Below are excerpts from emails I have written to my private group class students. I want to share these emails because I think it is important for those who follow my lead to receive this insight. Sometimes I see class participants once a week, and I connect with them within the hour, but beyond that, there is nothing else. My goal in 2016 is to deepen my connections with those that attend my classes. Truly show my gratitude. My goal is to provide more accessibility to my teachings. My goal is to build a bond that capitalizes on our modern advances in communication while maintaining the authenticity of human connection.
Transparency, pervasiveness, and honesty...nothing to hide, so much to share.
I hope you enjoy my writings as much as I enjoyed writing them.
(I wrote this very recent email to unleash a taste of what is brewing inside me. I have been doing much introspection and study. Hence, I needed to open up and share a few gems.)
[Thank you for contributing to such a memorable 2015! As I have shared previously, there have been many ups and downs that have provided me much perspective. These lenses that become clearer, and at the same time, more undefined are all a result of the choices I make. As another year rolls by, we experiment through trial and error, and whether we grow from these experiences or decide not to, we hopefully achieve a deeper awareness of our needs to satiate our hero's journey to happiness.
"Necessity is blind until it becomes conscious. Freedom is the consciousness of necessity."
- Karl Marx
My takeaway from 2015 can be boiled down to a big pillar in my life that I sometimes forget....
"Milestones are not stopping points...
but stepping stones."
I have experienced sensational "success" this year, so much so that I feel as though I have been on extended vacation ever since my 2.0 TO event. As this year comes to my perceived end, I have unintentionally started to build the blocks to a philosophy driven 2016. I have come to question my deeper needs and through questioning I result in no answer yet, but a promising path toward it.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, gives a Ted Talk that reinforces doing what you love no matter the successes or failures. To me, the words success and failure are illusions, expectations, and perceptions that haunt us, and question our very nature. They are important not because they define us, but because they enable us.
I hope you all continue to experiment over the holiday season and not hesitate to go for that extra glass of wine, or run that extra kilometer, or sleep that extra hour. These yearnings are hints to something deeper within. So don't fight it or judge it, just go for it and let it happen. OWN IT. The more this happens, the more you will know what you need, and thus, Karl Marx's quote begins to make sense...
It's been a privilege to serve you.
Onwards and upwards to 2016! ]
(I wrote this email to share some personal reflections. I think it is vital to be personable to students. It shows vulnerability, openness, and veracity. It builds trust, honesty, and empathy. 'Setting an example' nowadays is very different from a few decades ago. Stoicism is definitely admirable, but so too is vulnerability. Both are courageous and commendable, but offered in alternative ways. How you say something is just as important as what you say.)
What a year it has been. On a personal level, I have gone through many ups and downs, and have learned from them immensely. Here's a bit of a share email...
Two defining principles I've embodied this year:
"Adversity as fuel"
"Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution".
These two sayings have fuelled my desire/ability to win my 3rd ultramarathon in record time, earned me top 10 in one of the hardest races in Canada (Northface Goretex 50 miler), helped me launch my 3rd annual (most successful to date) '2.0 Toronto' Holistic Fitness Event, garnered me my first ever professional sponsorship with Fabletics/FL2, drove my studious side to achieve an internationally recognized certification (CHEK), and raked in the highest attendance numbers my group coaching career at Equinox has ever seen! On top of all of these, I have managed to keep my head up through a tough breakup with my girlfriend of 4 years.
So yes, lots of achievements that make me who I am today....someone that I have loved becoming.
Finally, one of my pillar philosophies:
"It's not who you are underneath,
but what you do that defines you."
You are your actions. This quote is one that will stay with me forever. It epitomizes who I am and the legacy I want to leave behind.
My intention for this email is not to brag. It is to simply showcase the fact that through downs there are ups, and through the ups there may well be downs. As long as we muster the courage to respond authentically, will we be able to move onwards one step at a time.
"There is no change without challenge".
(I wrote this email through momentum. Pumped from another signature program that I coach, I had to share this wave I was surfing.)
"Excellence is a choice".
[This quote is a theme of this week for me and have been going through many definitions and analyses. I have come down to stating the idea of excellence as the peak of both EFFORT and EXECUTION in concert. To further this, the idea that it is a choice is one that states there is control. The fact that we have control over our effort and execution is highly dependent on so many variables. And it is in these variables that we must do our research, make our mistakes, learn from them, and strive to solve our inner struggles so that we have less restrictions from being our excellent selves. ]
(I wrote this email as a way to highlight the importance of restoration, regeneration, recovery, and rest.)
Working 'out' is only half the battle, you must Work 'IN' to complete the process for potential change.
Restoration is no longer an emerging subject in the world of fitness right now, it has found it's way to the mainstream. Fact: you are not getting stronger in the gym. You are stimulating the body and affecting the potential for change. It is only how you recover through restorative protocols that you will get stronger. So rest up and restore!
So as a means of recovery, here are some suggestions:
- SLEEP! (It's free and the most effective, 8-9 hours, 10:30pm to 6:30am/7:30am)
- Drink half of your bodyweight in fluid ounces per day (E.g. 150lbs = 75oz)
- Breathing (Before bed and immediately after wake, take 10 deep breaths through nose only, 4 counts Inhale, 4 counts exhale)
- Restorative hygiene (Epsom Salt bath, Float spa, Steam bath, Sauna)
- Massage (Deep tissue)
- Self-Massage (Lacrosse Ball, Foam Roller)
- Stretching (CHEK, Yoga, self-stretch, Thai massage)
- Movement (Tai chi, qi gong, cycling, walking, swimming)
(I wrote this quick introduction to help new members understand my intention as their coach. I guess you can call this my mandate.)
"ROWING HARDER DOESN'T HELP IF THE BOAT IS HEADED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION"
[My goal with this program is to steer you in a healthy and holistic direction. My role is that of a guide to this journey, one who shows you opportunities, one who presents alternative perspectives, and one who cautions misdirection. The choice is always yours to accept and adopt.]
I am confident that you will continue with me on this epic journey.
Thank you for reading my innermost thoughts.