Yesterday, while out on a hike with a friend, I was thinking of all of you in the studio. My buddy lives at the base of this ski hill called “Highlands.” It was my second day here and we decided to take a hike up this hill and “take on” the mountain. I like to think I’m pretty fit but I’m not used to the altitude or hiking up such a steep incline.

A couple hundred feet up my lungs were burning, my calves were burning, and we still had another 2 hours until we reached the top! I thought, “Holy s##t, there is no way I’m going to make it.” But then, I thought of all of you back in Chicago—kicking a$$ and grinding through everyday to get closer to your goals, both those inside and outside of Hustle Fitness. My thoughts of you and your determination kept me going.

I thought, “What kind of coach would I be if I just turned around and stopped when things got tough?” And you know what? The further we went up, the easier it was to keep going. I knew with each step I was closer to the top. The closer I got the more I felt that failure was not an option because I had already come so far. And, if I had quit in the beginning I would have never known how easy it would be to keep going, to keep reaching for the top.

I started thinking of the hills and mountains we all go through everyday in our lives: bad days at work, being tired or sore, dealing with kids (your own or someone else’s ), having to workout at 6 am before work, having to workout at 8 pm after work… These are all small hills we have to climb every day to get what we want. Sometimes, these hills turn into mountains that seem so steep you question if you can make it. The key here is to take it one step at a time. Be patient. If I had sprinted up certain parts during the hike I would have burned myself out and not been able to finish. Being patient and having faith that I could do it kept me plugging along even at the toughest times when my heart was beating out of my chest.

It helped having my friend with me. He’s been on this mountain many times and he knew the terrain. His experience supported me throughout the climb. I thought of how you guys inspire one another each and every day; how working out side-by-side with someone helps motivate and encourage us to keep going. I know how intimidating it can be taking on something new, to feel as if everyone is watching you or worrying that you can’t keep up. This is how I felt up on the mountain with my friend. Everyone experiences feelings of doubt at times: “I’m not sure I can keep up” or, “I don’t think I’m ready.” But time and time again, the same people making these statements are the ones crushing their workouts a few weeks later. And then someone new arrives at our studio and says “I’m not sure I can keep up with so and so…” unaware that the person they don’t think they can hang with was making the same statement a short time ago. I am proud to be a part of a studio where we encourage one another and tackle our mountains together.

We did reach the top of the ski hill and it was an amazing experience. I saw two deer and took some awesome photos and had a lot of fun. I’m sitting here at a bar typing this now, nursing my sore legs  I worked out in the gym this morning ( I only did upper body because my legs were sore) and I’m looking forward to taking Amy, my fiancé, on a hike tomorrow. This time, I’ll be a little more prepared and adjusted to the altitude and ready to take on the next challenge. But, I’m excited to get home to Chicago and help all of you take on your next challenge, too!

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