Almost Famous

For my money, the nominees for the best movie of the 2000s comes down to a very short list of two candidates.

The first is The Social Network. It’s a movie that should feel dated at this point but actually doesn’t. It’s got everything you want in a villain origin story and, for a writing nerd like myself, it’s got an unrivaled screenplay by Aaron Sorkin at the peak of his powers. Honestly, I could listen to his pitter patter all day long.

But I think my favorite is Almost Famous.

I’m not going to go into all the reasons I love Almost Famous but, if you know me at all, it’s probably not a difficult leap to understand why it’s my favorite movie of the past 20 or so years.

Unlike Stand By Me (which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago) I don’t have a runaway favorite scene in this Cameron Crowe masterpiece but there is one section that has been resonating a lot with me lately.

In the movie, the protagonist, William, finds a mentor in real-life legendary rock critic/junkie, Lester Bangs (played beautifully by Philip Seymour Hoffman). In one particular scene, Lester warns William not to make friends with the members of the band that he is covering on their latest tour. Then, later, William confesses that he blew it.

Lester: Aw man. You made friends with them. See, friendship is the booze they feed you. They want you to get drunk on feeling like you belong.

William: Well, it was fun.

Lester: Because they make you feel cool. And hey. I met you. You are not cool.

Later in the scene….

William: I am glad you were home.

Lester: I’m always home. I’m uncool.

I’ve recently come to realize that, I too, like Lester and William, am uncool. Maybe this is why this scene has been playing in my head.

It’s not that I ever really thought of myself that way, in all honesty. I guess I never was confronted with that reality. If I had to rank myself I’d place myself somewhere squarely between Fonzie (super cool!) and that feeling you get when singing “The Distance” by Cake at karaoke and you realize you aren’t pulling it off and there are still 3 minutes to go.

And if you cruise around social media, you’d think that being cool is important when it comes to fitness. You’ll find trainers spending their weekends cruising around on yachts, or hanging out backstage with Beyonce or smoking cigars on a deck in the Hamptons with their buddies. All of which I think is supposed to come across as cool but, as we established, I am probably not the right person to ask.

Since cool is not a trait I possess in spades – I’ve never been on a yacht, I don’t know Beyonce – I’ve been thinking more and more about what I bring to the table. Why would people trust me with their strength and health and body composition goals? And while I’ve come up with multiple possibilities (maybe it’s because I know what I’m talking about, or that I’ve been able to transform my physique and life through training) here is what I think is the best and most truthful answer.

I care about you.

I know this can sound grandiose at best and super-corny at worst, but if you can get past that what awaits you (yes, YOU!) on the other side is golden. Because this care permeates absolutely everything we do.

From our first phone call where you lay out what it is you are looking to accomplish, to how we meticulously design the programs, to how we set the facilities, to what equipment we buy, to coaching you through the sessions, to the text asking how your session went or why you haven’t been in for the last couple of days, to a million other things. Our obsession with caring about you is ultimately your best fitness asset. Because it solves for so many of the problems you had with fitness or reaching your goals before you decided to entrust your training to us.

The vast majority of people do not fail in fitness because a lack of discipline or desire or focus. They fail because they can’t do it alone. They need someone in their corner who gives a shit about them. We are those people.

And I know this doesn’t come across as sexy as telling your co-workers that your trainer just spent the weekend on a yacht smoking cigars with Beyonce, but it will make your training much more effective, impactful and satisfying.

“The only true currency in this world is what you share with someone when you’re uncool,” Lester says later in the movie.

If that’s true – and I hope it is – I’m here to overflow your bank account with a huge dose of uncool.