Lights! Camera! UNDERDOG!

We've all seen them— in movies, tv shows, in go-get-'em underdog stories and epics that "hit ya right heeere!"--

 

The training montages.

 

Shot after shot collapsing the hard road, advancing the hero from weakling novice to amateur to seasoned veteran to hardened pro in four minutes and twenty seven seconds.  Shot shout and grunt by shot shout and grunt.  It's a regular movie-going convention–– formulaic, powerful.  That extreme closeup with that warrior eye, the always-expected temporary setback. The too-real adversity that the hero faces, vaulting the pitch of that up-hill climb.  Pounding freezer-hung meat or pounding the pavement, www see the snippets that relay the story arch leading us forward to the big confrontation.

 

Set to hard-rockin heart-pumping bad-ass 80s hair-bands or industrial, those training montages have us thinking HECK yeah.  The underdog is going through the lessons, learning the habits, building, growing, step by step in the face of adversity.  And as our heads bop to the beat and that place in our belly excites to see such self-betterment, a little part of us thinks, "Hell yeah.  I could be that best me, too."

 

But it's not like that in real-life, is it.  People lose their motivation and fall off the path on the fight toward their goals when it's NOT that quick heroic montage.  When real life gets messy, as it does, the glossy veneer of those goals gets awful scratched up.

 

When we're juggling parenthood with financial strain and several jobs, that's not conveyed in 90 seconds of representative shots like it is in the movie:  it's not a funny 5 shot scene where you're fighting putting a baby diaper on (a symbolic shot returned to later when you're a master)–– no:  at 4AM, exhausted, you're elbow deep in baby poop that stinks and smears and doesn't come out from under your fingernails.   You're stuck LIVING that long day job, or 2nd job––– facing difficulties, stress & tedium that isn't illustrated by 15 seconds of a sigh and a shot of a ticking clock, a shot of the character at a desk studying while the water on the stove boils over––– no–– you live that moment by moment by moment.

 

It takes REAL time. There are no cut-aways.   Habits that lead you to your success take TIME to become engrained. That long path from beginner to pro is devastatingly long.  That temporary set-back injury takes six months to recovery from, not six shots.  Those financial brick walls that erupt up before us sometimes–––  well?   Sometimes those are the end of that heroic journey right there.

 

But the fight for self-betterment, for improvement––– step by ferociously difficult step––– should be all the more treasured because it's NOT the quick-snippets montage.   It's hard-earned.  It's real. It's your life. 

 

The habits you wish to instill, if you're to become the You that you wish you could––– it's not going to be a Hollywood training montage.  It's going to be hard.  it's going to take effort.  You're going to find yourself facing adversity, find yourself failing, and you're going to have to have the strength to stick to your will and pull yourself out of the dirt.

 

That's why I'm a coach.  That's why I lead the groups I do.  Because people I treasure & respect were there for me as I began my fight toward accomplishment.   Not in a montage, but for the long haul.  And it means the world to me to be there for others.

 

But let's get you inspired by that movie-going magic.  Check out some of that montage power at the first comment's link.  

FLEX IT IN POST

I was sitting in the edit suite, fingers nimbly orchestrating incantations of broadcast wizardry, when my stomach suddenly emitted the raucous, ferocious growl of a discontented slightly-sick wildebeast.

The model / actress / producer serving as my post-producer on the job––  her stoic face was frozen--- in fear, wonder, or worry, I'll never quite know--- but she knew something was up.

"I'm sorry," I said.  "It's not that I'm hungry.  I...  I just haven't been feeling good lately."

Which is a kind way of saying, I'd grown gigantically fat, had chronic heartburn, and that there was no end to the self-consciousness and shame I felt over the sheer girth of the magnificent orb now precariously bulging over the constraints of my belt.

My name is Ed Kulzer.  I am an editor.   And I had grown fat.

In post production, we editors, motion graphics artists, & colorists––– we are masters of our trade.  We translate coffee and terabytes into hopes, dreams, nightmares, aspirations, wrought emotions and human glory.

We are super-human in the ability to go phenomenal stretches of time funneling down the rabbit hole of focus in order to meet inhuman deadlines.  No strangers to the all-nighter, or the 36 hour work day, our fingers whiz in a blur over keyboards, our minds zipping 12 steps ahead.   It's rumored that fierce armies of hours of long-overdue sleep haunt the confines of our bedrooms, steadfastly marching about, with a chip on their shoulder from long-standing neglect, carrying long sharp pointed spiky thingies---- they ain't messing around.   

We exist in a universe where clients will do all in their power to keep us fully comforted & supplied–– with ample greasy food, sodas, coffee, bagels––– any carbs and toxins the heart could want––– JUST to keep us there, diligently churning dreams into deliverables. 

Thusly chained into those Herman Miller prison cells, day after day, week after week, month after month, we watch as our waistlines balloon and our health shrivels.

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As I worked alongside the model/producer, and she heard the beastly growl of my severe lack of fitness rear its beastly head, she became friendly, turned to me and said, "Stop for a second.   You have to take better care of yourself.  You are killing yourself through health neglect.  

–––––  "You do not want to damn your gorgeous toddler daughter to suffer the fate of growing up without a father because his sloth and ignorance about functional fitness and nutrition cast him headlong into the cold icy clutches of an early grave."    --------

She relayed that actor/friends of hers had found their way to fit through a DVD program called P90X, which I remembered seeing an informercial about and knew roughly enough to think "HYEAH.  ROIGHT.  SURE.  I haven't done a sit-up in over a decade, and I'm gonna have it in me to do the hardest workout program on the planet?"

"Yes," she said.  "You do.  You have that strength within in.  If only you will allow yourself to be the man who will try.  Your daughter is worth it.  Your life is worth it.   Get off your ass and save your life."

That night I got home and was shocked to silence to see the numbers "200" staring up at me from the scale.  That's more than 50 lbs higher than I had been around the time my wife and I had married, just a few scant years earlier.   Body fat came in at 34% on the caliper.

 

I realized that––– having no fitness component in my life, having no knowledge WHATSOEVER about how much I actually SHOULD be eating, and WHAT I should be eating–––  I realized that I was destined for serious health issues if I didn't course correct.

I bought P90X, gathered the equipment, watched one of the DVDs, and called up Beachbody to ask for the free coach that the disc had said I was entitled to get, to support me & hold me accountable––– the ONLY way I knew I'd have the strength to stick with it and finish the program.    Fortune smiled and they put me in the care of a man I would grow to honor and respect as both mentor and friend, Elite coach David Ingram.   

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David invited me into his challenge group:  a private Facebook group filled with a dozen or so other aspiring fitness newbies, all there-assembled to be a band of brothers & sisters in arms: charging head-long toward our goals.   And charge we did.   Armed with the world renowned trainer Tony Horton as our personal trainer, we tackled obstacles large and small, faced fears, demolished difficulties, and discovered a well-sprung feverish strength of spirit that I long had thought extinquished.   David, daily, inspired, led and guided us, focusing not only on fitness form and stalwart nutritional guidance––– but also on exercising the character: focusing on instructing in how our experience of life itself is a choice determined by attitude.  We read personal responsibility, we crushed pushups, we learned, we grew, we sweat, we suffered, we rose, we fell, WE FINISHED.

At the end of P90X, I was so electrified with the experience, I lunged back into David's next group, this time at the tutelage of fitness-pro and track star, personal trainer Shaun-T, in T-25.   25 short minutes per day, and it was off to the races in cardio craziness.  Vanquishing that program, P90X2, Les Mills Combat, Insanity, Insanity 2: The Asylum, P90X3, The 3 Day Refresh, Ultimate Reset, 21 Day Fix, The Master's Hammer & Chisel all followed in PASSIONATE succession.

I had given up a thirst for naps for a thirst for self-betterment, and had learned phenomenal techniques for maintaining a LIFESTYLE of fitness, of functional knowledgeable daily nutrition––– lessons that extended beyond myself toward my family.

I had been so profoundly transformed inside and out by this experience I couldn't RESTRAIN THE NEED to become a Beachbody coach, to hone and harvest skills in leadership, motivation, relationship-building and the development of leaders, to pass along the metamorphosis in lust for life that had been ignited within me.  Now as head of Team Carpe Vitam––– I lead and I build leaders.  I inspire and I activate that inspiration in others, guiding them to permit themselves to exit complacency, court uncertainty, thrive in newfound confidence, and maximize their life's potential by becoming who they were meant to be.

CARPE VITAM   ––   SEIZE LIFE

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