A Selfless Act of Selfishness

Even I have to admit, the past few weeks have been a bummer.

First, I told you the story of Dolores and how her simple and beautiful acts of kindness toward my son impacted me and had me grieving the death of a person I barely even knew.

I told you about our dear client Barry and his sudden passing from cancer despite making health a huge priority.

Next, I revealed a bit about the difficulty surrounding my own financial struggles while giving you some basic actions I’ve taken to help overcome it. (Interestingly, this post yielded the lowest number of unsubscribes in the history of this newsletter. Chalk it up as a win for personal vulnerability!)

Finally, I relayed a story about how acting out of integrity is critical in order not to poison the waters and what ultimately led me to fall out of love with my previous gym.

That’s some heavy shit.

In an effort to turn that frown upside-down, my plan this week was just to hit you with some honest-to-goodness, straight-up-the-middle fitness advice. I mean, it’s likely that is what led you here in the first place rather than the promise of some middle-aged meathead prattling on about his feelings.

Truth be told, I just erased about 500 words discussing a great pet peeve of mine – people referring to a high volume phase (or any activity that includes getting your heart rate up) as “cardio” (when you spend your life in a gym, your pet peeves tend to be very specific) in order to bring you something that is perhaps more valuable and certainly less specific.

This week, I wanna get more meta. This is a blog about the blog itself.

(Quick aside: it took me about five years to understand what “meta” actually meant after I first heard it. But I think I get it now! Let me know if I’m still missing the mark.)

I have put out a new blog post (Gen Z translation: newsletter) every Monday for 85 weeks now. And while it has covered a wide range of topics from the proper consistency of oatmeal to Paul McCartney’s songwriting process to my own fitness transformation from overweight ad guy to cardio bunny to competitive weightlifter, there is one thing that has been consistent. And that’s its consistency (this statement may also be considered meta but of that I am less sure).

Writing has proven to be one of my favorite parts of my job because a) I can do it in solitude (some may considered being surrounded by aspiring entrepreneurs in a downtown WeWork as the opposite of solitude but, in New York, this is as close to solitude as you get) b) I get a tremendous amount of joy in writing and sharing my ideas in this way and c) I think it elevates training beyond simply lifting weights or running and, to me, that is the real magic of the thing of which I’ve made my life’s work.

Lately, however, I’ve been wondering if it is worth it.

Is this the best place to spend my time and efforts if my ultimate goals are to run a successful business that brings meaningful fitness into people’s lives and helps them believe in themselves more than they would otherwise.

For example if I just spent more time talking to people one on one – listening to their fitness goals and challenges and educating them on what might work best for them – rather than this format of one (me) to many (you) would I effectively get more people to actually give this training a chance.

But just as these thoughts swirl in my head I am brought back to the keyboard by two main things.

One, quite honestly, is your feedback. This writing goes out to thousands of people with slightly fewer thousands of people opening it. And while typically only a handful of people decide to comment on any given post given its subject matter, the thought that my words have impacted you and provided some level of value is remarkably meaningful to me.

As I mentioned about Dolores a few weeks back, a small act of kindness can send tremendous shockwaves through a person or a community. Writing back that my words have sparked emotion or action or provoked thought is your small act of kindness to me. And of that I am grateful and appreciative and motivated.

Secondly, I remember a conversation I had with a long time client a long time ago.

I was training hard for a weightlifting competition, the results of which would make no substantive impact on my life.

“I can’t figure out why this has become important to me,” I said to him. “But it has.”

“That is exactly what makes it great,” he replied.

That thought, perhaps most directly, is why I continue to write to you each week.

And maybe the reason you should continue (or, even better, start!) something of which you get great satisfaction from even if you can’t pinpoint its value beyond that.

Surely I write this in the hopes of informing and educating you about fitness. Of giving you something to relate to so you don’t feel alone. Of providing media content for the business. Of giving my Mom something to read so she can know me better or drop tidbits in about my wife so she knows how smart I think she is.

Turns out there are a million reasons I do this.

Not the least of which is me.