Giving Thanks

WHAT I’M THANKFUL FOR

It isn’t that I can’t come up with 30 things I’m thankful for- I could probably come up with 365 reasons to give thanks, if pressed. But, as with squats, I think quality over quantity is important here… if you’re thankful for Gingerbread Lattes today, I think you’re kinda missing the point. In a world where we take our smart cars and our smart phones for granted every day, it’s easy to forget that people around the world go without food, water, and electricity on a daily basis. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be posting about all of your first world problems, I’m just saying maybe you should keep in mind exactly how good your life is, adjust your perspective a little, and really put some thought behind what you’re thankful for this year. Here are the three things I am most thankful for in 2013:

MY HEALTH

Not my fitness. Not my job. (Although I’m very thankful for both). But I’m thankful for my health- that I don’t have any life threatening medical conditions. That I’m free of any serious injuries. That I still have all of my extremities. That I’m lucky enough to be able to get up every day and be physically active in whatever way I choose. I’m thankful for having lived such a healthy and fulfilling year thus far.

I certainly don’t mean to gloat or brag about this… I just want to recognize exactly how fortunate I am to have these opportunities. I think it can be all too easy to overlook the most basic daily functions that I should be thankful for-the ability to go for a run, to drive a car, to even to type these words. People struggle every day with disabilities and medical conditions that make getting dressed in the morning a monumental task, and I find myself complaining when I haven’t been able workout in 3 days. There are people who want nothing more than to be able to walk across the room, and I whine about not being able to run as much as I’d like… sometimes we all need some perspective.

So, today I’m thankful for my health. For my ability to do the things I love to do. I can’t say that I don’t take them for granted, but I do realize that my health is not a guarantee, and I’m thankful for every day I get to spend in the presence of the beauty that is the human body in motion.


MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Most people will tell you they have the best family and friends in the world. I consider my friends part of my family, and there is nothing in the world I wouldn’t do for them- anything from the shirt of my back to taking a bullet for them. But let me tell you WHY I have the best family and friends in the world.

I am a natural optimist, and I can dream up some grandiose plans. I have been fortunate enough to surround myself with the most patient, supportive, genuine group of friends that have always been there for me, no matter how crazy I’ve gotten. I’ve managed to weave a web of brothers and sisters all across the United States- from South Carolina, to West Virginia, to Denver, to Bozeman, to DC, to Fayetteville , to Monterey, to Ames, to Charleston, and back again. I’ve had some amazing adventures, and I thank all of you for your participation, support, and encouragement.

This year, in particular, I need to thank Andy for suggesting I open an affiliate; Robert, Jeffery, Jay, and Brian for their guidance and mentorship; all those who helped me get the box on its feet- Tommy, Ryan, Matt, Becka, Mark, Meghan, Elizabeth, Kelly, Prescott, Jad, Becca, and all the friends who have helped in between and along the way; and especially Lynn and Jim for everything they’ve ever done for me- seen and unseen. I simply could not have done this without each of you, and I am eternally grateful to each of you for helping me live my dream.

A lot of people will tell you they have the best friends in the world- but not everyone gets up every morning to do what they love because of the support of their friends and family. I am truly lucky for that, and always thankful.

MY COMMUNITY

The community we are building at ABV is the newest thing I’m thankful for. This has always been more than fitness for me. Yes, being physically active is a big part of it… as well as nutrition… and attitude. But it isn’t enough for me to “get people in shape.”  This isn’t about working out. This is about alifestyle. This is about a culture in which we prioritize our health, where we don’t shy away from hard work, where we aren’t looking for short cuts or the easy way out. This is about developing a culture in which challenges are meant to be overcome instead of used as excuses for giving up.

“We aren’t here to change lives. We’re here to change a culture”

The obese woman honking at me from the fast food drive thru because my running route is blocking her from pulling out into traffic. The kid going back for seconds and thirds at the buffet after spending countless hours glued to a screen playing video games. The twenty-something college grad sitting at a cubicle all day, eating junk food, and claiming to be too busy with work to spend 3 hours of week at the gym. I see the lazy, sedentary, obese, unhealthy attitudes that have become the norm in American culture every day, and I do not accept it as the status quo. This is not okay. We can do better.

The only way we can accomplish such a colossal paradigm shift is by building the community. If I can influence the lives of 10 people… and those 10 people each effect another 10 (or at least bring them to me so that I can sway them)… it would only take 6 iterations of paying this forward to influence the lives of one million people. Unachievable goal? MaybeBut I’d be happy to settle of impacting the lives of 1,000 people.

I am unbelievably thankful for the community we’ve been able to foster at ABV. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to work with each and every one of my athletes. I’m incredibly proud of each of you for all the hard work you’ve already invested in your own health. And I’m thankful to each of you for helping me to help change the culture of the community around us.