Monday, November 23, 2015

WHY YOU AREN'T DOING WHAT YOU WANT IN LIFE

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:

1. YOU'RE NOT WILLING TO SACRIFICE.

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.

2. YOUR WANT MAY BE DIFFERENT THAN GOD'S NEED.

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

SEE WHY MISSY LAPPONI IS THE FMU GAMECHANGER OF THE MONTH

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.

HERE'S WHAT ELSE HAS BLOWN MY MIND ABOUT MISSY:

  • 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. 


THE ATHLETE SHREDDER
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!


#ItsNotAboutUs,
Coach Theo and Coach Amber





   






Wednesday, September 2, 2015

PUTTING THE FUNCTION IN DYSFUNCTION, WHY WE ARE NOT A PERFECT FAMILY PART 1

"WE ARE NOT A PERFECT FAMILY, AND WILL NEVER PRETEND TO BE."

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:

1. AWARENESS
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?”

2. ACCEPTANCE
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!”


3. AWAKENING
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

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

YOUR NAME MATTERS, THE GAME-CHANGER

"YOUR NAME MATTERS. That's what I tell all my kids."

Pictured in the shot to the left is one of FMU's champs of the year, Lila. She won this FMU t-shirt because she completed the Name Challenge at our Be Great 8 Summer Camp. At the beginning of our camp session I told the kids to try to remember all 30 camper's names by the end of the 2-hour session (all different ages, all different schools). At the end, if they knew all the names then they could compete to win a free t-shirt. So throughout the camp I watched kids going up to other kids asking what their names were. Then I saw them practicing by going around to each other to see if they remembered. At the end of camp, we had to actually battle it out for the fastest time, because a few of them got all the names right. Lila edged Clare by a few seconds to win the FMU hot pink t-shirt!

The message: NAMES MATTER.

You have 4 rules at FMU:
1. Listen when you're supposed to.
2. Be nice to each other.
3. Have fun.
4. Use names.

When you remember someone's name it shows them that they mean something to you.  I can't tell you how many compliments I've received from parents because they think it's crazy how I can remember kids' names so quick at parties and events. I think my record is 42 kids, after one time of them telling me at the beginning of a Holy Trinity after-school session.

To be honest, it's a skill I practice and take very seriously. I want them to know that they mean something to me.

And after talking about it to one of my coaching buddies this morning, there are some things I actually do to sharpen my name-remembering skills.

HERE'S MY FOUR STEP SYSTEM TO REMEMBERING NAMES:
1. I ASK THEM at the beginning of every session when they walk in.
2. I CIRCLE THEM UP AS A GROUP AND MAKE THEM go around and say their names before starting our session. Sometimes we play a ball toss game or Spud to help remember.
3. I THEN GO AROUND and repeat their names.
4. I TRY TO SAY THEIR NAMES at least 3x throughout the workout. This forces me to figure it out if for some reason I forgot.

SOME BONUSES:

  • I may have them spell it if it's unique. 
  • I look at it on my roster to remember it. 
  • I do have a photographic memory, which helps me big time.

Look, I know it sounds silly, but this could be one of the biggest reasons why kids love coming to FMU.

Last year a mom stood in my gym thanking me. With tears welling up in her eyes she said "I'm so glad I found this place. This has to be one of the best places for my child. And you know what excited him so much when he came back after the first week?  He said you remembered his name."

Names matter.

And I promise you if you remember them, it will be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.

It's not about me,
Coach Theo

*Please excuse any grammar mistakes. I did not edit. 









Tuesday, July 7, 2015

SEE WHY AMY HADDAD IS OUR FMU GAMECHANGER OF THE MONTH

One of my favorite new songs  (a head-banging song as some of my clients would call it, even though it's nowhere near headbanging music) must have been written with Amy Haddad in mind. The lyrics go like this:

Cause I'm a fighter inside the ring,
a champion of suffering,
I'm a warrior, I'm a conqueror.
I'll dance my way through the darkest night,
I'll find my joy in the morning light,
I'm a warrior, I'm a conqueror
So bring on the night.
Bring on the night.

It's by a Christian band named Estoria and it's fitting that the title is "WARRIOR." 

If you haven't heard it yet, you may want to check it out here. It may make it to your workout playlist too:



If you know Amy and her story, I'm sure you would agree that's definitely what she is, a warrior.

I first met Amy at my book signing last spring. I then saw her in action at our Hitman Challenge in August of 2014. I was blown away by her performance. She came in 8th place for the female division, in a division stacked with extremely fit women!  Somewhere along the way we became more connected and now over the last few months she's been an official FMU member!

After seeing her slash her 5k time by three minutes this past weekend at Smiles For Sophie Forever, she pretty much sealed the deal on this GAMECHANGER status.

Let me just point out the obvious first:
  • Amy shows up at 5:30am five days a week to workout.
  • Amy doesn't get tired.
  • Amy doesn't slow down.


If you know what makes up a big chunk of her workout regimen, you would probably understand why. She has a trainer named Shane who makes her work hard outside of this gym! Shane is her 9 year old son. He's in a wheelchair which means when he wants to go running, mommy is pushing! And he likes it so much that three miles is considered their short run. Just because Amy already worked out that day doesn't get her off the hook either. "He still makes me push him all over Rocky River!"

If you don't know about superhero Shane's story, here's a tiny snippet:

"Shane was diagnosed with brain and spinal cord cancer called Pilomyxoid Astrocytoma in 2010 when he was almost 4 years old.  He is now 9 years old.  Shane underwent surgery to de-bulk the large tumor in his head.  He tried many different chemotherapy treatments for a year and yet the tumors continued to grow.  Therefore, he had to have radiation treatment everyday for 7 weeks.  After radiation, he underwent another surgery to de-bulk the large tumor again.  This treatment has keep his tumors from growing.  The tumors are considered stable now.  They are still present but not growing.  As a result of treatments, Shane has experienced seizures as a side effect.  He had brain surgery in hopes to eliminate seizing.  Unfortunately, he had a stroke during that surgery and has lost movement in his left side and is still seizing."  

Shane is an amazing kid. If you ever meet him you'll love him. He came into our Rocky workouts during the school year with his mom and would hit the boxing bag the entire time.

So look, here's your checkpoint. You can't make an excuse anymore.

Amy could come up with plenty of them. She could skip morning class when she's up with Shane all night. She could complain about being too tired after carrying him up and down the stairs. She could say that the hospital visits and daily regimen wears her out too much. She could also say that her other two kids (11 and 7) are keeping her too busy also.

But yet, she still shows up bright and early packing her bubbly positive attitude with her every time she walks into FMU.

She has a bigger reason.

"Shane is a true miracle and a blessing from God!  Our hero!  He keeps me going and is the reason I started working out.  I had to get strong to be able to carry and move him every day." 

I always say you can stand in the same room with someone and have no idea what their world is like. And then you get to know them, and their story completely changes the way you look at them and most importantly, yourself. 

If you don't know Amy Haddad yet, get to know her today.  

Then you'll see why she's an absolute game-changer to us and everyone in her life.

It's not about me,
Coach Theo



Thursday, July 2, 2015

THREE COMMON MISTAKES YOUTH COACHES ARE MAKING

Being a youth training coach is my biggest passion and why FMU was started in the first place.

I work with hundreds of kids each week ranging from ages 5 years and up. A very important factor to take into consideration each training session is, "what are you guys doing outside of here?" As you know, some of these kids are in a lot of sports and activities each week! Well, sometimes I hear some crazy stuff that their coaches are making them do and quite honestly, it makes me cringe!

ATTN PARENTS: Be on the alert and yes, your gut is right. They probably shouldn't be doing that.


HERE ARE THREE COMMON CONDITIONING MISTAKES THAT YOUTH COACHES ARE MAKING:

1. THEY MAKE KIDS DO A CRAZY AMOUNT OF BOX JUMPS
Unfortunately, any coach can just pull up a fitness forum and steal some workout ideas, which possibly prescribes a ridiculous amount of box jumps, for adults. And then unfortunately, we use box jumps as conditioning and encourage our kids to do a lot of them.

What I commonly hear from kids: "Our coaches made us go really fast when jumping on the box." "We are told to jump back not step back."  "We had to do as many as we could in 1 minute." "We did 10 reps in the circuit, and then as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes."

SOLUTION:
I think boxes can be great, just like any other implement in the gym, but WHEN DONE RIGHT. At FMU we teach landing skills more than anything and proper vertical jump technique. The box is used obviously because kids think it's fun and they like to challenge themselves. But no matter what, you must use LOW REP schemes (6-8) and constantly encourage and ensure proper technique.
  • We tell them to land on the box like a ninja, super soft so no one can hear them. 
  • We also tell them when they land on the box with two feet at the same time, land in a squat position then extend into a standing position. 
  • We also tell them to step back instead of jumping back. Jumping back down to the ground can cause a lot of wear and tear on the achilles and ankles. 
  • When we jump down from the box it's always into a ninja landing position. Again, with a soft deceleration into a squat position--pushing the butt back and feet flat. 

2. THEY PUNISH KIDS WITH PUSH-UPS
This is a huge concern of mine. It is very rare for me to meet a child under the age of 14 who can do 10 solid perfect push-ups in a row before form starts to break down. I would say maybe 1 out of 10 kids can do it. So when I hear how my kids are being punished to do push-ups because they lost a game or they misbehaved at practice, here are three main concerns that pop into my head:

  • I know that those 50-100 push-ups were so sloppy that they are lucky they didn't get hurt. 
  • I know that they probably just developed a negative association with push-ups now because they were used as punishment.
  • I know those push-ups didn't really teach them much about how to become a better athlete, or fix their mistakes they made in the game, or develop discipline to not misbehave again, because there's really no relationship between push-ups and the issue at hand.
SOLUTION:
I would stop using push-ups as punishment.

When we do them let's teach them. Start with the push-up hold in the top position. I can't tell you how much progress I've seen kids make from getting stronger here first. Push-ups take a lot of core strength. As my kids' core strength and control develops, so do their push-ups. Here are a few starting points and progressions you can use:
  • Hold for :10-:30 seconds.
  • Then hold for :10 seconds then add in one push-up.
  • When they're ready, or for older kids (11-14 yrs), hold for :10 seconds then add in 3 push-ups.
  • Then hold for :10 seconds then add in 3 push-ups and do that 2-3x. 
  • Or for fun challenges, work on push-up walks for 10yds, 2-3x (lateral, forward, and backward. Add spins, add a push-up at the end of 10yds, the variations are endless). Try these yourself, they are very challenging but awesome to help kids develop total body systemic strength.

3. THEY TURN LADDER DRILLS INTO EXHAUSTING WORKOUTS
I understand the desire by many to get faster but we gotta be careful here with these NFL ladder drills we're throwing out there. One of my kids told me they did a 45 minute ladder workout during practice, and it wasn't technique building with instruction and plenty of breaks either.

Why is this a problem? 
Well if we're not focusing on quality movements then we're just training bad movement patterns. The focus should not be about harder and faster but more about BETTER. "When you can do the icky shuffle better than you can go faster." "When you can do that fancy back foot crossover with finesse than you can go harder." The other main problem is the wear and tear on our kids' feet and ankles again. Remember, what are they doing outside of here? If they are playing multiple soccer games each week and on the club team and the travel team practicing a few days with each team each week, then pounding their ankles and legs again after all that wear and tear can absolutely crush them.

I love to use ladders and think they can be a phenomenal way to enhance coordination skills and good rhythm, but they're actually such a small part of my training program, not a main focus.


  • We mix them into games and obstacle courses. 
  • We usually stick to basics like running both feet in each step, two feet in and out hop scotch, one foot hop scotch, lateral in and outs with both feet, robots, etc. 
  • We tell them light and smooth.
  • We tell them try not to the hit any part of the ladder. 
  • We tell them to go slow at first and then pick up the speed gradually as they get better at flowing with the movement. 
  • *For our little kids we usually just let them explore and play with it to see what they come up with. For ages 5-9 it's more about seeing if they can figure it out, not drilling them. 
4. THEY MAKE THEM DO INSANITY
I want to throw in a bonus here. You know that INSANITY program you see on infomercials? It's never a good idea to make your kids do that workout. 

These are just a few common mistakes I'm hearing that youth coaches are making. It's usually not their fault. Some just don't know any better. That's why I'm putting this out there. I'm here to help coaches in any way possible to make sure we're doing things right with our kids. We want them to move better, we want them to feel better, and we really want them to love what they're doing.

Now, there are some coaches out there with so much ego they don't want to hear it. For them, I'd like to run them through one of my Coach Theo Adult Training Camp Workouts to humble them a little bit! 

It's not about me,
Coach Theo

*Coach Theo holds 6 youth certifications from the IYCA (International Youth Conditioning Association). He was also nominated as a Top 8 Finalist for the IYCA Coach of the Year. 







Sunday, June 28, 2015

RACE WEEK PREP FOR SMILES FOR SOPHIE, 6 DAYS OUT

It's time for one of our favorite 5k's this weekend, Smiles For Sophie Forever Bash N' Dash on July 4th in Avon Lake, Oh!  

Some of you have been training hard with us for the last few weeks to run your FASTEST 5k!  You really want to make sure you do the right things this week leading up to the race.

I used to think that tapering the week before would help me freshen up and perform better, but I've actually found the opposite to be true. I peak during my second week back from a taper. So I've found that keeping my workouts the same during race week helps me feel strong and powerful on race day.

Below are a few of my race week DO'S and DON'TS that will help you maximize your 5k performance this weekend:

1. DO RUN 30/30's ON WED.
If you've been following my TO THE MAX FASTEST 5K PROGRAM and have done these before, then do them again on Wednesday. You run fast for :30 seconds then you rest for :30 seconds and you repeat for 20 sets. Your leg muscles will remember this speed on Saturday and you'll feel like you can maintain this power the entire race.

2. DO RUN 10 MINUTES AT A MEDIUM PACE ON FRIDAY NIGHT.
This is a secret I've been practicing for a few years now. On Friday night, usually sometime between the  4-9pm window, I'll head out for a nice medium paced 10 minute run. It's not fast but it's not slow. It keeps my muscles loose, blood flowing, and my heart primed and ready to go the next morning.

3. DO MIND-MAP YOUR RACE FOR 3 MINUTES.
I personally believe that thinking too much will hinder your performance. However, you do have to spend at least a few minutes visualizing your game plan. Here's what I want you to map out in your head:
a. The start. Where are you placing yourself? How fast are you starting off? When are you settling into your pace?
b. The wall. How will you push through when you hit it? For me it's the start of mile 2. I'm always like how the heck am I going to keep this pace for another 2 miles!? And the response has to be, just do it.
c. The finish. You better believe you are finishing this race strong. You've trained your butt off to run your fastest. I know it's painful but in a few more minutes you're done and you get to enjoy the day. Crush it!

4. DO SLEEP GREAT.
It's especially important to get your sleep this week. I know it's hard but be honest, some of you do it to yourselves. If you have kids, I know it's not very likely. But fight for those 7.5-8 hours/night as much as possible this week. I'm convinced that if you spent some time learning the vital role that sleep plays in your performance and results, you would be convinced to do whatever you could to sleep more.

5. DO JOG YOUR JITTERS OUT BEFORE THE STARTING BLOCK.
It's really hard to run fast from a cold start. I spend even just three minutes jogging a little bit about 10 minutes before the race starts. I even do a few short sprints to get my heart jump started. Being loose, being warm, and breaking a sweat helps prepare your mind and body big time.

6. DON'T WEAR NEW SHOES AND TRY NEW GOOS. 
Unless you've worn your shoes a few times and are used to them, don't put a brand new pair on for the first time on race day. It's not guaranteed that you'll get blisters or they'll feel too awkward but you are definitely taking a big chance. Race day is not the time and place to test out new footwear, nor is it the right time to try out new goos or energy blocks. If you haven't tried them before, your stomach may not respond well and you'll end up with discomfort and GI tract issues (i.e. standing in line at the port-a-potty or slowing down during the race from stomach cramps).

7. DON'T CHANGE YOUR DIET NOW.
Unless you are cleaning it up, I wouldn't try any new tricks that you read about on that performance nutrition article that just came across your Facebook feed. Carb loading? I wouldn't go that route either. Keep your diet lean and clean and balanced as usual.  I will point out that energy will most likely come from what you ate a few days before rather than that pre-race big pasta dinner the night before. Replenishing glycogen stores is a process and doesn't happen overnight. Peak performance is more about what you're doing days, weeks, and even months leading up to an event, not what you're cramming in last second. It's fun and ok to mix in some carbs as a tradition, but don't stuff yourself! It will slow you down.


8. DON'T DO NEW WORKOUTS OR RUN FASTER THIS WEEK.
Kind of like the premise above in number 7, there's nothing you're going to do this week that is going to enhance your performance other than being smart about your training and keeping things regular. If you've never cycled before, now's not the time to try that new spinning class to see if you like it. And I know your adrenaline is pumping for race day too, but turning up the Rocky tunes as you sprint faster than ever before during your workout this week, isn't going to anything but possibly wear you out and leave your legs feeling trashed. Save it for Saturday.

9. DON'T THINK TOO MUCH.
As I said before, thinking too much can slow you down. Worrying doesn't make you run faster. You've trained. You are prepared physically. Just show up and do your thing. Drop your expectations because honestly, you don't know what to expect. You may wake up too sick to even run that day. Expect only one thing, what we always chant with our kids. "I WILL, BE THE BEST, THAT I, CAN BE." The rest is HIStory.

10. DON'T THINK IT'S THAT BIG OF A DEAL.
Look, of course we want you to rise up and do your absolute best. We should all strive to reach our greatest potential. But think about the bigger picture, is it really that big of a deal? It's a race. There are way more important things in life to be worrying about than our PR times. Remember why we are really there. Sophie has a story. She passed away and now leaving a legacy through her story. Being there on Saturday is bringing us into her story. We contributed to her foundation that will benefit cancer research and other families that are affected by cancer. We are joining together as a community to be apart of something greater than ourselves and show that It's Not About Us. But then we gotta ask ourselves, how will we use Sophie to change how we live out our daily lives?  That's the bigger deal we should be worrying about.

Now that I said that, show up and run your heart out.

It may be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.

It's not about me,
Coach Theo


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

MY FOUR WAYS TO BE A BETTER FATHER

If I make it to 99 years old one day and get the chance to lie on my death bed with the time to reflect on my life, the 4th thing I want to be remembered for is being a great business owner. The third thing I want to be remembered for is being a great coach. The second thing I want to be remembered for is being a great family man. And the first and most important thing I want to be remembered for is being a great Christian man.

So why would I spend more time focusing on the 3rd and 4th thing on my list, instead of the 1st and 2nd?

This past Sunday I was sitting in church listening to a phenomenal sermon on Father's Day. My son Gio wanted to sit with us in big church instead of going into the kid's room. While sitting their together I began reflecting on being a father to him (I only tuned out the sermon for a few minutes).

It's such a great responsibility being a dad. Am I being a good one? What would my kids say about it? Later on in life when they're older, how do I get them to say that I was a great dad?

I absolutely love being a dad. It is the best thing that's ever happened to me. But I mess up a lot and I'd like to reduce my mess-ups as much as possible.

So I sat there in service and decided to take a few minutes to jot down some action steps on what I need to do to step up my game. Just like writing up a training program or a vision map for our business, I know that if I do these things, then I can only continue to get better as a father.

HERE ARE MY 4 WAYS TO BE A BETTER FATHER

1. PLAN TIME WITH MY KIDS DAILY
I used to think this was ridiculous. Plan time in my schedule to be with my kids? No way, that should just happen. I shouldn't have to plug that into my daily regimen. Well, guess what? I failed. I get caught up in other things and before you know it, I'm a distracted parent not spending quality time with my kids. I plan meetings. I plan training sessions. I plan my own workout time. I HAVE to plan play time with my kids. So if I say that from 3-5pm today I'm #ALLin with my kids, then I know nothing else is allowed to be done during that time. We can go for a walk, we can play legos, I can paint my daughter's toe nails (which I did the other day by the way), but I cannot do anything else but be fully in the moment with them. It's so much harder than it sounds. Watch.

2. PLAN DADDY-SON AND DADDY-DAUGHTER DAYS
Sometimes our kids just need some one on one time. Two weekends ago Gio and I stayed at a hotel together. At first it was going to be a family thing, then we realized the baby wasn't going to let us sleep that night. So it ended up just being Gio and I. He loved it. It was at the Cambria in Avon by the way---a sweet hotel, thanks to a friend's husband who owns it! He was so excited to watch a show before we fell asleep and eat breakfast in the morning together.  He even said, "we gotta do this again next week daddy."  It doesn't have to be staying away for long, even just a movie or meal.  My daughter will need this too.  I don't know how often it should be, but I know it should be often.

3. ASK MY KIDS THESE TWO QUESTIONS EVERY NIGHT
How was your day today? Is there anything that you wish you could have done?  I need to sit with them before they go to bed and actively listen to them and genuinely care what they have to say.  I've been surprised a few times by what Gio has said was his favorite part. Sometimes it's simple things that you wouldn't guess would be his favorite, like sitting on the ground at the corner store eating a popsicle together. It's also a reality check if he says well I want to play more with you because you were on your phone a lot for work today.

You might not think this is powerful but by taking at least a few minutes each day to reflect with each other can help put meaning behind our daily grind, instead of just making it another day that goes by too quick. Plus, when they see that you're making changes based on their feedback, they know you're listening, and they know you care.

4. PLAN WEEKLY DATE NIGHTS WITH MOMMY
I've been talking about this challenge for a few years now and we still can't get a rhythm. What does this have to do with our kids you're asking? Well they need to see that mommy and daddy love each other, A LOT. So much that we know how important it is to never lose US-time and that we'll actually devote a time block each week to it. Amber and I talked about it yesterday. We need two hours a week, even in the middle of the day after work to go grab a bite to eat or whatever it is, and just be in-tune to one another. Gio and Alana may not get this right now but I know they will later on in life. Our children are a part of our lives, we're not a part of theirs. They have to see that husband and wife come first. So if we lead by example, they're more likely to follow later on in life when they are married and have kids, and they are going to say my dad was a great dad, he loved my mom!

I was listening to one of my favorite speakers Bishop TD Jakes in his sermon a few days ago, and he said something that really hit home with me. He said something along the lines like, "Each day I have many roles to fill. The role of a pastor. The role of a business owner. The role of a father. And the role of a husband. I have to know that because I'm human, each day I'm going to flunk at one of these roles."

I'm going to add that not only am I human, but I am a man!  I'm not going to be 100% in all my roles each day. I'm a husband. A father. A business owner. A coach. I'm going to flunk at at least one of these, because my gender isn't wired to get it all right!

BUT, I've seen how detrimental it is for kids with distracted parents. As a social worker I saw kids literally dying inside because of the absence of a father.

So if I'm going to flunk at one of my 4 main roles each day, then I don't want it to be my 1st and 2nd.

My prayer is that I wake up each day with my first intention dedicated to succeeding at being a great father and a great husband.

For today and hopefully everyday, a great business owner and a great coach will have to stay 3rd and 4th place.

Be a better father today. There's no doubt that this will be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.

It's not about me,
Coach Theo

*Please excuse any typos or grammar mistakes. I did not edit.










Wednesday, June 10, 2015

TOP 10 HABITS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL BODY SHRED ATHLETES



Do you do these 10 things?  If not, let it be encouraging, because that means there's room for improvement.




1. KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL 
Maybe not always, but at least occasionally to checkpoint yourself.

2. PLAN OUT YOUR WEEKLY MEALS. 
You might not stick to it exactly, but you should have a guide of what you're eating every day throughout the week. This includes planning a "free meal" when/if you know you're going to let loose. 

3. GO GROCERY SHOPPING OR HAVE SOMEONE ELSE DO IT FOR YOU.
If you're not buying groceries then you're probably not eating good food most of the time.

4. EAT PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL.
Aim for 20-25 grams of protein each meal. Recommended basic guidelines are 3/4 of a gram per your bodyweight each day. 

5. EAT GOOD CARBS FROM FRUITS AND VEGETABLES and sometimes brown rice, quinoa, etc. 
No carb diets don't work, at least not for long. When people say they aren't eating carbs they're probably talking about breads and pastas and junk food. You need carbs, just good ones. 

6. EAT GOOD FATS AT MOST MEALS. 
Back in the day people used to be so scared of fats, which is why food companies started producing all kinds of "low-fat" and "no-fat" processed garbage. We know the human body needs fat. Fat is a big source of energy. You just need GOOD fats. Again, olive oil, avocado, salmon, and some nuts if you're body responds well to those. 

7. SUPPLEMENT WITH AT LEAST A MULTI-VITAMIN AND FISH OIL.
Oops, I've been forgetting to tell you to take fish oil---omega 3's and 6's. From what I've researched, we are all deficient in omega's and this is usually a main supplement recommended for all human beings. *NOTE: You should always try to get your vitamins and minerals from FOOD sources. I'm not trying to push supplements. If you eat ideal, then you don't need them. I know a lot of people are skeptical of supplements, which I still am as well. But just by seeing the difference in the way I feel, they are helping. And high quality ones are much better (Amber and I are researching and testing a new product that seems promising, we'll keep you informed afterwards). For good fatty acids, if you like fish, aim to eat fish high in DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids two to three times a week.

8. DRINK WATER AND MOSTLY WATER.

9. SLEEP 7.5-8 HOURS A NIGHT.
People without kids have no excuse, but when you're a parent, it's not going to happen most nights. Just know that you should fight for it and take it when you can get it.

10. REDUCE STRESS.
You gotta give yourself down-time. You can't worry all the time. You have to eliminate negative things, situations, and people. You can't do so much. You get the picture. 

AND HERE ARE MY PERSONAL BONUSES. THESE ARE MY OPINION. TAKE THEM FOR WHAT THEY'RE WORTH. I firmly believe that people that do these next five things are way ahead of the game.

11. ELIMINATE OR GREATLY REDUCE TV AND RADIO STATIONS.

12. READ QUALITY BOOKS.

13. PRAY.

14. HAVE A SUPPORT GROUP, A HEALTHY FRIEND, OR MENTOR TO REGULARLY CHECKPOINT THEM.

15. MAKE NO EXCUSES AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR LIFE AND HOW THEY LIVE IT.


If you read that scripture above, don't take it the wrong way.

It's about living with INTENTION and not just going through the motions. 

Your body doesn't own you.

Make it do what you want it to do.

People are watching and following.

If there's one question to ask yourself today it's this:  "ARE YOU LIVING EXACTLY LIKE YOU WANT TO?" 

If not, then keep making changes. 

Trust me, I don't have it all right.

I have so much work to do to be a better husband, father, coach, owner, speaker, athlete, etc.

I'm willing to rise up.

Are you?

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

It's not about us,
Coach Theo

Friday, May 22, 2015

the routine that will incinerate body fat, without even exercising


So after all these years of thinking you need to kill yourself in the gym to lose weight and burn body fat, the secret is being revealed right here.

Here's a top notch routine that is guaranteed to define your body:


REP 1: MAKE A GROCERY LIST
Think of the week ahead and map out your meals. Write out a list of what you need to buy to prepare those meals.

REP 2: GO TO THE GROCERY STORE
You need to get in your car and drive to the grocery store or farmer's market to purchase your food, or have someone else do it for you. Buy whole foods, organic foods, clean foods, non-gmo foods, foods that are high in quality nutrients, single ingredient foods, high protein, good fats, and carbs from fruits and veggies.  You don't' need those boxed foods or junk foods with all sorts of processed ingredients in them.  Bring the bags of food home and unload them into your cabinets and refrigerator.

REP 3: PREPARE YOUR MEALS
All those items and ingredients you bought, you need to now put them together to cook and prepare your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

REP 4: EAT YOUR MEALS
Actually eat the food you bought. Don't skip two meals a day and pound all the food at night. Don't eat all your week's groceries in one day. Spread it out and control your portion sizes.

PRESCRIBED SETS:
Do this every week, every month, every year, for the rest of your life.

MODIFICATIONS:
Eat out a lot? Look at the menu ahead of time and don't even look at one when you get here. Order veggies, fruit, and protein. You can get it at almost every restaurant.

Sounds so easy.

But if it were, then everybody would be doing it.

It is however, guaranteed to be an absolute game-changer for you and your body.

"It's not always about what you're doing at the gym. It's almost always about what you're putting in your mouth." 

It's not about me,
Coach Theo























Thursday, May 7, 2015

THIS HALTS MY HUNGER, AND CUTS STUBBORN FAT

I read an awesome book one time about the mindset, called "SWITCH." Something this book emphasized a lot is the concept of shaping your path. Quite honestly, in most situations, your will power is not enough.

For example, regarding nutrition ,the majority of the time you will not win the fight against your cravings. You need to prevent them from happening in the first place.

So without a doubt, GREEN TEA will help you do just that. It halts my hunger and helps cut that stubborn belly fat (if you're eating right on top of it). I highly recommend drinking 1-2 glasses every day. Hot Tea, brewed. Not the lipton junk you get at the gas station. If it's caffeinated, drink early in the day so it doesn't keep you up at night. Another great tea is Ooolong Tea if you want to try something different. Many health benefits to both.

If you get cravings every afternoon and can't stop eating your children's snacks, I'd try drinking a glass of hot green tea during or after lunch time. Watch the difference.  If you also have a hard time controlling yourself at night before bed, I would drink a glass of decaf green tea after dinner too. Again, watch the magic.

I'll be honest, I get nervous if I go a day without drinking a glass early morning because I notice the difference in my hunger right away. And that's a problem, because I loooooove to eat.

Shape your path by drinking green tea today.

It may just be an absolute game-changer.

It's not about me,
Coach Theo

*Please excuse any edits, typed on my iphone.

Monday, April 20, 2015

PFZ FINAL TALLY, PLUS MY CONFESSION

Another incredible event this weekend. Pull Ups For Zoe team competition is definitely the way to go. We had over 70 adults and kids cranking out some pull ups at FMU on Saturday, reaching a combined total of 10, 653 pull-ups at our site alone! Our main goal was 10,000 pull-ups nationwide. On top of that, we raised $5,500 just from FMU (Fit Me Up) and FR (Fitness Revolution CLE) contributions at our site.

Now, add in all of our national partners, and we hit 18,453 pull-ups so far! I'm still waiting on a few gyms to give me their final numbers. And, we're at almost $8,000 raised for Zoe and The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

I have to be honest with you about something though.  The event was a huge success, such a great high all day, and an absolute game-changing experience.

But I don't know why I did it.

I mean until the second we started our first pull-up at 6am Saturday morning, I don't know why.

Why pull-ups? It's just another fitness move, right? Anyone can do them.

Why another charity event? Don't people do 5k's every weekend or something?

Why raise money again? Aren't people always asking you for contributions?

Why did Zoe's story about her Make-A-Wish come into my life 3 years ago?  And why did I decide that we had to pull together for her to help make that wish come through?

So here's where I want to take you with this, I don't fully know why. I don't think we ever fully know. But like Hebrews 11 1:40 spells out, it's FAITH IN ACTION.  "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

Do you think that three years ago I would have ever seen PFZ evolve into this?

That I would have ever know that people would really come together to raise almost $50,000 so far for the CF Foundation?

I have no clue if people are really going to sign up for the team competition and show up on a Saturday morning at 5:30am to start prepping.

I have no clue that people are really going to go to our fundraising site to donate money to the cause.

I would never have guessed that my partners from ActivPrayer and Men's Health Top Trainer would join us around the nation, hundreds of miles apart from one another, to do pull-ups for a girl that they've never even met, to spread her story to their people, to pass on the inspiration of what it means to give back by using fitness for a much bigger purpose.

But you know what, I built the Razoo fundraising site anyways. I made the flyer anyways. I started emailing people anyways. I just put it out there, set the date, and asked.

Because that's what you do WHEN CALLED. YOU FOLLOW.

You're not going to know what's going to happen. You can't wait for the answers or the right time.

Faith is believing in something you can't see, and acting on it so you can become, and help others become, the people they were meant to.

Then you show up and you walk in and you give all that you have, just like the widow.

Mark 12: 41-44 tells of the Widow's Offering.
"Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
It's about the numbers, but it's not.
It's just pull-ups, but it's so much more.
It's just another charity event, but it's so much more.
It's just another day of people coming together, side by side, cranking out the hardest move in fitness, but it's so much more.
I'm not going to make it more than what it is for you, that's up to you.  
All I know for certain is Zoe had a make-a-wish, she could have used it for herself, but she decided to give it back.  The story landed in our hands, not out of coincidence, but for a reason.  We recognized our gift, talent, and ability to pay it forward also.
It's your turn now. 
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Chances are the opportunity is right in front of you. You may not see it. But you better believe it.
Now get out there and use your STRENGTH TO SERVE today. It may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.
It's not about us,
Coach Theo
#BeatTheOdds #StartAFire #OneRepAtATime




Wednesday, April 15, 2015

THE STORY BEHIND PULL UPS FOR ZOE

Pull Ups For Zoe started 3 years ago.  This is the exact chapter from my book, "Conversations With Gio, (on Amazon)" about how Zoe and I met, what she did that inspired me so much, and how the first-ever PFZ event unfolded.

Now we continue to grow and spread this wonderful DEDICATION across the nation.  Read the story. Find your inspiration. And get ready to join us this Saturday, April 18, 2015, for an incredible day of inspired action for something much greater than ourselves.  It's not about us, but it sure does start with us!

CONVERSATIONS WITH GIO CHAPTER 25: PULL UPS FOR ZOE

Fifty-two pills a day. Therapeutic vest treatments routinely. Nebulizer treatments regularly. Multiple hospital stays annually.

It’s not something anyone should have to endure, let alone a child.

Meet Zoe, sixteen years old. She Does. Diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at only a few days old, she's lucky to be alive. At the time of her birth, only two states screened for cystic fibrosis at infancy. She happened to live in one of them.  The doctors were able to detect it. We’re thankful they did.

Cystic Fibrosis is a rare and chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children in the United States (CF Foundation).  The disease causes thick, sticky mucus to form in the lungs, digestive tract, and other areas of the body.  People with CF have to deal with life-threatening lung infections, pancreatic issues that affect the absorption of food, persistent coughing or wheezing or shortness of breath, and many other issues.  The CF Foundation reports that the median life expectancy for someone with CF is mid to late thirties. 
I can say this, CF may try to take years away from Zoe’s life, but she has way more life to her years than most people I know. She has a magical spirit to her. Within minutes of being in her presence you quickly sense something special.  Her attitude says everything.

She's a positive person.
She doesn't see herself as any less fortunate than anyone else. She doesn't want pity. She sees life as a beautiful opportunity that she plans to enjoy.

She's determined.
She's a competitive cheerleader, performing flips and twists and jumps and extreme balance holds. Her routines are demanding and after going max throttle for two minutes, she's literally pulled off stage to recoup for ten. With only 50% lung capacity she says this is good by the way, since she used to only have 38%), her oxygen is used up much more quickly than normal and takes much longer to replenish. Zoe knows the pain that follows her routines, but she goes hard anyway. She wants to give it her best effort no matter the consequences. 

She cares for others.
Two years ago she spent five months in the hospital. That's a long time to sit by yourself in your room because your body can't be exposed to germs from other patients. She looks around. The hospital floor she resides on (RBC 5) is not very comfortable or pleasant. She links the effects this has on one’s recovery. If the kids on her unit were in a colorful, up-to-date, cozy environment, they would be happier, healthier, and recover stronger.  She starts to dream big. She begins to ask questions. She takes action. Soon the “Make A Wish Foundation” walks through her doors. 

Sitting in front of them, Zoe could have asked for a trip to Disney World.  She could have requested tickets to the next rock concert.  She could have begged for the newest phone or computer.  But instead her wish was to renovate RBC 5, to make it a more pleasurable environment for all the children who regularly stay there.  Zoe put other people before herself.  She gets what this life is all about.

That’s when we stepped in.  After hearing her story, I was compelled to help. I had a vision of doing pull-ups for a fundraiser, and now here was my cause. It made perfect sense. So on Saturday, February 9, 2013, we held PULL-UPS FOR ZOE, a world record attempt for the most pull-ups in twenty-four hours to raise money and awareness for Zoe’s dream and for cystic fibrosis research.  It’s what we called an ActivPrayer. I gave myself, my thoughts, my energy, my prayers, all to Zoe while performing pull-ups all day.  We also held a team pull-up competition and a benefit party with food and raffles.  It was one of the most incredible nights we’ve ever experienced.

We raised $29,000 in just four weeks.  Even though I failed at my attempt and stopped at only 2,501 pull-ups—the record is 4,027—the day was a huge success.

 

Here’s a recap of that special day from an excerpt I wrote about my experience in the trenches:

PULL-UPS BY NUMBERS
Saturday was an incredible night, possibly THE most incredible one I've ever experienced.  Numerous people have told me that their lives were changed forever, and that they'll never forget it: that they wish others were in that gym with them.
I want to be completely honest. I woke up on Sunday feeling like a failure for missing my mark.  I tell you this not to earn pity but to be real.  This is what the mind will do when you put yourself out there. But then you shut it down by thinking of this fundamental message, LIFE IS NOT ABOUT YOU. 
And you think about all the things it is about . . .
15 ½ hours of game-changing moments in the pit.
2,501 Pull-ups.
$25,000 raised.
20+ sponsors.
50+ volunteers.
400+ donors.
Three months ago feeling Zoe's spirit through another person's words.
Nine words from CJ Tinline, "You should hear what this one girl wished for."  He said more, but no more were needed.  I knew this was the child we needed to do this for. 
One call came.
Four calls to her parents, 1 meeting.
Thirty-six days later and here we are.
6:45am I walk through those gym doors.
Zero expectations.  I walk calmly and peacefully in God's security, not mine.  I'm not sure how we got here or what's going to happen.  I just know I was called and I followed.  The rest is HIStory.
When called, FOLLOW. That's not easy to do. 
Six years ago I wouldn't have.  But today I lead with a different mindset: God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. He doesn't choose the equipped, He equips the chosen. 
Seven hundred reps result in blisters.  We quickly figure out a solution. Lesson: God will guide you.
One thousand reps cruised through in 3 hours and 9 minutes.
Thirteen hundred reps put me in a vulnerable position. Somewhere along the way I neglected proper hydration and nutrition. My body wore down.  Severe tightness in my shoulders and arms, energy plummeted, and so did my mind.
It was time to FIGHT, and enjoy it.  
James 1:2-5 Says, "Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."   This is a fierce battle, what could possibly be enjoyed?
Fourteen plus members from the Pit Crew.  The Pit Crew was my team of brothers and sisters who stayed by my side all day.  It was insanely humbling.  My big brother Ryan and David Jack didn't leave me for 15 ½ hours.  Neither did Dan Bednar, Tim Sweany, Chris Brown, Dave Anthony, Brian Reid, Brian Stout, and so many others. They called in Matt and Eric and Kathy to massage and tape up my back and arms.  When I needed prayers, they huddled around me.  Water and food, they fed me.  Motivation, they pulled up with me. 
Pit crews, everybody needs them.  I didn't think I did. But without them I would have crashed and burned completely.  They got me back on track so I didn't quit.
Not dead, can't quit.  Multiple times I wanted to.
Seventeen hundred reps and I knew the record wouldn't be broken. A call to an ambulance seemed comforting, but I rested on this, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13).  Keep pulling up.
Six pm, barely two reps at a time. What's the point? I'm letting people down, what a chump.
2013 motto: LIFE IS NOT ABOUT YOU. Do you believe it, Theo?  There's a girl here who you're sacrificing your time for, you think you have it bad: You wake up and think about what you're going to eat for breakfast.  Zoe wakes up and puts on her vest for treatment.  You think about the workout you'll do at the gym later.  She wonders if she'll get an infection that will put her in the hospital again for the next 3 weeks.  You take your breathing for granted.  The phlegm in her respiratory system causes her to feel every breath.  Zoe faces challenges every day.  You're not doing anything compared to what she goes through. Get your butt back up and start pulling.
Twenty-three hundred reps I FIND THE WHY.  I preach WHY WE TRAIN: for a better reason, for something more than our own life, for a greater cause.  This was my ActivPrayer for Zoe.  I was here to serve and dedicate to her my time, prayers, and energy to the entire day, and even weeks leading up to it. She was on the forefront of my mind all day.
But another WHY was happening.  Here I am completely finished, literally on my hands and knees praying for guidance and clarity on what to do next.  A song came on. The verses on the wall appeared again.   
God wants me in this place. He doesn't want a record to be broken; he wants me to be broken.
With no energy, no reserves, no mobility, and no strength to pull anymore, I completely and utterly rely on Him.
The scene from Passion of Christ pops into my head when Jesus literally crawls to put himself on the cross.  After 6 hours of whippings, lashings, and torture, he hung for me.  He didn't have to, but he did.  The least I could do is follow his example and get back up to hang for Zoe.
Twenty-four hundred reps I face the crowd.
Six resurrection reps out of nowhere.
Two hours left of meaningful ActivPrayer.
One embracing hug from Zoe that will last forever.
Twenty of my kids surrounding the caution tape cheering.
Four final reps on the bar with Zoe. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

Because He spread his love to us; we can spread ours to Zoe; and now she can continue spreading it to so many. That's what Pull Ups for Zoe was all about.
Countless lives were changed and will continue to be changed from this event.  For years to come children and families will feel something special on floor RBC 5 because of Zoe’s renovation. 
Life is not about you. You can use fitness to serve a greater cause with Intentionality, Meaning, and Purpose. Just wait for the call and follow.  It doesn’t matter how hard you get knocked down, what matters is how fast you keep pulling yourself back up, and everyone out there with you.

I love you, son. I believe in you.  Now get out there and pull up others today. It’s an absolute game-changer.