My Dad Died, And I Am So Grateful For It…

When I first became a Personal Trainer I had no idea it was going to lead me here.

All I wanted to do was help people improve the quality of their lives by improving the quality of their health.

You see, I know what can happen when you take your health for granted.

When I was 19, my dad passed away in his sleep at the hands of the number one leading cause of death in the entire world — cardiovascular disease.

Now I could tell you that the worst part was that my entire family split up after my dad passed away. My mom and my sister moved halfway across the country, my brothers weren’t talking to anyone and at 19 I found myself feeling more alone, lost, and confused than any other time in my life.

But that wasn’t the worst part.

The worst part was that I never took the time to have a beer with my dad. I never took the time to just sit and shoot the shit with him. I never took the time to really get to know my dad and now I am never going to have that opportunity.

So at a very young age, I knew exactly what I was put on this earth to do, and that is to help others avoid making the same mistakes my dad and I made.

He made the mistake of taking his health for granted and our entire family paid dearly for it. I made the mistake of taking a person I love for granted. And while neither of us will have the chance to fix those mistakes, I was inspired to help others avoid them.

But after several years as a Personal Trainer and helping literally, hundreds of people transform their bodies and their physical health,

I felt empty. I felt empty because even though I was helping people improve the quality of their health, I wasn’t able to help them improve the quality of their lives.

As a Personal Trainer, you really get to know your clients on a very intimate level.

I mean think about it. How many of your best friends do you spend 2–3 hours of uninterrupted 1-on-1 time every single week for 6-months to a year or more? I know I definitely don’t.

So when you get to know people like this you get to hear about every other area of their life, specifically their relationships, their jobs, and their emotional well-being.

I kept hearing the same stories over and over again about how they were so stressed at work. How they just weren’t in love with their partners and felt totally unfulfilled in their relationships. How they couldn’t understand that even though they looked and felt great physically that they still had trouble accepting themselves and loving themselves.

So while I set out to help people improve their health and I was doing an awesome job at it, I was falling way short in terms of helping people in all the other important areas of their lives.

And that’s when I asked myself the most important question I have ever asked myself.

The question at has connected you and me here today, right now. And that question was this…

What is it going to take for me to help people improve both the quality of their health AND the quality of their lives?

So I set out on a journey to answer that question.

At first, I thought I needed to go back to school and get my psychology degree. God knows I was doing enough counseling work during my training sessions so I had the practical experience.

But that just didn’t feel right to me.

So then I looked at my own life and thought about where I am right now.

I have an amazing romantic relationship with my partner that is incredibly intimate and like nothing else, I have ever experienced.

I have connections with my friends that go so deep that we know each other on a soul level.

I have learned to manage the depression that started when my dad died and peaked after my divorce to the point that even when I feel like breaking down I can still break through.

I am literally living my dream.

I when I mean literally I mean it.

My ex-wife and I played the ‘Stranger Game’ one time where we took on totally fictitious identities and pretended we had never met.

I picked her up at a Starbucks as she had ‘forgotten’ her wallet at her hotel and I offered to pay for her coffee. We both could pick whatever career we wanted and I picked that of a Personal Trainer! This was years before I actually became a Personal Trainer.

On top of all this, I am currently 39 and without a doubt in the best shape of my life both in how I look, how I feel about how I look and how my body is able to perform.

Now don’t get me wrong. I still have gaps that I would like to fill in my life. Anyone who says otherwise simply isn’t dreaming big enough.

But I look at my life and what I am living every single day and I love it!

I am literally living the life that I want for my clients.

So how did this happen? This is the question I asked myself for over and over again and then it hit me.

All I do is apply the same principles that help me improve the quality of my health inside the gym and apply them to my life outside of the gym.

When I start to feel pain inside the gym I know that growth and progress are just around the corner so I just keep pushing through it.

It’s no different when it comes to my business. When stress starts to kick in I know that as long as I can manage it and get past it that growth and progress are waiting on the other side.

When I don’t want to do something at the gym because I know it’s going to hurt or that it will take time away from something else, I know that the results that are waiting for me are worth the investment.

How is it any different in our relationships?

I know that while I may not want to have that difficult conversation or when I may not want to be totally honest that if I can talk to my partner and be totally open and vulnerable that the growth and connection we share together, as a result, is more than worth any pain that I felt at the onset.

The single biggest challenge I see with my clients is hands down their relationships.

They just aren’t happy.

I read Esther Perel’s book, Mating In Captivity for 10 minutes everts single morning and this is the part that stood out for me today:

“The seeds of intimacy are time and repetition. We choose each other again and again, and so create a community of two.”

You could easily replace the word ‘intimacy’ with anything you want to experience more of and then replace the words ‘each other’ with the step, tool, or strategy that will get to you to experience more of what you want.

If I have learned anything as a Personal Trainer turned Transformation Coach it is this:

You can totally improve both the quality of your health and the quality of your life is you simply become aware of what works inside the gym and begin to apply it outside of the gym.

And that’s how the Thrive In 30 Challenge was born. A 30-Day Challenge to help anyone who wants to improve their health, their life or both the only way we can.

One set at a time, one rep at a time. One day at a time, one step at a time.

If you have what it takes to build a better body, you have what it takes to build a better life.

Now when I first set out on this journey I used to daydream about how amazing it would be to help people transform their bodies.

Little did I know that my true calling was to help people transform their lives.

Helping one client save a 25-year marriage that was on the brink of divorce.

Helping another client completely change the trajectory of her relationship with her son from being one that was totally disconnected to one where they became attached at the hip.

Helping another woman leave her career as a Youth Services Librarian to successfully pursue her passion for writing and fitness by becoming her own boss as a freelance writer and Personal Trainer.

Helping another client work so hard every single day to do the one thing that I would bet everything I have is the hardest thing for any of us to do — look in the mirror and be able to sincerely love the person you see staring back at you.

This is the purpose of my life.

My life’s mission is to inspire the dreams of humanity through the living of my own.

How could I have possibly known that my dad passing away, while it was the most devastating loss I will ever experience, would simultaneously be the greatest gift I have ever received?

Thank you, dad, for sacrificing yourself for me so that I can live my purpose and transform the world one set at a time, one rep at a time, one day at a time, one step at a time.

We got this!