I’ll Be Around

The lead singer of The Spinners was already sweating through his light blue, three piece suit.

He was closing in on the end of the first set and even though he’d only been belting out their hits – I’ll Be Around, It’s A Shame, Rubberband Man, Working My Way Back To You – for about 45 minutes, this guy looked fully worked.

My wife and I are in the Wolf’s Den, a small lounge in the middle of the Foxwoods Casino, a short drive from her childhood home in Connecticut. We grew tired of visiting with family and wanted something fun to do that night. We saw The Spinners were playing this free show and decided to make the trip. We were not disappointed.

I am a huge fan of what is called “The Philly Sound”. Soul music that came out of Philadelphia in the late 60s all the way up through the 80s from bands like The Spinners, The O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass and Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. In fact, you are much more likely to get me to squat big to Hall & Oates’ Greatest Hits (probably the last act to embrace The Philly Sound) than the latest hip-hop jams that all the kids seem to enjoy working out to these days.

And even though they were 20 years past their prime, were playing to about 200 people max and shared the bill with the dulcet tones of Richard Mack on solo jazz saxophone, these guys were fucking going for it.

{SIDE NOTE: In all honesty, I’d imagine there was probably one original “Spinner” left at this point, but the guys on stage seemed like very well traveled veterans of the soul music scene.)

When the lead singer left the two-foot high stage to close his eyes and belt it out in the middle of the crowd, a small group of middle aged women started hooting and hollering and absolutely losing their minds. As if they were transported back to their days on the sidewalks of Fishtown listening to these songs ring out of a boombox on a perfect Summer night.

I was completely captivated. Not only by the performance (which I loved) but also the fact that these guys could put it out there, night after night, to the nickel-slot players sipping their comped drinks that needed to be won over.

Frankly, it’s this spirit that I try to tap into when trying to attract people to the gym and I think it is something that everyone can utilize when trying to build their own tribe.

There is nothing more contagious and captivating than passion. People feel it. They can’t help but be attracted to it.

And finding that passion, even when things feel routine at best or hopeless at worst is what will get you through the tough moments in your relationships, job challenges and, of course, training (you knew I had to bring this back around to training at some point!).

The life cycle of a training client goes something like this. The first two weeks feel like you just got off a tilt-a-whirl. Everything is very exciting but also disorienting and you don’t know exactly what happened.

Weeks two through 8, you are getting your legs under you. You understand how everything works. Sitting on the toilet finally takes you less than six minutes to accomplish. You’re confidently showing the new people in the gym where the bathrooms are and telling them that the soreness will get better.

Weeks 9 through 24 are the sweet spot. You see your strength numbers climb. You’re seeing changes in the mirror. Co-workers are asking what you are doing. Those jeans you were wearing 5 years ago, they fit again. You can’t believe it. This shit actually works.

It is after week 24 that you have to become the lead singer of The Spinners.

Because that is when the progress will continue, but it will slow down. You have progressed from a newbie soaking it all in to an expert, honing her craft. And that honing takes time and patience and, dare I say it, passion.

Now, don’t get us wrong, we have seen veterans make huge (sometimes their best) gains during this period. It takes a while to figure out how to train and progress is somewhat like compounding interest – small deposits take some time to accrue. But when they do, all of a sudden and seemingly out of nowhere, you are rich.

You come to us for training and fitness knowledge and advice and that is totally cool with us. But if we can step out of those confines for just a moment, I promise you that bringing some heat to anything and everything you do is the key to success.

When you’ve been in the gym for a while, most sessions are going to be routine. And that is completely acceptable. Even preferred. But every so often, you have to sweat through the pale blue suit, close your eyes and make the audience squeal with delight.