Training

The Happiness of Pursuit


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2014 has been quite a wild ride already, and we’re barely even out of the starting gates.

On January 2nd I left the warmth of San Diego, CA and the security of a great job at one of the best gyms in the country.  With my buddy Jorge along for the ride so I didn’t entirely lose my sanity, we drove through the neon lights and broken dreams of Vegas, the rocky desert of Utah, and then finally a blizzard that stretched the entire width of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  We finally made it to Fort Collins, CO about 2 days later. Jorge headed back to Cali the next day, while I remained in CO with no real guarantee on what the future would bring.

As athletes, we spend our lives setting goals and chasing them down.  The desire to chase your dreams doesn’t end when the final whistle blows, though.  Most of you reading this probably know that first hand.  So many of the power lifters and competitive strongmen I’ve met got into it after other sports passed them by, but the competitive drive remained.  The desire for growth isn’t a distinctly athletic trait, either.  Over the years I’ve met plenty of other people- lawyers, teachers, soccer moms, doctors- that had nothing to do with sports but still possessed a strong desire to improve their life on a regular basis.  It didn’t matter necessarily what people were working towards, as long as they were working towards something.  Weight loss, improved sport performance, decreasing pain… as long as people were pursuing something that mattered to them, then they generally seemed to be more confident. More content.  More happy.

On that note, it’s very easy to ridicule things that don’t make sense to us.  This is one of the things that plagues the fitness industry as a whole, and the strength-sport world in particular.  Powerlifters vs. Crossfit vs. Olympic Weightlifting.  Raw vs. Geared.  Everyone vs. Zumba.  But here’s the serious question that I’ve asked myself, and one that I challenge you to ask yourself right now: what’s bothering you more, the fact that what “they” are doing doesn’t make sense to you, or that they actually seem to be enjoying what they’re doing.

These observations came together for me in a personal tipping point of sorts. I started asking myself what I truly stand for.  The answer came quick: the pursuit of goals and dreams as defined by the individual.  But it had to be more than that.  The problem for most people isn’t that they set their goals too high- it’s that they set them too low and actually reach them (FYI that’s from a Michelangelo quote… I’m creative, but not that creative.)  People all too often play it safe, and while there’s something to be said for safety and security, that’s how we get trapped.  So my coaching ethos evolved to letting people define their goals, but helping them push the limit further than even they feel they’re capable of.  Seeing that spark when someone does something they never knew they could is what I now live for.

For me to continue to be the coach my clients deserve, though, I had to be able to follow my own advice.  So it was finally time to take a leap myself.  Despite the awesomeness that is southern California, my heart had always been in making my way back to Colorado.  Plus, I knew the communities of northern Colorado, and I knew that there were hundreds, if not thousands of people in that area who could benefit from the style of training and coaching I’ll be providing.

So I leapt.  I scraped together every cent to my name, grabbed the things that seemed most essential to me, said a very challenging goodbye to tons of friends, and hit the road.  Now don’t get me wrong, there has been a good amount of strategy to his decision, a lot of which I’ll be sharing with you over the next few months along with the ups and downs of the fledgling gym/small-business owner.  But I wanted to get 3 points out there with this first article.  First, take some time to define YOUR goals, dreams, and desires.  Figure out what you stand FOR, instead of whining about everything you’re “against.”  Second, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  No matter what it is you’re going after, somebody somewhere in the world probably took a similar chance at some point in their life.  It doesn’t have to be an ideal match, but if you open your eyes to it inspiration is everywhere.  Finally, take the leap.  Fear and success live in the same place, so if you have big dreams or big ambitions, expect to be scared shitless.  Just find the resolve to move forward, even if it’s one step at a time.

Coach Ryan Burgess is a physical preparation coach and the founder of Pursuit Performance in Loveland, CO.  Coach Burgess works with clientele from a wide variety of backgrounds, but he particularly specializes in working with football athletes.  A former collegiate football player himself, Coach Burgess has trained hundreds of youth, high school, and collegiate football players as well as dozens of NFL athletes.  In addition to coaching, in 2011 he began competing as an amateur strongman and recently started competing in powerlifting.  He can best be contacted through his website at www.CoachBurgess.com.

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