all been prefaced, HERE'S WHY YOU'RE STILL NOT DOING WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING IN LIFE:


This could be because you're too afraid. You don't want to get uncomfortable. You're waiting for someone to hand the opportunity or resources to you. You still don't know what it is to do. You're trying to avoid problems or expect none to happen. You're still listening to everyone else. 

You have to explore those reasons (sometimes excuses or lies) above. The truth is no matter what leap you take it will not be easy and your story will never look exactly like someone else's. Sacrifices are a major prerequisite to success and fulfillment, however. Slap a 100% guarantee on that. 

When we first started FMU we were willing to sacrifice our home and move back to a one bedroom apartment and drive only one car again if we had to. We were willing to suck up our egos and work side jobs for menial wages to get this business going. Listen how silly that sounds by the way. People are struggling to survive on dirt floors and with one weekly bucket of water in third world countries and our biggest concern is living in a crammed space and only possessing one vehicle. Perspective. That's nowhere near a life threatening sacrifice. But see where our privileged minds go? 

You don't need that big house right now.
You don't need two incomes right now.
You don't need more time now. 

Everything you need is right in front of you. You just need to re-identify your true needs and develop the willingness to make the sacrifices accordingly. 

You also need to discover Gods true design for your life.


Lately during some of my talks I've been telling my FMU Kids that it's not so much about what you want to do with your life but more about seeking God's design for your life. The two can be the same, don't get me wrong. But at certain times they may also be vastly different. Just because you want something may not be a part of His design for you and your purpose for being on this earth. And although you can work extremely hard at fulfilling your want, it may never work out the way it's supposed to or you may never be fulfilled in the rat race of trying to make it to. 

I just caught a documentary featuring one of the best wrestlers in the history of the sport. The details aren't that important but in a nut shell, this guy reached the highest level a wrestler could ever reach. He was an Olympic Gold Medalist, multiple world champion, and an NCAA champion. But in almost his exact words he said, it didn't get me anywhere though. People think you reach the top and something changes. I was still broke, without a job, and lost about what to do with my life (Schultz).

These accomplishments are phenomenal. Even if the situation stayed exactly the same this guy could have found total fulfillment in where he was. But so often in life we are chasing, chasing, and chasing the next level. More promotions. More championships. More facilities. More projects. More money. Only to finally achieve them and realize nothing has internally changed within us or that it wasn't really what we were supposed to be chasing. Meanwhile the entire time we were chasing them we missed all the opportunities God was calling us to elsewhere. 

I call these accomplishments false highs. False highs feel really good at the moment but eventually the sensation fades away because these highs have no eternal value. In fact, not many accomplishments do. The quicker we realize that the quicker we can stop chasing what we want and instead what God wants for us. Because even though both can look exactly the same, when it's what God wants, we now find and feel meaning behind all of our actions and experiences. If it's what God wants, awesome. If it's not what God wants, still awesome but we are still feeling lost and confused. It's a minor difference but with a major consequence.   

The other major truth is you may not be where you want, but you may need to find contentment for now because God needs you there.  How many of us have been in jobs we absolutely hate? For sure, we should probably plan an escape route but in the meantime, find contentment and look for opportunities to be USED while we are there. This is the difference between someone who flips burgers and someone who flips! burgers. 

Why did I even say all this? I'm not even sure, but hopefully someone needed to hear it. 

I'll end how I ended one of my speeches the other day. After finishing up one of our FMU Kids workouts not too long ago, we gathered into the middle of the turf to cheer for our "champ of the day" and to shout our "I WILL" chant. The young guy to win champ status that day probably didn't think he deserved it. He's not the most athletic and most popular (whatever that means)
. But he has such a phenomenal attitude and spirit about him and I love him to pieces. After a few sessions of watching him work so hard and have so much fun, there was no doubt he earned it. You should have seen his reaction when I called his name. He jumped through the roof with excitement and said, "I can't wait to tell my mom and thank her for bringing me to this place!"

You don't know how much that impacted his daily and possibly his life forever. The little things can break people's spirits or break through their spirit.

If I would have sat back and kept doing my thing and never switched my life around by making the choice to take action and do what I was put on this earth to do, I would have never been in that gym at that time with that kid to create that moment with him. To give him that boost of hope that even if no one else believes in him, I DO.

You see, it's really not so much about whether you want to or not. 

You have to.

That person needs you.

That community needs you.

God needs you.

Jesus speaks it hard and clear in Luke 9:62, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."  The footnotes of my bible further note that Jesus is making it clear in the scripture leading up to this that "demands of the kingdom override all earthly loyalties."

Push forward and never look back.

If you want more family time, make more family time.

If you want to get healthy, get healthy.

If you want to write a book, write it already.

But don't just do it because you want to.

Do it because He wants you to.

Then the pressure is off. If anything goes wrong, blame it on Him!

I can promise you this, if you are willing to make sacrifices and discover what it is that God has designed for you, it will work out exactly like it's supposed to.

And then it becomes an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.

It's not about us,
Coach Theo

Note: please excuse any typos or grammatical errors, this blog was typed on my cell phone. 

Friday, October 16, 2015


SOMETIMES THINGS JUST CLICK.  Missy Lapponi has been on a mission lately. Over the last few months alone I have watched her transform inside and out. I just can't say enough about this girl!

Missy is 30 years old and has been coming to FMU since May of 2013.  She's a hard worker with a great attitude and has been on FIRE!

"Anything But Cardio." I teased Missy about those words that I read on her tank top. I think she tossed that shirt out though, because now she's doing something that she never did before. She's running, by choice, before and after workouts.

One day she ran a mile before we worked out. Then she showed up fifteen minutes early again another night to run a mile. Then I watched her run before and after a Saturday workout one morning. Then the two miles before a 645pm workout! "Ok, Missy, what's going on?!" "I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but I'm starting to like running," she said.

That's just a small example of the spark I've seen in her.


  • She ran the Hitman Challenge 4.0 in August for her first time ever! This was a really big deal, she was so nervous. 
  • She's crushing 5k's now, including Smiles For Sophie and Roc The Croc. 
  • She's down 19lbs since January, 12 of those pounds just since June alone. 

We launched the Shred in June as a means to tighten up our nutrition and really get strict with what we put into our bodies. This is where we saw Missy's biggest mindset shift happen. She was so determined and refused to give up. She stayed consistent and dedicated and ended up losing 12lbs in those five weeks. And to this date, she's still shredding!

Since I met Missy she is down more than 20lbs. I share her story now with a lot of people because she'll admit, she used to say the common phrase, "I'm doing everything I can, but the weight isn't coming off." I want people to know that once you really do, it will. Missy is proof.

"The biggest thing that has clicked for me is fixing my diet. (Thanks to the shred!!:) That if I mess up one meal it's ok, just make better decisions for my next meal. Don't blow the whole day and say, "I'll start tomorrow".  Once I stopped that, I saw changes. Then that motivated me more and more. I told myself no more excuses." 

In every game-changer blog I point this out, it's not solely about the weight loss, or the enhanced performance, or the new results that earn someone game-changer status. All that stuff is phenomenal. But just like I tell my kids after every workout when we pick "champ of the day," #ChampStatus is earned from the extra effort put forth, the sharpened focus and determination, and the new found desire and WILL. Those are the attributes that make up a game-changer. From there, the results just happen.  

So in class when I see Missy choose the sleds for a cardio battle instead of any other exercise and then say to me, "you said to pick the move we hate the most, so I did."

Well I think that just seals the deal.

For your amazing attitude, dedication, and transformation, congratulations Missy for being our FMU OCTOBER GAMECHANGER OF THE MONTH!

Coach Theo and Coach Amber


Wednesday, September 2, 2015



Pictures can be deceiving. Social media posts can make you think that life is so much greener in other's lives. I hope you never take us that way. 

If you're like us, you've probably found yourself saying multiple times, "If only there were television cameras following us right now we would be the next best reality TV show!"

We are crazy. I'm singing made up lyrics to songs while trying to do the whip and the nae nae, while Gio is jumping off of furniture shooting Nerf darts at the window, and the baby is crying for no reason, because she does that. Meanwhile we were supposed to be getting ready, so mommy is telling us her heart is pounding out of her chest because we are driving her nutz and not listening to her! Thirty minutes later we walk into church with a smile on our face like nothing happened.

None of us are perfect. The quicker we realize that, the better. Our family is so dysfunctional and I think what helps me is knowing that ALL others are too. In fact I don’t even know why I’m writing this blog other than to assure you that you’re not alone either, in case you didn’t know that already.

The good news is we don’t have to put up a front. To do so is detrimental and does more harm than good. I read this the other day in It Is Finished, by Tullian Tchividijian, “Because of the gospel, we have nothing to prove or protect. We can stop pretending. We can take off our masks and be real. The gospel frees us from trying to impress people, appease people, or measure up for people. The gospel frees us from trying to control what other people think about us.”

This is not an excuse to settle on that. This just provides freedom and liberation. Like the title spells out, It. Is. Finished.  Jesus died on the cross. He is perfection. He paved the way. We can’t do anything to obtain any more favor in His eyes. We can’t become perfect, ever. But it doesn’t mean we don’t constantly work to improve ourselves and get better, on a daily basis, always.

To offer some action steps I will take what I write about in my book, Conversations With Gio, and add some quick thoughts.

When our family dynamics are dysfunctional, I need some help from Triple AAA:

What’s happening here? Reflect on it. For example, this is where I ask, “Am I a dummy and did I just said something stupid to my wife?”

Ok, so now I know what happened and it’s time to acknowledge it. I can’t just sweep it under the rug and try to move on.

  • Repent: “I am a dummy and I did just say something stupid to my wife.”
  • Ask for forgiveness: from God and my family.
  • Seek guidance, strength, and change: “God, if it is me and I do need to change something, show me how and help me do it!”

What are you going to do about it? Time to put it into action and actually DO IT. 

Sometimes things aren’t always as tangible and easy to figure out. At minimum, PRAY FOR MY FAMILY.  A huge flaw of mine is to think that I can change them. I can’t. All I can be is the leader and example and that’s what I need to focus on, doing my part. I need to pray for that first.  For them, I need to pray hard that if something does need to change in their hearts, that it does. "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow." (1 Cor 3:6)

I don’t have it all down yet, but I’ll keep trying. And as I’m driving home from the gym the other day, one of my favorite new songs came on my playlist and gave me more reason to….

"No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless.
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless."
(Mercy Me, "Flawless")

We’re all damaged goods. But there’s peace in knowing that in His eyes, no matter what happens or what we do, His work has made us flawless.

The pressure is off.

Time to step it up and not just be great families anymore, but the best families we can be.

Because Jesus loved us, He died for us. Because we love our families so much, we need to die for them. "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Phil 1:21)

The sooner we get some Triple AAA, the sooner we can put the function back in our dysfunction and do just that.

And when we do, it may be an absolute game-changer for us and everyone in our lives.

It's not about me,

Coach Theo