It’s been over a year since we last trained together and, despite living in a small village laden with busy-bodied barbershop banter, our paths hadn’t crossed, nor had either us really kept up-to-date on the other’s life (read: “we’re not Facebook friends”).
It was awkward at first. Clumsy and uncomfortable to put it mildly. Almost had that “running into an Ex out in general population” sort of vibe. I stumbled to get out words at first. It just felt weird… and I wasn’t sure why.
We’d trained together for 15 weeks. He and another trainer had put together a local fitness competition, so I got on-board in hopes of clearing a year long plateau and, as most of you know, it worked. In those 15 weeks I lost 60 pounds, won the “Get Fit” competition, and gained the momentum that would take me far beyond the goals that I’d set for myself when I started years earlier.
Then we stopped working out together.
It wasn’t a matter of anything other than time running its course and me feeling comfortable enough to take the lead in my own journey. We parted on good terms. In fact, my wife trained with him for three or four months after I’d taken my own reigns back. Yet… something felt unfinished.
I stood on the sidewalk that morning and rocked back and forth on my feet. We’d been through the pleasantries and my brain had no idea where to go next. I stumbled to piece words together in my head when he jumped back in.
“You look great, Clay. You know, you’re the only one from that competition who has stayed in shape… and I knew you would be. You wanted this so much more than everyone else combined. I always knew you had it in you.”
With that… all of tension melted away. It immediately took me back to all the days in the gym. The long hours. The power lifts, the pull ups and the sled pulls. The joy of accomplishment and the disappointment in those weeks that just didn’t go right.
I smiled and told him about what I had been doing since. I told him I’d just finished my first full marathon and we caught up on where life was for each of our families.
I took his phone number and told him I’d be in touch for a session soon. Told him I needed to get some lifts because all this running had made me “about as strong as a runner.” Then I did the one thing that I realized was the most important thing I needed to do. The little thing that was grinding at me when I was clamoring for words just minutes earlier. That thing that was missing.
I thanked him.
Sure I had thanked him that day the competition ended and I took home my little plastic trophy home.
Sure I had thanked him after each session we lifted together.
But. this was something more.
I thanked him for the impact he made in my life.
Yes… I had to do the work.
Yes… I had to put in the hours in the gym.
Yes… The nutrition part was still all on me.
And…YES… he was just doing his job.
But… I was thankful. Thankful that he had come along in my life at the exact time I needed him and played the exact role that I needed him to play. Thankful for the things he taught me. Things I share here everyday. Thankful that, when the moment came that I was ready to go out on my own, he told me it was time.
That “thank you” was long overdue.
As I share these stories in this December series on my health and personal journey, let me ask you this about your life…
Do you have an overdue “thank you” that needs to be delivered?
The most important exercise I can teach you is not a jumping jack or a squat. Be thankful… Be mindful… Be grateful… for the people in your life who have walked along side you on your journey. Whether it’s a fitness, career, a friend or even Mom and Dad… someone has earned that “thank you” that you’ve waited far too long to give.
Why not make it today?
Oh… and… Thank you.