What Consumes Me

This post is a little more personal than usual but, here we go.  When I am first introduced to people it is not uncommon for them to inquire if it’s ok to ask me a question about training even though I’m not at work.  Or, occasionally they ask if I want to be a coach/trainer as a career.  My responses to those questions are usually, “No I don’t mind at all.  Just feel free to cut me off in 10 minutes if you get bored.” and “This is what I do.  This is my life.”

I am currently reading the coach Dan John recommended “Swing Your Sword” by former Texas Tech and current Washington St. football coach Mike Leach.  Leach is a law school graduate but was always intrigued by coaching.  At one point he wrote a letter to attorney Gerry Spence whom was his idol at the time.  Leach asked him if he loved or hated law.  What would he have done differently, was it worth it, etc.  This was Spence’s response:

“Yes I love law.  Yes I hate law.  But, most importantly, I am consumed by law.  I think about it all the time, and yes, I would do the same thing again because it is fulfilling to do something you are consumed with.  If you are consumed by law, go be an attorney.  If you are not, find something else.”

Leach went on to ask himself what he thought about when no one else was around, when he was going from the sofa to the refrigerator, or filling up his gas tank.  At that point he knew what he had to do and went for it.  The rest is history.

Although I have been sure for quite some time what I enjoy doing with my life, this insight does give me comfort.  It is safe to say that I have been consumed with training for quite some time, and yes sometimes I hate it too when the weights don’t do what I want them to.  I often tell people I am a training geek.  When I was 17 and XXXX was my girlfriend, I would without hesitation make our plans/dates around my training schedule.  I loved training with my best friend in the neighbor’s basement to get better at hockey.  It’s just what I did.  At 21, when I was in college I didn’t mind telling my buddies that I would meet up with them later because I had to hit the gym for an hour even though it was after practice.  I wanted to be there.  I enjoyed that time.  At 27 when I was dating XXXXXXX I made sure she knew from the beginning that Saturday mornings were dedicated to a 45 min drive each way to Mike’s Gym in Bonsall, plus a training and recovery session that totaled about 3-4 hrs.  That’s how it was going to be.  Every Saturday.  There were no exceptions.

These days I can’t express how much I love to learn just as much as I love to train.  Sometimes when I tell people who don’t know me really well that I’m going to a seminar that is work related they offer sympathy.  And that’s ok, I think it’s safe to say that most people don’t love presentations and “meetings” that are work related, but I let them know that for me it’s like a kid going Disneyland.  I love it.  I can’t get enough.  I’ve never thought that I know it all and I’m smart enough to realize that there are far more intelligent people out there than me.  I’ve just been lucky enough that many of them are willing to share their knowledge and experience with others.

That being said, enough about me.  The fulfilling part that Spence talked about comes with helping people.  I can train my ass off and study hard but as they say, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.  I’d being lying if I said I thought I was a great communicator, but I do care, a lot.  For me there is nothing more satisfying than helping someone else get better on the field, in the gym, in their own mind for that matter.  I love helping others be successful.  I guess it’s the teacher/coach in me.

Finally, although we don’t often get to sit down with a bottle of wine and have a heart to heart, if there is one other person I know who feels this way about helping people and training, it’s Max Shank.  That is why I love Ambition Athletics and continue to be consumed with training.

– Mike Baltren

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  • Very inspiring Mike! I love this blog, just keep doing what you love! I know we're all trying to do the same!

  • Karen

    Mike, your love of training, sharing of knowledge and the care you show your clients is why you are a "GREAT trainer" vs just " a trainer" ! Very few people ever figure out what they are passionate about, and even less will make the sacrifices necessary to be able to pursue a career in it. Great blog-thanks!

    • MikeBaltren

      Karen and Martin, thank you both.