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Monday, August 23, 2010

The EASY Button

I love the Staples commercial with the “EASY Button”.

“That was EASY!”

Sorry, people, there is no EASY button. Things are hard. Somehow, most people just don’t get this.

This flaw in our society is glaringly obvious in the realm of health and fitness. Everyone believes there is an EASY button because that’s what they see on TV. The average American watches 20-30 hours of TV per week. (That is an abomination, but that is not the point of this article) If you get an hour TV show on DVD or watch it on line then how long is the program?

Its 42 minutes give or take.

OK, stay with me now.

18 minutes per hour of commercials. This means that the average person watches... {Wait for it}… 7.5 hours of commercials per week. Holy cow! Bet you never looked at it that way, huh?

The majority of these commercials push alcohol, OTC and prescription drugs and food that is unhealthy. Does anyone want to argue that fact? Didn’t think so.

What does alcohol do? “Helps” you relax and have a good time. What do drugs do? “Makes the pain (or whatever) go away”. What does unhealthy food do? “It’s easy and tastes great”.

Did you ever look at it that way?

You are brainwashed 7.5 hours per week to believe that you need alcohol, drugs and convenience food to make your life better.

Yeah, and that’s just TV. What about the radio? Newspapers? Magazines? You get the point.

Life is easy. Just relax and everything will be fine. Apparently that’s not working.

Because of what we are brainwashed to believe, as soon as life gets hard we pick up our ball and go home; yeah, I’m talking about fitness.

A moderate sized health club will add 1000-2000 new members per year. Just as many people leave. Why join and then leave?

“It’s too expensive.” “I don’t have the time.” “The drive is too far.” “The floors are dirty.” Please. YOU are conditioned day and night to believe that there is an EASY button. There is not.

Fitness is hard.

Are you fit? As fit as you possibly can be?

The answer is NO!!!

You are NEVER truly fit! There is always more you can do. There is always another step in your fitness ladder. You can always be more fit. Always.

Millions of people get on the fitness journey.

They join a program or buy a book or whatever. Then almost immediately it gets hard. Money runs low.

“Life” get’s in the way. A kid gets sick. You get sick. You twist your ankle. You get divorced. Your parents move in. You move out. You get fired. You….

The list could go on and on.

It all comes down to one thing. It get’s hard and the majority of people just give up.

I see it all the time. People find the smallest little thing to grab onto and say, “Aha, see. I knew I couldn’t do this.” Then it’s over for now until something again makes then give it another shot and the cycle starts all over. I find it sad and frustrating.

I hope you made it this far in today’s article because I have the answers for you. Remember that the future is perfect!

The answer is within you and it’s going to be hard. Remember the hard part. It’s going to be hard.

In 7 days I’m doing an Ironman triathlon. Is that going to be hard? No EASY button for me. You don’t get one either. “Know pain, to know gain.”

Step 1: Take responsibility for you and your body. Yeah, you have had the deck stacked against you but it’s still your responsibility. Don’t beat yourself up but don’t blame anyone but yourself for what and who you are. Don’t go to step two until you have accepted responsibility! Do it!

Step 2: Accept “Know pain, to know gain”. No, that’s wrong. EMBRACE “KP to KG”. Write it on a card and look at it every 5 seconds. This needs to be something in your life that becomes second nature. When the going gets tough you have to keep going…. and going …. and going.

Step 3: Stop watching the news, reading glossy magazines, reading the paper and watching TV. “No cable fo’ you!” I don’t have cable TV and it is marvelous. I play the guitar and read a lot. I haven’t watched the news in years. Just think about the brainwashing that occurs in those 7.5 hours per week. Watch TV shows online or go to the Red Box. $1 for a movie. Really? That’s awesome.

Step 4: Read and apply motivational and information books. I like Jack Canfield and Tony Robbins. Read a book or two per month. Do the exercises in the book. Set goals. “Get ‘er done!”
Step 5: Set aside 60 minute per day every day of your life to exercise. SET ASIDE THE TIME!! Then when that hour arrives, do something! To tell you the truth, it doesn’t matter what the heck you do. If you are doing something that is all that matters. Fill in the details later.

Step 6: Set aside 60 minutes per day everyday of your life to exercise. Holy crap! That’s the same as number 4. I guess this is important.

Step 7: Write down everything that goes into your mouth. Put the results into online calorie and nutrient counters like or something similar. You can also see a holistic professional like a qualified personal trainer or naturopath. I do nutrition consults in person or over the internet ( You will have to pay money for this. Remember the hard part that I mentioned before? There is no EASY button. Suck it up and write the check. You cannot be truly healthy if you don’t get your nutrition in balance. It’s virtually impossible to do this yourself. Get some help.

Step 8: Supplement your body with energy and nutrients that you aren’t getting in your diet. Most people are malnourished. Yes, even people that are 300 pound people are malnourished. They may get plenty of sugar and fat, but true nutrients elude them. Even people that exercise and are really fit tend to fall behind on energy because they don’t recoup lost nutrients. I use supplements from Advocare. I would suggest that you start with the 24 Day Challenge: If you have questions contact your favorite Advocare distributor. If you don't have one then I will be glad to help you out! Yes, this is going to cost money. You buy food right? You need to fuel your body the right way. Most do not.

Step 9: Work with a GOOD trainer to get you started on your journey. I would suggest sticking with a strong trainer that is going to hold you accountable. Obviously, I would suggest me. If not me, then someone certified and qualified. Once you find a good trainer use them as a resource. Be in constant contact with them. Don’t just fade away because things get hard! Be strong and stay strong! How do you find a good trainer? Ask your fit friends! By the way, don’t ever work a trainer that doesn’t have a real certification. I also wouldn’t ever go a Boot Camp class with an instructor that isn’t properly trained. Ask what his or her cert is. If the answer is “ExpertRating” then that means they paid $50 and took a super simple online test. My son’s fish could pass that thing.

Step 10: Pick an endurance pursuit and then challenge yourself. I don’t care what it is; really doesn’t matter. Running, biking, swimming, hiking, kayaking, adventure racing, triathlon, duathalon, etc. You get the picture. Get your butt out the door and do something! Your body was meant to be outside and accomplishing things. Do what you are meant to do! Set a goal and go get it. Accomplish your goal? Good. Now set a bigger one…. and a bigger one… and a bigger one.

Do these 10 things and you will get the body that you want and deserve. Make excuses and skip one or two, well then you are rolling the dice.

When you hit 60 years old, do you want people to say, “No way you’re 60…” or do you want to be laid up with a broken hip or chronic illness?

It’s in your hands now. You have a plan that is hard. You have a plan that is going to cost you more money than you can afford. You have a plan that is going to test your limits.

You have a plan that will make you that top 1% of people in our country that can stand tall and be proud for themselves and their families.

What are you waiting for? Step 1…

Rick Copley, Your Best Fitness Coach 
"Empowering YOU to be a champion

Monday, August 9, 2010

"I just broke my leg".

"I just broke my leg.”

“You probably just bruised the bone.”

“Nope. Broke my leg.”

Just 30 seconds earlier I had felt the crack of bone on bone. One bone had to give; it was my tibial plateau.
I jumped up praying that I was OK. It felt like there was a six inch gap in my body just below my knee. I knew right then and there that I’d broken my leg. Fuck.

The guys on my flag football team gathered around. Some were EMT’s and thought they knew what they were talking about. I knew the truth. My comeback was over. My season was over. I had broken my leg playing flag football.

I laid there. My life had already changed. This very moment in time my life would never be the same. A series of events had now been set into motion; almost like a butterfly effect. My world was about to become a different world. The changes would take some time, but it all started at this moment.

Charlene told me not to play flag football that night; I didn’t listen but should have.

In October of 2005 I competed in the Xterra World Championships in Hawaii and finished an astounding 7th place in my age group. To me, at the time, it was the tip of the iceberg. I was bound for triathlon greatness. I was on the way up. I was going to do great things.

I was.

In August of 2005 I moved to Florida and started a paint contracting business. I wasn’t a perfect businessman but I was doing fine. I made enough money to go on racing trips to Salt Lake City, Reno, San Francisco and Maui in 2006. Despite a flat tire at Xterra Worlds that year I did well. Life was good.
In late 2006, early 2007 we all know what happened to housing and construction in Central Florida. One day I had two crews out on job sites the next day I couldn’t find work for one person. I made some bad decisions, had some bad luck and got royally screwed by a guy named Robert Checkow of Ebb Tide Construction.

I lost everything and then some.

It was an awful, awful time. At almost the same time I was losing everything Charlene and I became foster parents to her two granddaughters.

When it became time to start training for triathlon season in early 2007 I was getting up in the middle of the night feeding a four month old infant. Mornings were spent getting the two girls and my 7 year old son off to school and day care. Days were spent working and the nights were spent looking for work.

There would be no triathlon season in 2007.

By early spring I’d lost my business. It was over. We lost our house. I had mountains of debt. We lost the girls back to their mother and I was out of shape and in financial ruin.

This is why I started working at the YMCA.

Ironically I left fitness to be a contractor and make money; if I could only have that one back. No mulligan’s in life. I took my lumps like a man.

Now it was time to rebuild our lives slowly. I worked part time at the YMCA to try and make ends meet. The debt was so massive and the mortgage so high that life became a massive day to day struggle. I had some time to train now but I couldn’t afford to compete or even buy running shoes. These were dark days for sure.

I started having some success at the YMCA. I was gaining some momentum there. I was getting more clients and building a good reputation. I was making a difference and I was happy again.

In January of 2008 I became Wellness Director at the YMCA. I am so glad I stuck it out. Through all the challenges we were facing Charlene wanted me to quit the Y and get a “job” somewhere to earn a real paycheck. I just couldn’t do it. I stuck it out and got the dream job for a guy like me.

I had been running quite a bit and a comeback was looking good. I found a sponsor and I was getting is great shape. By March I was registered for the “Duathlon National Championships”. I was ready to compete again.

On Friday night I ran a great time at the little off road 5k that I’d been putting on at the Hidden Waters Preserve. It was one of my best times. On Saturday I won a Track Shack road race in Orlando. On Sunday I rode my bike 3 hours then ran 5 miles in 29:30. I was feeling great and ready to return to action. Besides 2007 I’d never missed a year of racing since 1987. I was ready to rock.

On Thursday I was trying to block a pass in a stupid flag football practice on a night that my wife didn’t want me to even play.

She knew.

As I lay there on the ground I tried to accept what had happened. I tried and I’ve claimed for years now that I began to accept my fate right then and there. I did not and I would not for a very long time. Truth is I was changed. I was changed and the result is what it is. For better or worse it changed my life forever.

A chain of events were set into motion.

I had surgery on Friday.

On Saturday I did 5 push-ups on my knees cause that’s all I could do.

Sunday I walked down the street. I made it to my neighbor’s neighbor’s house before I turned around.
I went back to work on Monday.

I did pull ups incessantly. I did push-ups. I did whatever I could do. I did that silly arm machine that the old people use at the gym. I worked out as much as I could.

I went a little crazy. I lost my mind a little and I lost my heart.

By early May I could walk again. Walk I did. At the YMCA I had started the Mount Everest Challenge. Climb 29,035 vertical feet on the treadmill in the month. I did it in 11 days. I walked and walked. I couldn't run or bike but I could walk and I did.

I tried my best to occupy my time by working out and walking. It just wasn’t the same. I couldn’t run and I couldn’t bike. As the summer went on I slipped further and further into a depression.

Yes I admit it. Between June and September of 2008 I was very depressed. There were days that I just slept walked through. It was a struggle to be me. It was a hard, hard time for me.

In late September I started to run again. The more I ran the better I felt. My depression was gone within a few weeks. On November 9th I ran a half marathon in 1:25. I was back. On Thanksgiving Day I ran 16:45 for 5k and had completed my physical comeback.

I was me again. I was a runner. I started biking and swimming again soon after.

Not competing and especially not biking and swimming for almost two years was tough to contend with in 2009. I raced a full season and did OK. I qualified for and competed in Maui again. Things didn’t go well. Perhaps I needed a year to just train.

2010 is a different story. With a year of training under my belt I am rolling and feeling great. I signed up for my first Ironman and I’ve already qualified for worlds in Maui again.

The chain of events that started in 2008 finally ended my marriage. I am OK with that now. I lost my business. I am OK with that. I broke my leg but I fought like hell and I beat that. I was depressed and I pulled myself out of that hole. I have faced adversary time and time again but in the end I am OK.

I am OK.

I share this story because many of you have similar stories. I fought through it all and come out the other side.

Am I better off for what I went through?

Does it matter?

The point is that you have had adversity. You WILL have more. How are you going to face it? Are you going to whine and complain that life isn’t fair? Are you going to give up? What if I had given up?

My life is a little uncertain these days. It’s been a challenge for sure. My story is not that unique these days, is it?

Why did I pick now to share this personal story?

Why indeed.

Well, I was looking back on all that I’ve written in the last 7 years and I hardly found a mention of my broken leg or my loss of my business. These are events that are now part of my being but yet I ignored them; seems strange to me now.

In an effort to be more whole and better myself I have decided to share more. It is my hope that I can touch people in some way shape or form. I hope that I can even have one person say, “If he can do it then I can too!”

That’s what I hope for.

I’ll leave you today with this:

I was talking to a friend last night. For some reason I got all riled up. I was talking about 300 pounders. In the course of 10 plus years in fitness I have spoken to many, many 300 + pound people. Heck, many in the last few months. Each and every one had a long, sad story about why they were that heavy. All involved injuries and depression. These are hard things to overcome. Yes, they are. Now you know. I have been there.

I spend many hours of every week trying to figure out what to say to these people. It’s hard. I only hope that by reading what I just wrote, people that have a long road to hoe can see that it can be done.

It can be done.

If you are one of the ones that have a long road with a light at the end, that you can’t see, all I can tell you is that the light is there. It’s hard but the trip is worth it.

If you need help you know where to find me and now you know that I’ve been there for the trip myself. Let me help guide you. I know the way.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Sometimes when I am bored I read. This, I’m sure is pretty common. Unlike most of the other people that read I often go back and read my own words. I am not ashamed to admit that I love reading my own stuff; strange but true.

So I was re-editing/reading parts of the first book just the other night and I got to thinking. I got thinking about the topics I was choosing to cover.

It used to be very technical. Eat this, don’t eat this. Do these exercises, don’t do these; and so on and so forth. I consider this technical information.

Details, if you will.

I’m not doing that as much recently. Now I write a lot more personal. I also am shooting more for inspiration and motivation. It’s different and there is a reason.

Let me explain.

Details are important. It’s vital to have a plan of attack. You need to know how to exercise and you need to know how to work out. These are the details my writing used to be focused on. I used to think that was my job. I am the expert and I need to be the one to tell people how to do things the right way.

I was dead wrong. That is not my job.

Eating right is simple. The workouts are basic.

It’s the coaching that you need from me; not the details.

OK. A test. Go to Google and do a search. Try this: “How to eat healthy”. It’ll take you .2 seconds and you’ll have 25 thousand articles and links to explore. All of them will tell you the same basic thing: don’t eat crap, drink water, eat your veggies, buy organic… etc.

Those are details and they are simple.

Same thing with workouts. These are 2.67 million books about how to work out. Heck, you don’t even need a book. Just walk everyday and you are on the right track. The resources are out there for you and they aren’t even hard to find.

It’s the decision to make the commitment to figure out the details that is hard. That’s half the battle. Once you get on your journey you are halfway there. Maybe even less. Figuring out your plan is maybe 10% of the battle. Sticking with it is where the rubber meets the road.

That, my friends, is why I do the bulk of my writing on motivation and person stories. Once you make the choice to change your habits the rest falls into place. Until you make that decision all the planning and details in the world aren’t going to do you a lick of good.

Part of my job is the details. You need to stop eating this and start eating this. You need to do 50 burpees, GO!

What good is that if you haven’t committed in your heart to succeed?

I believe my job is three fold.

Part one is to INSPIRE you to get started. This is the hard part. This is the part where you commit everything you have to succeeding and become willing to do your best and empty the tank. If I do my job properly then there is absolutely no way you can ever fail.

Part two is the details. For a person to succeed to his or her potential then part one must be 100% complete. Unfortunately this is rarely the case. People seem to want details well before they are ready to commit themselves. This can lead to failure. This can lead to using your excuses just because you can.

Two people came to class this morning that I didn’t think I would see today. This afternoon they got on a cruise ship. How easy it would have been to pull out the, “Sorry I missed class today. I had to pack” excuse?

Those two didn’t use that one nor would they ever. They are committed to what they are doing. When you are committed the details don’t matter.

Honestly if I do my job right then I am done. Once you are committed and I supply the details then the train won’t stop for anything. With some this is the case. Life, however, is what it is and sometimes commitments wane. So part of my job is to keep the commitment levels high. This is where my inspiration and motivation again come in. I keep you on task and on track.

The details don’t matter. It’s the mere fact that you committed to action and results that matters.

When you are truly ready and truly committed the details will make their way to you. The details will not help you otherwise.

Trust me. This isn’t my first rodeo.

I’ve seen people ask me again and again the same question. The details cease to be helpful when your action commitment to results goes south.

This becomes part three of my job. It’s almost like part one again. It now becomes my job to re-direct efforts to what works and re-inspire maximum commitment. This is hard work on my part. I am good at it though. This is when it really comes in handy to be involved in my program. I don’t let me people fall off.

You level of commitment determines your level of results. It really is that simple. It really is.

Get committed and stay committed and the world is yours.