Boot Camp

One more lap. One more rep. One more breath. I think I can make it.

by Pete Ferguson

I’ve been battling with age for the last few years. Call it 40’s survival.

Almost by accident my wife signed us up for boot camp in exchange for teaching the instructor’s daughter in preschool.

I remember the first few classes well. I was sure death was just around the corner. Then I learned that my body was capable of much more than sitting on a couch.

Knee pain, back pain, shoulder pain. But I pushed on. I pushed through. I had a small-in-stature but huge-in-heart Latina kicking my butt the whole way. And the pounds began to drop. I began to have more energy. I began to live again. The pain began to subside.

We took a break from boot camp for almost a year and hit the gym. We hooked up with a good friend who exercises more than anyone I know. And I was able to lift more than I ever lifted. I’m continually amazed at what the physical body can accomplish when the mental abilities kick in. But the lack of cardio sent my weight back up to where I began before boot camp. So about a month back we started up again with Marianne and she is kicking our butts back into shape.

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Today we did about two miles back in boot camp with weights. Stopping every 100 yards to drop and do pushups, squats, arm exercises. The fresh air from the mountains washed over me, letting me know I could hold on a bit longer, try a bit harder. The “girl weights” I started off with felt like 100 lbs each by the time we made the two miles.

Drenched in sweat, mind clear, it all came together.

It feels good to be alive.


We Must, Because We Can!

The thrill of life is constantly seeking the edge of what we are capable of, only to find there are new roads where we thought the cliff dropped into oblivion.

by Pete Ferguson

Today’s title is borrowed from Evan Sander’s blog: The Better Man Project – Day (282) – Master of my Fate.

As I dive into great material to help make me a better man, there is one consistent message:

You are capable of a LOT more than you think possible. And whether you think you can – or you think you can’t – you are probably right!

And I’ve put this to the test and been continually reminded of the truth of it. I was struck with something I read a week or so back, but cannot now recall the source. My body knows how to have a visible six-pack. And likely so does yours. The muscles are in place, and can be enhanced and developed.

So why is America one of the most obese countries in the world? Why do we not all have tight six or eight pack?

It is not our bodies. Unless you were born with a medical condition or have suffered a serious disease or accident, you – like me – are capable of looking ripped.

It is our minds that hold us back.

We medicate with food and inactivity. A million times a day we make other decisions not to be fit. No time. No desire. We simply think we can’t.

And so we can’t.

Meanwhile our abs sit there waiting to either be strengthened through exercise or continue to decline through atrophy. And our belly fat sits there hiding them with a blanket of excess.

Outside of the body, the “perfect” career, spouse, and life also sit idling. Waiting for us to find them.

If you’ve ever read Russell H. Conwell’s Acres of Diamonds, he also attests through stories of tragedy, then success, that golden opportunities lie beneath our feet, all around us.

“Some day” may kill you. It certainly will kill your aspirations of happiness and fulfillment today – speaking from personal experience here.

Goals are the clothing and baby steps to “some day.” I am a dreamer at heart and love to contemplate “some day.” And I like to dream in technicolor. But I’ve also learned to really refine “some day.”

I’ve traveled the world. I’ve stayed at the nicest hotels, eaten in the nicest restaurants, seen some of the coolest stuff. Those were my “some days” of youth. Now as I’ve matured, my “some day” is to see my children successfully launched, married, educated, and following their passion in music, dance, art, and improving the world around them. And my favorite “today” is hanging out with them.

Fast cars need gas. Private planes require a headache of maintenance and additional fees. All the money in the world is just too much. And if you are not mature enough, it will turn you into a cocaine junky, lost soul (umm, Paris Hilton anyone?) and otherwise unhappy.

My parents have friends who were in the right place at the right time and came upon millions of dollars of stock and compensation. I was 19 when we went to visit their behemoth of a house.

Indoor/outdoor swimming pools and tennis courts. Massive home theater and video arcade. Everything media had taught me what it takes to “be happy” was contained on their little wonderland. “Success” in all of its wonder. I could hardly contain my feelings of desire and lust to have what they had.

But after the tour of all their stuff, my mom asked her friend if she was happy. Her friend talked about the slavery of sitting around the house waiting for the pool cleaners, landscapers, etc. And that she still struggled to get her kids to do their homework and stop fighting at the dinner table.

All the money just made her life different. Sure they had opportunites to “do” greater things, but they still had the struggle to “be” great.

And their millions didn’t do much for their kids who had struggled with having good friends and being likable before the money. Last I heard most of them had failed to launch and many of the family members deal with depression. Money didn’t fix a thing from my perspective. It may have even exasperated many of their problems.

I’m well over my 500 words, so let me conclude that everything you and I need to be happy is around us. We just have to choose to look for it. Setting daily goals to reach our “some day” is a great start.

We must push, because today we can!