They LAUGHED at me

“Oh, no.”

That was my thought as I struggled to move the barbell. I wondered if this was the end of my short tenure into the gym.

Those are the thoughts that race through your head when you lay trapped beneath your own bench press; the cold iron grazing your throat.

Thankfully, a far more experienced gym goer came over and saved me from my embarrassment.

I’m not sure how I thought I could bench 185 lbs in my second week EVER in the gym.

Hell, it had been hard enough to convince myself I’d be welcome there. Growing up I was overweight. OK, more than just an above average chubby kid – I was obese. Which is OK for some, but I was self conscious about it and the target of jokes in high school.

I wanted to be isolated because I was embarrassed. And I was able to avoid things by hiding in plain sight. I wanted my gym visits to be the same.

I used to think they were talking about me every time I saw someone laugh…

“Do you see that guy?” somebody chuckled.

The others around him laughed…

At least that was the reality I had built in my head.

But I carried on.

Before & After-2

Because the gym doesn’t allow for hiding.

And it changed my life.

Now there is no laughter, but rather respect.

The same kids in high school who laughed at me are now sporting dad bods and Facebook messaging me for advice.

“Where did you learn?” . . . “How long have you trained?” . . . “What do you eat and when?” “Must have a FAST metabolism (lol)”

I hold no ill-will towards them. They probably didn’t even realize the impact their teasing had on me. In fact, I should thank them.

It forced me to change.

Are YOU hiding from something?

All of us are.

Hiding from change. Hiding from responsibility. Hiding from the prospect of feeling foolish.

We hide by avoiding things that will change us. We hide by letting someone else speak up and lead and get the girls and get the good jobs and get the life satisfaction.

We will rationalize in extraordinary ways to avoid coming out of hiding.

But I don’t hide very often these days. And the process of getting in shape – venturing into that gym for the first time – set the stage for that confidence.

Nearly 15 years later, after helping guys and girls like my former self overcome the same barriers and get in great shape themselves, I still remember how my strength was sparked by that first failure on the bench press.

There were countless other failures that followed, but they’ve all helped shape the man I am today (figuratively and physically)

Hopefully you’ll use the turning of the calendar to 2016 to step up and answer the call. And to open your eyes and see that you can have the life you want. If you are prepared to work for it.

If getting in shape is necessary for you to get there, you know what to do… shoot me an email and we’ll see if your a fit. Just call me your Mr. Miyagi. If you’re, just let know by completing this 30 second questionnaire and I’ll follow up with a no cost nutrition and exercise call in the coming days.

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Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fitness coach for men and women like his former self. Heavyset in his 20s, he lost 60 pounds and now helps clients find their spark and lose the weight for life.