Make It Happen Monday – Client Makes It Happen


The other day I opened up my email (like I do far too often for wise time management) and was pleasantly surprised to see an email from one of my former South Carolina clients, Seth. Upon reading the email I was floored, and frankly, I was humbled. It’s sometimes hard as a writer to know if people are really reading your stuff, and even harder still to get the sense of what you’re trying to put across is getting through to them.

To put it bluntly, I don’t write this stuff for my health… I write it for yours.

Well, this letter let me know that at least one person is “getting me”. I won’t steal his thunder, but what I want to point out here is that Seth has internalized what’s truly important for success: Making things happen even when it’s not perfect.

Here’s the coolest letter to hit my desk in a really, really long time:


I just wanted to let you know how much I still enjoy reading your blog. Especially ‘Make it Happen Mondays’ and I’ve been adopting this motto to my weeks. I just wanted to give you a little insight as to how training with you and your blog has continued to impact/help me out.

As (I think) you know, I’m back in grad school and words cannot begin to express the level of time/dedication/stress this program has required to be successful. I think that I had e-mailed you about doing a 12 week boot camp program last semester. It was early in the morning and got me moving before classes started. Last semester, I lost about 8 lbs during training but never saw any real increases in strength. My endurance/stamina improved (not by much) and I felt better, but after 4 months of work, I expected better results – and I ‘felt’ like I was going all out. Also, getting up so damn early every day before being in class/studying in the library for 10-12 hours a day 5-6 days a week began to take its toll on my academic performance.

Fast forward to Christmas break: I decided that after all of my hard work in school/boot camp, that I would treat myself and drink all of the Makers Mark that could be made while eating everything that was put in front of me. In short, if it wasn’t nailed down I was going to eat it. After all, I had signed up for boot camp again for the spring semester: It should be all good, right? Not so much. I continued my downward spiral into self-loathing and lame attempt at alcoholism (Not really…I exaggerate a little, but I did drink a LOT) well into the spring semester. Everything seemed to suck: My computer crashed and I lost everything that I had on it…Pictures, massive amounts of school materials, workout stuff I had saved from you, EVERYTHING. I felt behind and overwhelmed in school. Boot camp started the second week of January but I kept at my self-destructive behaviors, blaming it on stress, school, life. Pretty much everything except the cause: Me and my excuses. I kept telling myself that boot camp would help me figure things out but didn’t change any of my lifestyle choices. Between the middle of December and the Super Bowl on February 5th, I had ballooned up to 215 lbs (my all time high was 218) and I felt horrible. I decided that boot camp wasn’t working for me – the yelling and punishment for other people’s inadequacies & mistakes did nothing but make me do less and I quit looking forward to exercise. I decided that something needed to change. So I tried to remember some of the things from your workouts and started reading your blog again. Here’s what has happened since I got my ass back in gear:

I put together a redneck home gym (I have no $ at all – I’m a poor fucking jobless grad-school student). It consists of 12 lb medicine ball (purchased with a gift card from x-mas), a 8 lb sledge (I already had this), a tire I picked up for free from a local tire shop, about 4 ft of chain to go around the tire (my rope kept fraying while dragging it) and about 15 yards of rope that I tied a loop in (I also have the resistance bands I bought when I was working out with you). That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything total cost me about $20. I plan on trying to make a sandbag & slosh tube at some point in time – They can be done on the cheap. The good thing about all of this stuff is not only the fact that it’s cheap, but I can take it with me this fall when I go out on clinical rotations for months on end. I’ve been doing combination workouts using primarily body-weight warm-up circuits (like what we used to do, JJ x 20, alternating lunges, push-ups, thrusters) and finishing with some power moves. A burner that I like to do is: Medicine ball slam, squat (pick up the ball while down), and throw it straight up while standing (I’m sure there’s a name for this and you know it – that’s why you get paid the big bucks…). Repeat x 10. Then drag the tire about 20 yards, turn around and pull it the rest of the way to me. Pull the sledge out of the tire and chop x10 per side, but the sledge back in and run back to the start & pull the tire in. That’s one circuit. I try to finish with 2-3 circuits… I’m sure that I’ll be able to do more as I get in better shape.

Since the Super Bowl, I’ve lost about 18 lbs and am back down to 197 and not only feel great, I feel awesome. I completed a Rugged Maniac 5k about two weeks ago and finished in the middle of my group (5k bucket list check – and an obstacle course at that!). My asthma still kills me – I briefly picked up smoking again while I was trying to kill myself with food & alcohol but I’m running about 8 miles or so a week and hope to get better on my time. I work in my workouts at least 3x a week and try to get a run in @ least 2 times a week. I’ve also been hitting up yoga about once a week and I can now touch my toes reliably without bending my knees… I know you’d be proud of my new found flexibility. Acupuncture has also helped me deal with the stress of school and I’m in a good place.

The point of this long ass email (sorry about that), is to emphasize your point…. Excuses are bullshit way out of doing what you KNOW needs to be done. Sometimes life hands you lemons. You have make sure you are strong enough to fucking CRUSH those lemons to make any lemonade. The only way to do this is with hard work and to point the finger at yourself. Nobody else can do it for you. If they could, life would be easy. I’ve been following your blog religiously and enjoy reading it. I think of you every time I walk out to the front yard and the neighbors look at me funny while I do high kicks, walking lunges, ball slams, and tire drags. I just smile at them. I know I’m getting in better shape while they continue to work on their ass imprint on the couch. I miss you, man and just wanted to let you know that you’re still helping me out, even from Maine.

I hope you’re well,


It’s Make It Happen Monday and Seth just schooled your ass.

Comment below with what you’ve picked up from Seth’s story and how you’re going to make something happen!

Comments on Make It Happen Monday – Client Makes It Happen Leave a Comment

April 10, 2012

Barb Prentiss @ 12:55 am #

Kudos for Seth….See what a difference you make. You know what you’re talking about and at some point we listen or internalize it and use it when we are ready to use it. Why some of us have to hit rock bottom and hell before we get it is a mystery but I guess it makes it all the sweeter. What I like about you is your honesty and point blankness ( or dickheadedness!!). Thanks for sharing this and keeping us all straight! Looking forward to more!

Isaac @ 7:54 pm #

Hey Barb,

Seth has done a great job! He has made the changes for himself and by himself. As much as he’d love to give me some credit, I doubt I did much other than point the way.

I don’t always have the right answers, but I’ve been that guy that has hit rock bottom and that gives me some insights.

I have embraced my “inner dickhead”, so to (unfortunately) speak, I admit. And if that means that I’m finally getting heard, so be it.


April 11, 2012

Anthony J. Yeung @ 12:46 am #

Fantastic stuff, Isaac. And thanks for sharing this letter with us. We really do need to crush those lemons — when things knock us down, we need to rise to the challenge. Trainers like you show us that. All the best to you and Seth, brotha!

Isaac @ 6:24 pm #

Thanks for jumping in, Anthony!

Seth’s done a great job in learning how to take life on. As you and he said, you’re going to get the lemons anyway, so you might as well accept it and move on!


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