Lessons of 2011

It is time again for lots of reflection. Personal, Strength goals, and Professional. The funny thing is, as this year winds up, one chapter is winding down and another is beginning. Timing couldn’t be better. Though at times it can be overwhelming with all of the unknowns.

Lesson 1: Not Knowing is a Given, Accepting that You don’t Know is a different Beast

There are many times in life we seem to be on cruise control. A bump here or there, but over all the decisions seemed to be rather strait forward. This past year was exactly that, until August. Ten Months of bliss at Evolution Fitness. Our first year in business and we were profitable. I remember saying “man 2 more years on this lease, I wish we could expand.” The next day I found out the business next door was closing down. It seemed as if the genie bottle was at my beckoned call just like a story book. I spoke with the landlords about taking over a bigger space. Instead of looking at this as an opportunity to let a business grow they opted to ask me to leave the shopping center because we got too big and loud!! I was beside myself. Things seemed like they were all falling into place. A growing business, clients coming out of the woodworks, an open space next door, then an eviction? Really? I mean I did wish for a bigger space, but it wasn’t supposed to work like this. A new space was needed, but I was on the 3 year plan. I had been saving money for the new gym and I was on pace to afford the new gym in 3 years, not after only 1 year in business. I guess God and different plans for me. The next few months were full of tours of open spaces, negotiating leases, and spending all of the money I had earned in the past year. I  was excited, but in the same breath scared as hell. Every time something seemed to be going smoothly another obstacle popped up. Owning a business isn’t easy and isn’t for the faint of heart, it has been a dream come true, but also been one of the biggest challenges I have faced. The lesson is to get comfortable with not knowing the future. It is a fact we have no clue of what the next moment brings, and becoming comfortable with that fact will make all the difference in having serenity. The truth is the new gym is my dream gym. The road wasn’t the one I would have chosen, but then again what do I know.

Surround yourself with people that believe in you and will be honest with you

Some people walk through this world loaded with cockiness and arrogance and need  to brought down to reality, others need someone to tell them that they need to go for it. I have to say that the biggest reason I felt comfortable with moving into a larger facility and grow my gym is because of the overwhelming confidence and support I received from family, friends, and clients. To them the expansion was a no brainer and they laughed at my fear.  I also appreciated those that showed concern and helped me think through all of this.  It came down to one conversation with my best friend of almost 30 years Toufic, and I don’t know if he even knew how I took the conversation at the time. I was contemplating taking the safer, less risky route and open a facility just a tad bigger than my current one.  In my heart I knew I would out grow it soon, but I was scared to spend too much money and risk. In one sentence everything changed. He said “D, I don’t know if now is the time or not, but eventually you know where you want to go and it’s really going to come down to you  believing in your abilities to take it to the next level.”  Talk about a light bulb, or a kick in the stomach. To say the least I didn’t get much sleep that night. The fact was, for once I knew I had the ability, I just had to have the faith. The economy, the risk, and all of life’s what ifs…. The truth is I still don’t how this whole thing is going to work out. I just need to trust in the process and not worry about the results. It is just like a client wanting to lose weight. The weight loss is the outcome, the workouts, diet journal, and all the other pieces are the process. My job is to show up, work my tail off, build a strong team, and ask for help when I need it. The results will take care of itself as long as the process is sound.

I am glad I have lost before and have experienced failure

I don’t believe in the “everyone is a winner” attitude. I will also say that you don’t have to always win and losing isn’t bad. Losing and failing has taught me the biggest lessons in life. I feel sorry for kids that go to schools without grades and play on sporting teams that don’t keep score.  All of tears in losing games as a kid made me work harder, and The “F” I received in college probably changed my life and I am happy for it now. You can’t go through this world just mooching and on cruise control hoping others will pick up the slack. about 17 years ago the University of Arizona wrote me a nice letter about my grades and said get your act together or you are not welcome. There were no effort awards. It was a sour medicine that said, get your shit together or wash cars the rest of your life buddy. It took me 2 years to bring my GPA up. Looking back this experience helped me start and expand Evolution Fitness. Staying up late studying, hiring tudors, and doing whatever it took to be a better student back in college really changed my life. This past year I was placed in similar situation. Starting a business from nearly nothing, there were many late nights, writing, researching, and reading. I knew that I wasn’t going to get a free pass on this. It was either do what it took to make a business successful or go out of business. In the real world an “F’ isn’t a piece of paper saying try harder.

Keeping the Goal The Goal

I have spent a good part of my life using numerous different methods of training. Most all of it had something to do with making sure my abs looked ripped. Well currently my abs aren’t ripped and I am becoming stronger each workout. Edging towards my 40s I am now stronger than I have ever been in 22 years of working out. I have been highly conditioned in my life, but I had women out lifting me during those times. This past year has been one of the best years in my training. Injury free and strong(er). The days of crazy workouts till I puke or can’t move my arms are over. My goal is becoming stronger and achieving the beast challenge. 6 months ago this was far from a reality. It is tough training for something specific because eventually progress slows. It is so easy just to change goals over an over and really not get better at anything. Hence the success of P90x. This year, training smart and keeping the goal the goal has been the most rewarding and successful training year for me. Whether its strength, business, or personal goals, staying the course separates those that achieve success and those that have excuses.


As a trainer I see hundreds of people per year in consultations. Whether the goal is weight loss, improved health, corrective exercise, or more energy, the person sitting in front of me is usually struggling from one thing….  Being weak. Sorry to sound harsh, but in nearly all cases they are underpowered in some form. Sure there are many causes of this, but the result is a very weakened body. Bottom line healthy movement is crucial, but becoming stronger is always the goal. Focusing on weight loss, inches, and calories are just smoke screens. I just had a client share with me that since training with me he has improved his 5k Time by 10 minutes this year. Guess how much we have practiced running? If you guessed none you are correct. Guess how many squats, presses, farmers walks, and swings we have done… Probably thousands. This has been the foundation of Evolution Fitness and the reason we have created all the buzz. Ladies deadlifting 300 lbs and repping out pull-ups has created a movement that hasn’t slowed down, but to us its just another day at Evolution Fitness.

Creating a Team and Trusting others

Creating a core team of individuals that I trust has been life changing for me. I have a small but growing staff at Evolution Fitness. Without them none of the expansion or growth would be possible. There is nothing wrong with what I was doing at my little gym. I could have done just fine financially and professionally having a small training practice that offered a handful of classes. The fact is, it grew and I needed help. Those that have come on board have also added a life to the gym that I couldn’t have even imagined. Each of us have a unique energy and talent that we bring to the table and it truly is creating an amazing organization. I have been accused of being too picky on who I hire and sometimes we tend to be understaffed, but quality over quantity always wins out. And most of all we have a blast at work. Who else gets to show up to work in shorts and t-shirt and help people change their lives while  making a living.

The Trainers having fun

Creating a Culture is Invaluable 

I constantly give shout outs to my clients and thank them for all they have done for me because they are the reason for all the success.  I have done my best to create a facility that focuses on strength, and program workouts that make sense to help people achieve the goals they came to me for. It has been great, but all of the clients at Evolution Fitness have taken this to an entirely new level. They all share in the commitment of becoming stronger and better at training. They have facebooked us and sent their friends in. We have something special it is something you cant see touch or see, but the energy is amazing.

There is nothing on this planet close to the feeling of loving your child

I knew being a dad was going to be cool. I knew I was going to love my daughter more than anything before she was born, but nothing could prepare for the depth of love that I have for her. My daughter has made a habit of waking me up early on my days I can sleep in and I can’t get mad at her. She usually chooses to slap me in the head and say “daddy up” and then kisses me. Watching her laugh uncontrollably and smile is the best feeling I have ever experienced. I have had numerous cool things in my life and NOTHING comes close to this. I am so blessed to have her in my life. Business success and strength goals achieved have nothing on seeing my baby girl at the end of the day.Mia and Daddy



This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>