Thanksgiving Weekend Sale

Yeah, we’ll role like the rest of retail does this weekend and give you a steal on some awesome products!
ALL PRODUCTS ARE 20% OFF Thursday-Monday

USE PROMO CODE: STSSAVE 

Check out our online store to see it all: ONLINE STORE
Items Include:

Fitness in a Bag (BLACK FRIDAY ONLY!) (USE PROMO CODE: STSSAVE)

Option 1: $49 (Originally $199)
  • 30 Days of our Online Coaching Program
  • 30 Day Nutrition Plan
  • Rising The Bar: 16 Week Done For You Strength Program
  • STS T-shirt
  • STS Drawstring Backpack
  • Quest Protein Bar
Option 2: $99 (Originally $299)
  • 30 Days of Training Session at STS
  • 30 Day Nutrition Plan
  • STS T-shirt
  • STS Drawstring Backpack
  • Quest Protein Bar
  • Tub of Met-Rx Protein Powder

Head to our online store now! This offer ends Black Friday at midnight!

View our online store: Click here

Sexy Long-Sleeve Tees, Short Sleeve Tees, and Hoodies!

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Raising The Bar: 16 Weeks of Programming, Nutrition, and over 100+ Videos 

RTB Cover copy

Drawstring Bags, Protein, & More!

Hurry, sale ends December 2nd at 11:59pm
Be sure to enter promo code: STSSAVE 

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS OUR ONLINE STORE

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Out with the Old In with the New: Goodbye Bootcamp

Since opening we have offered a Bootcamp. However, it has never been your typical Bootcamp. One of our main goals and missions is to be nothing like your typical gym. We provide leadership through training. We change lives. Part of that is offering training sessions, not classes. Typically, classes are cheap. They are put together two minutes before starting and the instructor doesn’t know anything about the participants let alone the persons name. The word Bootcamp is popular in the fitness industry, but we have decided to scrap the name. We don’t offer a Bootcamp. We offer a lot more than that. A bootcamp is intimidating, it’s not organized, it’s not individualized.

We meet with each client individually to go over goals, commitment level, restrictions, injuries, and nutrition before they start training with us. We plan out our group training session weeks ahead of time so that each session gets progressively more challenging so you can get better. The coach knows everyone on an individual basis and each exercise is geared towards that individual, not the entire group. Our adult group training sessions are now:  GROUP PERFORMANCE TRAINING

We train, we don’t exercise. We are a team, we are a group. We train for performance. Whether it be for life, sport, or to look, feel, and move better, we train to perform. Pushing sleds, slamming ropes, tossing medicine balls, loud music, and results are a staple in this session. It is the same great training session without the crap name behind it.

We don’t settle for mediocre. We don’t want to blend in with mediocre. Our group training sessions are more than that.

With the group sessions changing names, we also have changed our strength days. Formally Adult or Athletic Conditioning, we know will name those sessions:

Semi-Private Adult Training

Semi-Private Athlete & Youth Training

The old name didn’t really tell you what the sessions were. This tells you exactly what they are. You will get semi-private training. Meaning, the benefits of private training (individual program, nutrition, motivation, accountability, consulting, etc), but be in a small group of no more than 5 people. The entire session monitored by a coach, not a fluffy trainer.

*Our adults will supplement Group Performance Training with Semi-Private Adult Training for optimal results and performance.

*Our kids will still have the great Speed, Agility, & Quickness Training to supplement their Semi-Private Athlete & Youth Training for ultimate sports performance and results.

We are not a commercial gym, we are a training facility.

We don’t offer classes, we offer training sessions.

We don’t have personal trainers, we have coaches. 

We don’t have members, we have a family. 

We Change Lives. 

 

Our Training Session Schedule

Our Training Session Schedule

 

www.spurlingtrainingsystems.com

 

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Top 10 Benefits of Small Group Training

You walk in, scan your plastic key tag, and head to the locker room. You don’t know anyone in their, and constantly get a weird grin from the guy in the towel. You quickly get changed, and head out to the gym floor. You just left work, and just need to get a workout in. But, what the hell do you do? You decide to just hop around a couple of machines,  crush some abs, and then run on the treadmill for a little while. You stretch, grab your bag, and walk out of the door without being thanked for coming. You go home to the rest of your life, and maybe repeat that 8-10x per month.

My-weekend-plans-story

That is the average life of a gym goer. Most gyms actually count on you not showing up. They are a turn and burn facility, meaning they lose and a lot of clients and have to host an enormous amount of clients. If all of their members showed up there wouldn’t be enough room to walk, let alone workout.

How does this sound instead?

You walk in, you don’t have a key tag because every staff member there knows you by your first name. They check you in, ask you how your day was, and greet you with a nice smile and handshake. You head to the bathroom to get changed, and meet on the turf for the warm-up. The coaches are hanging out with you, answering your questions, and socializing with the rest of the group, about 5-10 other clients. Everyone knows each other on a first name basis, asks each other how their families are, and remembers their birthday. The coach asks the group what they feel like for music tonight, and bumps it. He leads the group through  a warm-up and then instructs each individual exactly what to do that day. He shares his time between the 5-10 people, assuring they are following their program, have proper form, and are having fun. At the end of the session, the group stretches together, and comes in for a big breakdown. They all ask each other when their coming in next, grab their stuff, and walk out to the parking lot together.

Sounds a little more exciting, huh?

That’s small group training. You don’t just come in and do your own thing. You are assessed on a regular basis to determine the proper program for you. You meet with a coach to set up a plan for success. You workout with 5-10 other people, but each persons program is individualized to them. There are several benefits to this style of training including:

1. No thinking: With small group training the coach leads you through the entire workout. There is no thinking involved. They tell you what to do, and how to do it. It takes the guesswork out of everything.

2. Costs: You get what you pay for, so small group training is more expensive then your Planet Fitness style gym, that being said it is very cost effective. The average private sessions costs $80 per hour. What you are doing with small group training is still paying the $80 to the coach, just splitting it between 8-10 other people. So, the average session may only costs $8-10. You get the attention of a private session for about 10% of the costs.

3. Motivation: Everyone needs motivation. Getting to the gym is hard enough, let alone coming up with your own workout, and be motivated to do it. A good coach is an even better motivator. Not only will the coach be motivating you, but the small group will motivate and push each other.

4. Accountability: Like mentioned, your typical commercial gym counts on you not showing up. With small group training, the coaches want you to show up. In fact, if you don’t show up, they are going to follow up with you. The coaches and the members within the group hold you accountable.

5. Confidence: There are thousands of exercises out there. As someone who is just looking to get fit, you shouldn’t know how to do it. That’s why their are fitness professionals. That’s like saying you should know how to perform a surgery, that’s why we have doctors. With the coach telling you what to do, and assuring you do it right, you will learn a lot. You will become more comfortable with your abilities, and what your body can do.

6. Fun: Going into the gym by your self is boring. Fitness shouldn’t be boring. By doing things under the supervision of a coach, and in a small group, fitness becomes fun.

7. Variety: Every day is not the same. Your program is planned out ahead of time, but there is constant variety within it.

8. Personal Attention: It’s like private training, shared between 5-10 people. You will always get plenty of personal attention.

9. Personal Program: One of the biggest benefits is a personal program. No one human being is a like. So, each person needs to follow their own program, based upon their movement patterns, injuries, and goals. You will get that with small group training.

10. Results: You will get results. The coach will keep you track. Your group will keep you on track. The bottom line is your life will change, and you will get results.

Doesn’t that sound fun? There will always people who just want to go to a commercial gym and do their own thing. That’s fine. However, small group training is designed for people who want the accountability and direction of a coach, and get the added benefit of being with a group. The group knows each other, the coach knows everyone. Everyone has fun, everyone gets results, and everyone changes their lives.

coachces change lives

At STS, small group training is our backbone. It is what all of our clients do. For more information check out our services.

For more on fitness and nutrition, be sure to follow us on Facebook: CLICK HERE

Cheers!

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Why You Shouldn’t Base a Workout on Soreness or Sweat

You walk out of the gym, hammies so tight you can barely step into your vehicle. You go home, shower, still sweating, pound some dead animal flesh, and head to bed. You wake up the next morning and can’t even sit on the toilet, let alone brush your teeth. The soreness is incredible. You come into the gym the next day to tell your trainer (who has a weekend certification), that he is awesome and that was the best workout ever!

Are you kidding? You're going to let someone work with your health and well being after an online course!

Are you kidding? You’re going to let someone work with your health and well being after an online course!

What made that workout so good? You think it’s good because your sore and your shirt was soaked in sweat. But was it really a good workout? Was it an effective workout? Did you get better because of it, did you get stronger, or can you now move better?

Anyone can make you tired. It doesn’t take any knowledge to throw a weighted vest over your shoulders, run, and do push-ups until you puke. But does that make you better? When selecting your coach or trainer, and your workouts, try to think how is this going to make me better, not just is this going to kick my ass.

Parents and kids a like think that if their shirt is ringable, they’re sore, and they contemplated puking that it must be a good workout.

A great quote I love to tell people I heard from Eric Cressey: “You have to move well before you can move a lot.”

Meaning, get your movement patters assessed and fixed fist before you start moving with all kinds of loads and volumes. How is your squat pattern or lunge pattern? Can you perform a proper push-up or bird dog? How about your shoulder mobility? All of those areas, and others, need to move well before you start cranking up the volume.

FMS-1

Does your trainer perform an assessment on you? No? Fire them.

Each workout should have a purpose. It should be a piece of a plan for that week, month, and year. You should be able to track if you get better.  Walking into the gym with no plan, picking random weights and exercises is why the majority of people never see any substantial results.

Here are five common mistakes when it comes time to programming effective vs hard workouts:

1. Olympic lifts: Olympic lifts are complex. They take years to master. They are designed for power output, strength x speed.  In order to train for power you need to perform 1-4 reps, and then rest 2-5 minutes. Otherwise, you will not be able to produce enough force to output maximal power. Often these lifts are done sloppy, with poor technique, and excessive amounts of reps. You see this in your typical group exercise class where they do “power cleans” with a mini bar and 10lbs on each side, for 2 minutes straight. That is just being able to last, endurance, not power.

Nothing says strong like performing squats with a plastic bar for 2 minutes straight!

Nothing says strong like performing squats with a plastic bar for 2 minutes straight!

2. Speed Training: Speed is a result of force production. You get faster two ways. First, fix your shitty technique. Second, apply more force to the ground. Speed training is often done by uneducated “coaches” who just pound them through countless cone drills, ladder drills, and sprint variations. It often looks fancy, but is really a bunch time wasting crap. Speed training should be used to perfect sprint mechanics, change of direction, and force production. Then supplement that with smart strength training. Now, with good technique and a higher output of force, you will get faster. Random ladder drills and cone drills is a cover for “I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about.”

Probably the most overused piece of equipment in the speed and agility world.

Probably the most overused piece of equipment in the speed and agility world.

3. Plyometrics: Plyometrics, or jumping, is often used for athletes to get faster or jump higher. Exercises like box jumps, depth jumps, squat jumps,  and plyo lunges are all common examples. The goal is to be able to increase power, or strength x speed. However, just like speed it is an output of force, so if you’re doing more then a handful of reps at a time, how can you produce maximal output?  Plyometrics should be done for 2-5 reps, with ample rest between each set. That way, the client can go back into the next set and again produce maximal power output. Lower body plyometrics are often used for conditioning, which is just asking for an injury. Nothing says ” I can’t wait to tear my ACL” like doing dozens of box jumps. Typically we like to see plyometrics done in the beginning of a workout for 3-6 sets of 2-5 reps. We do 1 unilateral and 1 billateral drill at the beginning of each session.

This is valgus. Why are we still having clients jump with  this form?

This is valgus. Why are we still having clients jump with this form?

4. Tabata: Tony Gentilcore wrote and entire blog post on this topic, you can find it HERE. Basically realize that a tabata lasts 4 minutes, that’s it. Not multiple rounds, not for an hour. It also is done at 170% of your max Vo2, so you shouldn’t be able to do anything else after this 4 minute workout.

5. Strength Training: So if you’ve read this entire blog and not just skipped to the bolded words you learned that power is between 1 and 4 reps, that’s it. So strength is between 5 and 8 reps, that’s it. Bottom line. If you do something over 8 reps it is not strength, it is hypertrophy or endurance. To get strong, the most efficient way to do it is to perform exercises in the 5-8 rep range, at 3-6sets. Performing exercises in a circuit fashion, for high reps, is endurance. To strength train, you need to perform 5-8 reps for 3-6 sets and get a good 45-120 second rest period in between each set. Why? If you don’t rest, how can you go perform that same weight again, or increase the weight? And if you’re not increasing the volume (setsXrepsXwt) you’re not getting stronger, plain and simple.

Next time you go to the gym for a workout, ask yourself this question.  Is this making me better? If it’s not getting you closer to your goals then it’s not an effective workout.  You don’t need a Phd to make someone tired and sweat. However, program design, periodization, and implementation of proper training sessions does take years to master. The above 5 areas are really just the tip of iceberg.

Just be smart about your training. Don’t’ do what your friends doing. Each person is different, different restrictions, different mobility issues, different strengths, and different weaknesses. So why do people think they should be doing the same thing?  Track all your workouts. Follow an individualized program. Improve your movement patterns. Get stronger.

Do you do your own taxes? No, you hire an accountant. Do you represent yourself at a court date? No, you hire an attorney? Do you try to sell your house? No, you hire a real estate agent. Then why in the hell, with the human body, the most complex machine on this planet, do people think they can design their own program and training sessions. Go see a reputable expert. Someone who knows what the fuck they’re talking about, not someone that just throws a workout on the white board, has you do a bunch of random drills, just to make you tired and sore.

www.spurlingtrainingsystems.com

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How I Started My Strength & Conditioning Facility: Part II

First off, for those who have not checked it out be sure to read Part I of this article as it gives a back story as to how I started my strength and conditioning facility. CLICK ME! 

With Part II I hope to give you insight as to how the facility actually came to be.

So it’s December 9, 2011. I had just signed one of the biggest pieces of paper of my life, a lease to a 7,5000 square foot warehouse. How did I pick this spot? That is lesson number one. Picking the right facility. The right facility is different for each person, but I had to think who was I going to be working. I wanted to work with athletes, the more hardcore crew. What does that mean? Exercises like medicine ball slams, deadlifts, and sprints, are going to be a big part of their workout. So, when it came time to picking the right facility I had  a couple of things I was looking for: concrete walls, high ceilings, wide open space, and a concrete floor. When it came to choosing location in town, in order to get those, you have to go industrial. I didn’t have a problem with that, because that meant the cost per square foot would be cheaper than your main drag retail spots. Those properties don’t allow for loud music, weight dropping, and 14lb medicine balls being slammed into the wall hundreds of times per day.

So, now I got the space. You gotta fill it right? The first day I walked into the space that STS was going to fit in, it was filled with crap. And by crap I mean a lot of candles. It use to be a candle manufacturing warehouse, and clearly they left some behind. I spent the first week picking up the junk, sweeping the floors, and just emptying the space out. Then came the paint. A sprayer and a couple of ladders, a week later the space was painted. I choose to paint the walls white because it would allow me to put anything I wanted on the walls, and change the color in the future, something that I highly recommend.

Now you have a giant white room. Great, what’s next. Flooring. Throughout this time I made a lot of mistakes, live and learn. I knew they were going to happen, and looking back on it, it was a learning experience. Flooring was one of those. In our gym, we had three types of flooring: carpet, rubber flooring, and turf. And they are all priced differently. Carpet is about $1.00 a square foot, rubber flooring is about $3.00 a square foot, and turf is about $6.00 a square foot. Now, I started off with all rubber flooring, and one strip of 25 yard long turf. A mistake that I admit today, for two reasons.

1. Within two months we had to add another 20 yards of turf because of our growing client base. A good problem. That meant ripping up the rubber flooring that was only 3 months old and selling it for 1/10 of what I bought it for.

2. The biggest mistake with flooring was not carpeting more of the gym. The lobby, front office, evaluation room, bathroom areas, and athlete lounge never see a weight. So, you don’t have to worry about weights being dropped. I should have carpeted those areas, it would have saved a good chunk of change.

So, now we got flooring and walls painted. What’s next? Equipment! The fun part. We deal with athletes, so the amount of equipment we use is actually quite minimal compared to your commercial gym. A set of dumbbells, some benches, a couple of power racks, cable pulley, some kettlebells, and a sled. We were good to go. I started off with the minimal amount needed, and as our client base grew, we added the equipment that was needed. More racks, more dumbbells, more turf, slide boards, more kettlebells, more sleds, tires, GHR, and more all came months later, after money was coming in.

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Now you got a warehouse, painted, with equipment in it. Let the money counting begin!

Not so fast!

The saying “if you build it, they will come” is not true at all. Especially in the fitness industry. And, I don’t want to come off as all I did was paint some walls, put some flooring down, and throw some equipment in. A lot was going on at the same time behind the scenes including:

1. Insurance coverage for facility

2. Getting permits and remodeling done (I wanted a shower to be put in one of our bathrooms)

3. Business planning (facility layout, lead generation, marketing, staff, systems, and planning)

4. Sign permits and sign design (A much more expensive purchase then expected)

5. Sound system set up

6. Website design

7. Marketing/Advertising

8. Computers and software set up

9. Having no life outside of the gym, actually sleeping in a 1970 recliner that was left in the space a few nights

10. About 1001 trips to Wal-Mart and Home Depot. Things like office supplies, light bulbs, cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, and about 10000 other things add up quickly, very quickly.

11. Meetings with your Lawyer and Accountant (Not a cheap service, but not something you want to cheap out on)

The first 3 months were hell.

Wake up at 5am head to gym for 5:30am

Teach sessions, try to find new clients, eat, and workout.

Leave gym at 9pm, and head to bed at 9:30pm.

I was very fortunate enough to have some great help those first few months, and the month of construction and set up. I couldn’t have done it alone. Friends and family volunteered their time running errands for me, helping move flooring and equipment, and setting up shop.

I was fortunate enough to have two coaches volunteer their first 3 months to allow the business to get started. That was close to 500 hours of volunteering for each of them. Without them, the business would not be where it is today. One moved on with his career after helping us get started, and one is still here coaching, now making a very good living. I was also very fortunate to have some help from my mentor. We were up early mornings and late nights talking about the planning and implementation of Spurling Training Systems. The help came from all over, and I can’t thank anyone who helped enough.

If I had to sum in up in ten lessons, this is what I would tell future entrepreneurs and gym owners.

1. Plan: How are you going to run your sessions, how much are you going to charge? Where are you going to get your equipment, where is it going to go? You can never plan enough.

2. Don’t do it yourself: I am not saying you must have a business partner, I don’t. However, you better have some good friends and family that can help you do some of the tasks, because you won’t be able to do it on your own.

3. Start small and work up: Yes, a 15,000 square foot facility with 10 matching power racks and Keisers is a great dream. But those facilities were not built in a day. Start small. Small space, minimum equipment, and work your way up. Clients care more about the experience and the personality of the coaches, not the equipment their using.

4. Dont’ cheap out: There are certain things you can’t cheap out on. Flooring, computer, software system, and staff are things I knew not to cheap out on. Whatever you buy, you need to make sure it’s going to last. We got the most heavy-duty flooring we could because we knew kids would be beating the shit out of it. Everything today is done on the computer, so having a piece of crap computer would just cause frustration and stress. And staff, don’t cheap out on staff. We don’t have minimum wage front desk gym staff. We have strength coaches. They are the face of the company. They greet every client, know their first name, coach them through every session, and wave to them at the grocery store. They care about the company, and they are always looking to improve it. You’re not going to get that if you cheap out on staff.

5. Over deliver and under promise: This should probably be number one. It is what STS prides itself on, and I owe a large amount of our success to it. Our staff goes above and beyond each day. They know each client on a first name basis, they help them make their grocery list, they go their football game, and they go above and beyond at each session making it the best one yet. You should aim to deliver 10x the value of what you charge, so if you charge $199 per month, you better be delivering $1990 in value.

6. Have systems in place: Remember in middle school when the teacher had you spell out exactly how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? That was a system. You need to have a system in place for everything. How you greet your clients, how you deliver a session, how to greet an inquiry, how to respond to an e-mail, how to deal with an unhappy client, how to clean the facility, how to market your business, how to track your leads, etc. They should all have step by step instructions so that anyone can follow them. A policies and procedures manual should be mandatory reading for every new staff member and intern.

7. Know When to Refer Out: This is a big one as well, hell these are all big. You have to know when to refer out. Know when to refer out to a doctor, physical therapist, massage therapist, and nutritionist. Know your scope of practice, and know when you are about to go outside of it. Also know that if you want to have a successful facility, you must have a focus or niche. Our focus is athletes of all ages and abilities. That’s a line straight from our mission statement. You can’t be jack of all trades. So if a client is not a good fit for your facility, refer them to another facility. It will help you in the long run.  If you don’t know something, refer out. Also refer out for things like taxes and website design. If you suck at, have someone who does it really well do it for you. It’s not worth the headaches.

8. Network: This kind of piggy backs the last one. So you know that you need to refer out, but who do you send them to? You should have doctors, physical and massage therapists, and nutritionist in your network. You should also build your network as much as you can with anyone else.  They will be your promoters without you even asking. We no longer pay for any marketing, it’s all word of mouth. That is done because we over deliver and under promise with our clients so they are extremely happy, and we have built an incredible network, all of these people do our marketing for us without even knowing it.

9. You’re going to make mistakes: You’re going to piss some people off, you’re going to have to let some people go, and you’re going to make mistakes. It’s how you react to those mistakes that determines your success. Learn from them and move on. Make yourself, your staff, and your company better every day.

10. Grind. Never stop working. Work harder than anyone else. Owning a gym, or any other business for that matter, is not a 9-5 gig. You’re on call 24/7, and it’s on your mind 24/7. I have built a team that I love and trust 100% to run the facility, but it’s still my business and all the responsibilities fall back on me. When things are good it’s on me, when things are bad, it’s on me. Take responsibility, and never stop working. Work to grow the company, work to grow your team, and work to grow yourself. Never settle.

I hope those who are interested in starting a facility one day learn something from this. There are lessons for everyone though. Build your team, build your network, build yourself, over deliver, always aim to improve, never stop working, and never settle.

For more information about Spurling Training Systems please check out: www.spurlingtrainingsystems.com or like our Facebook Page

panoramic

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How I Started My Strength & Conditioning Facility

I walk in the door, nervous as all hell. I am shaking, not really sure what to expect. I am meeting with the director of Human Resources. I don’t event know what Human Resources means at the time. Little did I know this meeting would change my life.

When I was 14 my mom told me to get a job. The day I could legally start working, I was working. A few weeks prior I started hunting for jobs. I didn’t want to do what every other kid did in high school, work at the local grocery store. I knew I wanted to do something in the health/fitness field so I decided to write an e-mail to the local hospital. It went something like this:

“Hi, My name is Doug. I am really hard working, even though I’ve never really worked before. I would really like to work at your hospital. Let me know if there is anything I can do.”

I was expecting one of two things to happen:

1. They would share  the e-mail around the facility laughing at my stupidity.

2. I would be hired to clean toilets

To my surprise, I was contacted by the director of Human Resources and offered an interview. For a job in the physical therapy department. I was going to be a “PT Aide Trainee.” Somehow I impressed them enough to get the job and that following week I would go everyday after school to the hospital and work for 5-8 hours, everyday.

I was basally their guinea pig. Cleaned the tables, put hot packs away, greeted patients, transported patients, filed paperwork, unclogged toilets, you know the usual. However, I may have not known at the time, this job was going to change my life. I did that job for two years, every day, never missed a day, never called in, never late. It taught me a lot. It taught me responsibility, hard work, time management, and most importantly, I have great respect for PT’s, but physical therapy was not my cup of tea. I did know that I wanted to help people, I wanted to change lives.

Luckily, while working at the hospital, one the therapists had just graduated from University of New England. We were talking about what I want to do, and where I wanted to go to college, she suggested I check out UNE. I kept it in the back of my head, because I was only a Freshman.

I went to a technical high school, so we had to do a trade. I choose Health Occupations, basically for future nurses, but it gave me a great head start in the field of health and fitness. I was in a shop with 32 kids, I was one of two males. That’s a whole blog post in itself.

The best thing about that program is it was set up for you to get your Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification your junior year. So, freshman and sophomore year I continued to work in the PT department at the local hospital while going to school. When we started doing our clinical hours for our CNA certification that really opened my eyes.

We went through our clinical hours, and junior year I became certified. They day I got that certification I applied to every hospital and nursing home around the area. I was fortunate enough to hear back from a lot and choose a nice nursing home, on the water, in Newburyport, MA. That started the next chapter in my life.

You think you work hard? In my opinion, one of the hardest working people in this world are CNA’s. I say this now because I can look back at it. I did it for 6 years, there are people that have done it for 40 years. My junior and senior year were pretty much a blur. This was a typical day.

630am: Wake up and head to school

7-2pm: School

230pm: Punch in at the nursing home

730pm: Dinner break at nursing home, complete any homework I can

11pm: Punch out at nursing home

12am: Pass out and get ready to do it all over again.

Working in the nursing home was truly a life changing experience. Taking care of people, seeing the difference you make, opened my eyes to a whole new world. It also matured me quickly. At the age of 16 I watched several grandmothers and mothers take their last breath, I comforted grown men crying when their mother took their last breath, and I prepared dozens of grandmothers for their final resting spot. I talked with men who thought they were still in WWI, I fed residents puree mush, because that’s all they could stomach, and I helped men and women bath, shower, and go to bed every night.

At the age of 16, I don’t know how I did it. But, I wouldn’t be where I am today without those experiences.  I loved every day I went to work, and still to this day, there is no better feeling then putting a smile on a 93 year old ladies face.

Throughout high school I averaged 56 hours a week of work. It wasn’t easy, it was a grind. But I certainly wouldn’t be in the situation I am today without these experiences.

That PT job I had at the age of 14. The PT that told me to go check out UNE. She probably doesn’t know it to this day, but she changed my life.

I would remember the conversation we had, and I headed up to Biddeford, ME to go check out UNE. I fell in love, applied, and heard the great news several weeks later that I was accepted. It was the only school I applied to.

I went to UNE in September of 2007. The next chapter of my life was just about to start.

I went up a few days earlier then everyone else and started job hunting. I had worked in PT. I loved it, but didn’t want to do it the rest of my life. I worked in a nursing home, loved it, looooved it, but made the decision I couldn’t do it the rest of my life. How did I choose the fitness field? A blog post on it’s own, I started high school weighing 375lbs, I went up to UNE weighing 250lbs. Yes, that’s not a typo, I lossed 125lbs in about a year and half. My first two life experiences taught me I wanted to change lives, and with my personal battle of weight loss, I was pretty well set on the fitness field. So, let’s get back on track. I am up at UNE a few days early. I drive around the Southern Maine area dropping off my resume to every gym I could. I was fortunate enough to be hired on to a family owned fitness facility, and worked there 20-30 hours a week all 3.5 years of college. It got me introduced to the fitness field, and taught me a lot. I still missed the nursing home, so I would head home on Friday nights to Massachusetts and work Saturday and Sunday at the nursing home. I did this until Junior year when I put all my focus to the fitness field. Again, all throughout college, while balancing all of college life, I worked 50-60 hours per week.

In 2010 I would hit another life changing event.  Picture this. I am waking up every day at 6am because that is the only time I can workout at. I go to class from 8am-2pm. I head to work at the gym from 3pm-9pm. I get home at 9pm, get a little studying in, and crash. I do that Monday-Thursday. Friday morning I pack my truck up, head to class, and as soon as the professor dismisses us, I jump in my truck, head down 95 South, and work 32 hours in two days on the weekend, 7am-11pm. Sunday night I kiss my parents goodbye, and head back up to Maine to do it all over again. Friday nights after making the drive down from UNE was my only time off, I would spend it having dinner with my family. Well, one Friday would change my life.

It was a typical week. I had just rushed home to have dinner with the family, and was preparing to work two doubles at the nursing home. I walk in the door, dinner already on the table, with my mom, dad, and brother waiting for me. I am shaking just typing this, but this conversation is so clear in my head, it’s like it just happened yesterday. I would sit down, and before I took my first bite, tears rolled down my mothers face. The words that came out of her mouth next would cause anyone to drop.

“I have cancer.”

What!?

No!

You hear it all the time, but you never thing it hits home. Guess what people, it does. My mom had small cell lung cancer, and had six months to live.

How was I suppose to do it? There’s no book or website to help you through this scenario in life. You just buckle down and do it. I went on the next six months doing what I always do. School by day, and work by night. However, this was different. The thought of my mom in the back of my head, at all times.  One June 14, 2010 I would do what I have done dozens of times before. I held the hand of a woman, and watched her take her last breath. This was different though, this was my mother.

Throughout all of this, I never missed a day of work. I was never late, never missed a shift. Why? Shouldn’t I spend time with my family? I did, but if I had any down time, I was thinking of my mom. My work became my second family, and I was fortunate enough at all of my jobs to have such a close relationship with everyone, the first thing I wanted to do was go to work.

I went through the rest of college with an incredible drive after my mom passing. Most people would sit there and grieve. That’s not me. I know my mom wouldn’t want that. She wanted me to make a difference, she was the one that instilled all these habits in me, and to not keep grinding, would only be a disappointment. I worked harder then ever. Every waking minute I was doing something. Whether it was in the class room, going to conferences, reading books, or getting the practical experiences at my job and internships.

After taking 18+ credits every semester and taking summer classes, I was able to finish my degree in 3.5 years. I graduated and went straight to work, for free. I drove 17 hours south to Greensboro, NC for an internship with the East Carolina University Pirates. I busted my ass, paying my own way, doing what I love, working with athletes, and changing lives. I have been very fortunate in my short career, that every job taught me something. The PT gig introduced me to the field of health and fitness, but showed me that there are other things out there. My time at the nursing home was incredible, I miss it all the time, but I knew I wanted to do something different. My job at the gym assured me that this is what I wanted to do. My time at ECU down in NC taught me that working with athletes is where my passion lies. It also taught me that the collegiate setting is an incredible experience, but it wasn’t for me.

I drove back from NC after just a couple weeks, realizing it was not the setting for me, and made one of the hardest decisions in my life. Working all these jobs, averaging 60 hours a week, I had a good chunk of change saved up. I sat on it for months. My dream was to open my own facility. I wanted to work with athletes, I wanted to change lives. My mom would want me to do it. To not go after my dream would only be a disappointment to my mom. On December 9, 2011 I signed a piece of paper that would change my life. It was the lease to a 7500square foot warehouse. That was just the beginning to this lovely journey. I would dump every penny into my dream, with a hope that it might work out.

A lot of you probably clicked on this blog for the quick fix. Maybe this guy has a secret or a shortcut? And to be honest with you, that is the problem with this world we live in. We live in a microwave society, where we want things handed to us, with no work. We want to lose fat or gain muscle, but never work for it. We want to make 100k a year, sitting on our ass. Guess what, there is no magic pill, and these is no magic secret. You know what the secret is? Grind. Grind. Grind. Every fucking day. Day in and day out, no excuses. You want to lose fat, get off your ass. You want to build muscle, get under a bar. You want to make money, go out and work, work harder then everyone else. You don’t deserve anything. You earn everything. You want something, go get it. My tip to you, go work harder then everyone else around you. That is how success happens. Grind.

I will have a second part to this blog on the financials, equipment, and set up of a strength and conditioning facility. However, I wanted to start with this.  A successful business, a successful person, doesn’t happen overnight.

It happens because they work harder then everyone else, they work hard when no one else is watching.

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Do You Exercise or Do You Train?

You go to the gym, scan that piece of plastic, go through the motions, go home to the family, and check it off the to do list. How are those results going for you? There is big difference between training and working out. Thousands of people update their status while they’re at the gym, pose in front of mirrors, and text their girlfriend, all at the same time. My friend, you are exercising at best, not training.

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Training is when you exercise with a purpose. You have a plan, you have specific goals, or you have an event you are getting ready for. If you don’t have goals, whether it’s in the gym, or in life, you will get nowhere. Training involves having specific goals, with a specific workout you follow each day. When you train, you don’t just check it off the list. You’re focusing on your next set, that’s why your cellphone stays in the car. You feed of your workout partners, you don’t turn gym time into social hour. Last week you did 200lbs, this week you’re doing 210lbs. You know you did 200lbs last week because you wrote it down in a log of some sort. The excuses of being early, being late, being too cold, being too hot, or to busy? They don’t exist That my friends is training.

If you want results you have to stop just exercising and you have to start training. Here are my steps to success in order to start training, not just exercising:

Set out specific goals:

Losing weight is not a specific goal. Neither is gaining muscle. I am talking specific goals. You want to run a sub 5 forty by the combine. You want to jump 30 inches by basketball season. You want to be able to wear size 8 pants. You want to complete your first marathon in October. These are specific goals. Think of 3-5 specific goals, and get them on paper. If it’s not on paper, it’s going to get pushed aside, just like everything else if your busy life.

Find a workout partner/motivating atmosphere:

The gym is a chore for some people. If you are just going to the gym, just to do it, you will get nowhere. Find an atmosphere or a person that motivates you. All the fancy equipment in the world does nothing, if you’re not motivated to use it. Find a workout partner, join a small group training style gym, or hire a coach. Whatever will keep you motivated, use it.

Make a plan/Get a plan designed:

Listen. I don’t tell carpenters how to build houses. I don’t tell electricians how to wire a house. They are experts in what they do. When I need a house built, or  a house wired I call them. Why should the fitness industry be any different? I don’t expect you to know how to design a safe and effective program for yourself. Just like there are bad plumbers, there are bad coaches. But, just like you call the good plumber when the toilet goes to shit (no pun intended), call a good fitness expert to design a safe and effective program. The human body is complex, don’t assume you know what you’re doing.

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So there you have it. Are you ready to start training? Good. Stop just going through the motions. Checking it off the list will not get you anywhere. Each time you workout, it should have a purpose. You should always be training with a purpose.

GO TRAIN!

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