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The Real Path To Progress

My journey with my personal health and fitness goes back as far as I can remember. I started seeing radical changes and results in 2010 when I made a personal decision that enough was enough, and I just started learning and making changes to my lifestyle, one step at a time.

Fast forward 3 years. It’s 2013 and I’ve lost about 70 pounds (and kept it off) while adding the habit of exercising every day to my lifestyle. I’d been a member of 3 different gyms (moving back home to Charlotte from Myrtle Beach, SC) ranging from a privately owned health club, planet fitness, and a hole in the wall dungeon style gym that barely had enough electricity and definitely didn’t have HVAC.

At this point, I’d experienced an identity shift and working out had become part of my identity. It was just something I did almost every day without thinking about it. Without having to choose to do it. I would go to the gym, use whatever machines caught my eye and try new exercises with dumbbells as often as I could. I would regularly go workout with a handful of different friends (Diego Mora, Davin Sanderson, you guys remember the good old days) and learn things from them, but our schedules would inevitably fall apart and I rarely kept a gym partner for more than a couple of weeks. Life just happens.

I had made a ton of progress, but I’d found myself at what felt like a plateau. I wasn’t bored with working out and I sure as hell didn’t plan on quitting, but the enthusiasm that I had was starting to burn out. I’d never hired a trainer before and that thought honestly never even occurred to me as a broke 20 year old serving tables at Ruby Tuesday’s trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life. But I knew I had to keep exercising and prioritizing my health and I knew there had to be a more novel, exciting type of exercise out there. I just had to figure out what. One thing that was always in the back of my mind was the fact that I enjoyed my workouts with my friends much more than my workouts alone with my headphones in.

Fast forward 6-9 months and a girl I was dating at the time who was doing CrossFit in Rock Hill, SC influenced me to try it out. Initially I rejected the idea, making fun of the workout program and pointing to all of the internet memes as supporting evidence for how ridiculous the idea was (I’ve owned a CrossFit gym for 5 years. +1, universe).

To make a long story short, I walked into my local CrossFit gym (CrossFit S3 in Indian Land, SC) and introduced myself and asked about getting started. Fast forward 9 months and I was sitting in my CrossFit L1 certification class starting the journey that has led me to where I am today, by all intents and purposes the expression of a successful personal trainer and entrepreneur. The caveat is that unlike a lot of working professionals, I’ve maintained my health and fitness over the last 11 years, 5 of which I’ve been a startup entrepreneur building a business from scratch.

What I learned when I made the transition from conventional gym goer (Planet Fitness for 1-3 hours a day, using a variety of cable machines, cardio equipment and dumbbells) to someone who does CrossFit 5-6 days a week is pretty simple.

I stepped into a world of exercise that places the highest level of value on what our bodies are naturally created to do as opposed to replicating these movements with machines.

I surrounded myself with a community of people who knew my name and cared about me, instead of standing in a group of strangers glancing at one another but never uttering more than a sentence to each other, all the while wondering if they’re judging me.

I exposed myself to an entirely different way of thinking about fitness and found myself excited by the challenge and opportunity to learn new things on a daily basis.

If you’re bored with your workout routine, start seeking radical change. Something that makes you feel excitement and enthusiasm at the idea of pursuing it. Start researching new movements on YouTube or Instagram (it doesn’t have to be CrossFit). Look for exercises that get you fired up and look cool as shit and start learning them!

Start seeking out people that want to go on this journey with you. Your spouse, your brother, your coworker. Look online for local Facebook groups focused on fitness and see if you can start making connections. The right people will make themselves known to you, it’s no different than making friends with someone at a bar or work event. I believe you need a tribe of people in your life who share your enthusiasm and excitement about fitness to make it really fun. It’s just not the same when you’re in a silo, by yourself.

Question the truisms that you’ve built your paradigm of fitness around. When you think you’ve reached the end of a thought process, ask yourself “why” once more. For example, I believed in my core that bodybuilding was the best expression of fitness and CrossFit was stupid and dangerous. When I asked myself why, eventually I came to the conclusion that I’d developed that belief from internet memes and influencer jokers online. That wasn’t a good enough reason to build a belief structure on, so I decided to explore my local CrossFit affiliate and decide for myself.

Thank God I did.

If you’re feeling like there’s “more” out there, there probably is. You may be approaching the end of the chapter you’re in, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be the end of the story. You can’t get to the next chapter if you’re constantly reading the previous page. You have to look ahead and turn the page. Action beats inaction, every time. The future starts with taking a step towards it.

In Health, Coty Bradburn

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