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.
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.
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