As a high school senior, I was voted Best Dressed. I also failed the only class I ever failed: P.E.
Now, over two decades later, I teach others about fitness and nutrition and wear workout clothes pretty much exclusively.
How did this happen!?
I wasn’t a bad student. Actually, I was a pretty good student. I just wasn’t a very engaged student. So much so that after graduation I planned on enlisting in the Army.
My mother, in her infinite wisdom, presented this question. “What if you hate the military? You can always drop outta college, but you can’t drop outta the military.” I gotta give her props for saying this. And I’m gonna give myself props for actually listening!
So, this led to Plan B. I enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard. If you’re not familiar with the Guard, you serve as a full-time student and part-time soldier. This enabled me to serve both my state and country and attend school. This also enabled me to continue playing golf competitively.
Although a relatively accomplished golfer in high school and junior college (and not-so-accomplished tennis player), I wasn’t much of a fan of purposeful exercise. I remember my freshman year of tennis not being able to press the 45-pound bar off my chest. I wish I could say this lit a fire under my butt, but it didn’t. It was demoralizing. I’m not sure this was the cause of my disdain for purposeful exercise, but it certainly didn’t help.
At basic training, though, I had no choice but to exercise. But by being forced to exercise, daily, I began to see my body change. I began to feel my body change. I began to feel my mind change. I gained muscle and self-confidence, two things that had been missing.
I continued to exercise once enrolled in college. (After all that I’d gained, how could I not!?) I still ran, something I discovered I was really good at, and performed calisthenic-based exercises, e.g., pushups, squats, lunges, etc.
Once I transferred from junior college to my four-year university, my first order of business was finding a friend. By God’s grace, I quickly met Jeff. I’d like to think he was looking for a friend as well, but in hindsight he may have just wanted a spotter. You see, Jeff was (and still is) built like a brick outhouse. It was obvious he lifted weights, i.e., strength or resistance trained. And he asked if I did too. I didn’t, but I wanted a friend, so I said yeah. (To this day, I wonder, if he had asked if I played in a polka band, would I be wearing German lederhosen and playing an accordion?!)
I took to lifting like a duck takes to water. So much so that I changed my major from construction management to exercise science. I went from wanting to build buildings to build bodies. Looking back now, though, I was really most interested in learning how to build my own body.
After graduating I took a job working with hockey teams. “Wait, Adam, you didn’t mention anything about playing hockey. Only golf and tennis.” You’ve been paying attention. Brilliant, right?! Needless to say, this was short lived.
My next job found me in a big-box gym working primarily with the general population, aka, “gen pop” or mere mortals.
It was here, at the ripe ol’ age of 24 that I began my career as a personal trainer. Personally, I would spend hours in the gym performing countless squats (okay, who am I kidding—bench presses), sleeping eight to ten hours a night, and eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.
Professionally, I trained my clients as though I was training me, even though the majority of my clients were 20 years my senior, had goals completely different than mine, were married with children (I was single and childless), and mostly female.
Looking back now, I would’ve called myself Procrustes the Trainer. If you’re unfamiliar with Procrustes, he was a Greek god that would stretch people or cut off their limbs to fit them into an iron bed. No, I didn’t cut off clients’ limbs or stretch them to fit into an iron bed, but I would try to fit them into the same program (and I use the word program loosely).
Mind you, I was a male in my early twenties with the metabolism of a hummingbird and all the time in the world to work out, training middle-aged, perimenopausal mothers with the metabolism of a sloth and limited time. This led to frustration for me and my clients.
After a move from Illinois to Tennessee, I considered a career change. What had begun as an “I’m awesome” attitude had turned into an “I suck” attitude. What I realized, though, was that it wasn’t me (and it definitely wasn’t my clients), but my approach. When I began in this industry, I loved fitness. I realized though, that I needed to love coaching (and I genuinely did, I just wasn’t that good at it.)
For years I had pursued becoming a better trainer, always looking for the next great exercise, workout, or program. Instead, I began pursuing becoming a better coach. I went from being a coach-centered coach (and I use coach loosely) to a client-centered coach.
I’ve learned no two clients fit in the same “bed”. My programming is no more like Procrustes’ but now more like Sleep Number®. I’ve learned that regardless of how hard you work, you can’t outwork a poor diet, at least given the time most people have for training. I’ve learned compassion, both for my clients and myself. I’ve learned that my client is the hero of their story. I’m simply privileged to be a part of it.
What also helped (and continues to help) with this total paradigm shift is my aging process. Gone are the days of spending hours in the gym performing countless squats (okay, presses!). No longer do I get eight to ten hours of sleep. I still do eat whatever I want, when I want, but what I want has changed.
And even though the amount of time I’m able to spend on my own fitness and nutrition has decreased, my need for them has not. If anything, it’s increased. As a husband to a remarkable woman, father to three amazing children, and coach to committed clients who share in my vision to become an even better version of themselves, I’m responsible for the care of others. But that responsibility begins with taking care of me.
Which brings me to you.
Like me, you have a life. I guess you’ve always had a life, but as you’ve aged, as you’ve matured, your life has changed. For many, though, that’s become a reason to not exercise and eat right. How has having a life become a reason to not take care of it?! Perhaps this was you, or still is you.
What is it about your “life” that’s keeping you from taking better care of it? What kind of life is it if you don’t look, feel, and move like you want?
If you’ve come to a point in your life when you finally wanna start taking care of yourself and start building the body you want, but just don’t know where to begin, then you’ve come to the right place.
If you’re ready, if you’re willing, you can do it! And you may be surprised at how simple it can be. Lemme show you what—and more importantly how—to do what you need to do to become an even better version of yourself. I’ve helped dozens of clients before you look, feel, and move better. And, God willing, I’ve every intention to help thousands more. Will you be one of them?
I don’t know what you’re doing now, but I’d sure like to know your story. I’d also like to be a part of you writing the next chapters to it.
Whether you wanna hire me for coaching or not, or subscribe to my blog or not, thank you for taking the time to visit.
Be strong, and do the work!
- Adam Lee
28:Tenn Fitness exists to help you finally achieve your health and fitness goals by providing extra-unordinary fitness and nutrition coaching that delivers permanent, life-changing results within the parameters of your busy life.
- Excellence: I excel in who I am and in what I do
- Making a Difference: I want to better my family, my community, and my world
- Integrity: I'm committed to do the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason
- Stewardship: I take care of that which I’ve been entrusted
- Personal Responsibility and Accountability: I am responsible for that which I’ve been given and accountable to the One from whom it came
To help you build the body you want
What makes 28:Tenn Fitness different?
I believe . . .
- eating, moving, and healthy living should be an extension of who you already are. It should bring joy. It should play nicely with everything else in your world.
- health and fitness should be simple, do-able, realistic, and manageable for your busy life.
- you needn't starve on rabbit food or be required to stick to a bunch of rules you can’t follow.
- exercise shouldn’t be penance for what you’ve done, but a celebration of what you can do.
- you can make fitness and nutrition work within the parameters of your busy, real, and demanding life!