Yep, that’s right. I’ve managed to make it this far and with all my limbs and digits in place.  Five fingers, ten toes…..wait, what happened to the other five fingers?!  Oh, phew, there they are!

I made it this far because there were MANY “bumps in the road” as they say.  It caused me to learn from my mistakes (lots of them) and work harder to not repeat them.

To help you all learn from my mistakes, I want to share 29 things I have learned in my 29 years.  This is not the first time a list like this has been created and I’m sure you can find hundreds in the interwebz but I hope some of my experiences are inspiring, unique and edutaining.  

Since I only have about an hour to complete this list, it is by no means exhaustive and definitely not EVERYTHING I have learned my entire life but it is a good start.  Grab a beer, kick back and read on!

1. Nothing lasts forever.  I am very happy with where I am in life, more so now than ever before.  I am engaged to the most wonderful, inspiring woman I could ask for and plan to be married by next year.  I could go on and on about this alone but I will save that for another post.  My career is better than I ever could have expected the day I graduated from college and went into panic mode.  I have a beautiful home, the greatest friends and I can’t leave out my dog, Koa.

Looking back, I can remember plenty of times in my life that I wanted to give up or quit because shit seemed hopeless and impossible.  Then those things passed and life changed.  I grew.

Things are different now than they were 5 years ago and 5 years before that.  You have to accept the fact that as you age things will change and as long as you don’t get complacent, this is a good thing.  This is why you must give your best every day and not look back.

2. Never stop learning. We are the only creatures on this planet with this capability so why do so many people take it for granted?  

[quote author=”- Albert Einstein”]Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”[/quote]

Like your biceps, your brain will wither if you don’t use it!

3. You probably don’t eat enough vegetables. –  Or drink enough water for that matter.  Eat more Kale.

4. Nobody is Perfect. – Not even Superman.  Keep reminding yourself that mistakes are part of growing and learn from them.  Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do something on the first try, if you want to give up watch this:

If you still want to give up I have nothing more to say to you.

5. Nobody cares how awesome you think you are.  Personal accomplishments should be kept just that, personal.

It is ok to share the fact that you just ran your 3rd 1/2 marathon, deadlifted 400lbs 5x or are 2% bodyfat.  Most people you talk to will never do those things nor aspire to.  You are bragging.  It’s definitely cool to show these things off when they first happen but after that you need to give it a rest.

Do these things for your own sense of accomplishment, not others acceptance.

6. Smile. – A lot.  Be creepy about it, but not too creepy.  It will instantly improve your outlook and the quality of your life and those around you.  I picked up this habit years ago when I read How to Win Friends and Influence People and if you haven’t read this book I suggest you do.  I can’t explain how awesome this is, you just have to take my word for it and try for yourself.

Also, a smile doesn’t always mean someone is happy.  It may just mean they are strong enough to face their problems.  Smiling back will give them more strength. 🙂

7. Fitness is about more than how you look or how strong you are.  –  This is something that NO ONE realizes in their youth but becomes more apparent the older you get.  I am by no means old, but I do understand there is more to life and fitness than just looking good.

Beyond health, fitness to me is accomplishment, motivation and sense of self.  It helps me realize that I can always push a little harder and go a little farther.  It gives me the power to change one of the few things I have complete control of, me.  After that, it keeps me really, really ridiculously good looking.

8. Floss your teeth and wear your seatbelt. – If you can’t commit to these, you are screwed.

9. Anyone that claims that their way is “the best way” or “the only way”, run. – Some people have genuinely good intentions but others are scumbags.  This goes for religion, nutrition, politics and fitness.

10. Less is more. –  I am a firm believer in the Pareto Principle or 80/20 Rule.  For those of you who are not familiar it states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your work.  Find out what that 20% is and do more of that.

This applies to almost any area of life but since I am a strength coach I will use training as an example.  80% of the results you see in the gym comes from about 20% of the work you do.  Find out what that 20% is to start seeing some real results.

Hint: you can probably bag the biceps curls.  *See #18

11. Bacon iz good. – As is anything that used to be alive including steak, plants, animals, live cultures (cheese, yogurt), and brontasaurus.  It’s funny that the people that are concerned with dietary fat have no problem eating processed food.

12. The new Total Recall movie was nothing less than awful. – It’s only saving grace was the fact that it had Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Beal kicking some serious ass.  If you have seen the original, watch it again.  If you haven’t, I suggest you do.  This is why:

Now please excuse me while I erase the remake from my brain…

13. If you want to fly you have to drop the things that are weighing you down. – This is NOT as easy as it sounds.

14. Do more deadlifts, single leg exercises, farmer carries and pullups. – These seem to be omitted in gyms across America.

15. Don’t cheat. – I shouldn’t have to explain this one.

16. Someone else doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right. – There are many paths that lead to what is “right”.  You have to allow others to make their own mistakes and take their own paths sometimes but don’t be afraid to offer guidance.

17. Listen more than you speak. – You may have heard this before but you have two eyes, two ears and one mouth for a reason.

18. Bicep curls are NOT the devil. – Just don’t do them in my squat rack or I will hurt you.

If you have completed the “20%” these are ok to do, if you have not you are wasting your time.  *see #10

19. Don’t choose favorites. – Linsday and I always joke that I don’t have too many “favorites” so she never knows what to buy for beer or what to make for my birthday dinner.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have preferences but variety is the spice of life!  Always try new things and make new experiences.  Life is short and without this you will find yourself getting bored real quick.

As a matter of fact, try everything once and do it whole-heartedly.  Go balls to the wall as they say.

20. If you work at a desk all day stretch your hip flexors and pecs and strengthen your glutes and mid back. – Do this every day or at the very least every time you set foot in the gym.  No one has good posture, not even Robocop.  This simple advice will go a long way in saving you a lot of pain.

While I’m on the subject you should probably foam roll more as well.

21. Making progress is hard and involves risk. – After all, you can’t make it to second with your foot on first.

22. It’s ok to fall apart sometimes. – You don’t always have to act like such a tough guy, everyone knows you are human.  Don’t be concerned with what others are thinking.  Cry every once in a while then move on and do some deadlifts.  Just don’t do it every day.

23. Train grip strength. – It’s kind of fun and no one does it but if you think about it your grip strength is kind of an important attribute.  You don’t want to be that old lady that has to wait a week for her son to visit to open a your jar of pickles.

I recently bought myself a set of grippers from Captains of Crush and although I can’t close the #2 yet I am getting close.  When I do, I will be the only person in my gym that can do it, pretty cool.

24. Health is way more important than most people treat it. – Without your health, what have you got?

25. Leave footprints wherever you go. – And make those fuckers BIG!  Have a positive impact on the people you meet and at the places you go.  Make a difference.

26. Treat people how you want to be treated. – You can’t forget the golden rule!

27. Relationships matter. – Not every relationship, but there are a few key ones

28. Diet hard and have a cheat day. – Eat predominantly whole foods (call it Paleo or whatever you want) all week or even two weeks then eat like a boss!


Life is too short to be a purist 365 days a year, go have some icecream every once in a while!

29.It is much harder to change the length of your life than the depth of it. 

Phew….with minutes to spare before my last 3hrs of clients for the day.  I hope you enjoy my list!  Now it’s time to go have 3 kick ass sessions before I head up to VT with Lindsay for my birthday!  

Written by Steve