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Sharpening the Saw: My Transformation Story

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Sharpening the Saw: My Transformation Story

STEVEN JONES - FARRELL'S $10,000 MALE WINNER - NATIONAL CHALLENGE 2022

Over the past six years, I invested all my time and energy into the “hustle culture” of entrepreneurship. No sick days, no vacation, no weekends, “no time.” Success came at the expense of constantly sacrificing other aspects of my life for my career. I was a textbook workaholic. I lived off of coffee and take-out. My daily exercise routine was the twenty steps from my bedroom to my home office. My body was weak, my mind mechanical, and my emotions apathetic.

On a flight home from a business trip in New York City, I was re-reading one of Steven Covey’s bestselling books “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” I’ve read it casually every year since I was young, but on this day, I kept coming back to an anecdote of a lumberjack who is “too busy” working to sharpen his saw. It hit me. I was the lumberjack he was writing about — “too busy” working to preserve and improve my greatest asset — myself.

Let me explain.

In the story, the lumberjack, exhausted from hours of sawing, is asked “Why not take a break and sharpen your saw?” Over the past few hours cutting down trees, the lumberjack’s saw had become dull. Engrossed in his work, he responds that he doesn’t have time to sharpen the saw because he’s too busy sawing.

Does that sound familiar?

The lumberjack failed to see that the single most powerful investment we can ever make in life is investing in ourselves. This past September marked nearly six years since my last physical, where I’d heard the doctor say I had prediabetes, hypertension, and chronic fatigue. My bad habits had reduced my life expectancy up to ten years, but at the time, I was either too apathetic to do anything or too dumb to care.

Fast forward to last year and I had gained another 50 pounds, felt more exhausted, worn out, and depressed than ever before, and was in poor condition physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I’d managed to preserve my ego by avoiding group pictures, buying oversized clothes, dodging inperson events with people I knew, and always being “too cold” to swim at the lake. I didn’t recognize the person I had become.

Like the lumberjack, I’d spent the past six years telling myself I was “too busy” to go to the gym, “too busy” to make a grocery list, and “too busy” to take a moment to re-evaluate my priorities. My saw was dull, and I wasn’t seeing the bigger picture.

Flying home from that New York City business trip, just the thought of getting back into shape gave me sweaty palms. I’d always visualized myself getting back in the saddle by doing what I’d done in the past — iron, metal, and an irrational aversion to cardio — but who was I kidding, this Paul Blart: Mall Cop looking physique was built at the buffet, not in a gym.

To my surprise, two hours after my flight landing, I found myself sitting on a chair in a small room next to my wife in a place called Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping, being asked, “Why do you want to try kickboxing? What are your fitness goals?” Sitting in that chair, I didn’t want to try kickboxing, I didn’t have a goal, and the “Why?” left me with more questions than answers.

At the studio, the staff all had a pep in their step like they knew something I didn’t, the strength bands on the wall were all bright colors I knew my wife enjoyed, and the electronic dance music playing on the speakers reminded me of my wife’s old college dorm room. I’d concluded that this was my wife’s attempt at a date night and thought to myself — I like this for her.

My beautiful, smart, charming wife had duped me into “coming with her for a ride.” I’d agreed, without a clue why I needed to bring a pair of shorts with me. As fate would have it, that decision was about to transform my life.

45 minutes later and drenched in sweat, I had survived my first kickboxing class led by the fittest retired football coach you’ll ever meet. But I realized I had misjudged my wife’s intentions — she didn’t want to spend the evening together, she wanted to kill me.

That night we had a conversation about our health. It wasn’t the first time we’d talked about wanting to change our lifestyle and habits, nor the first time we agreed to take action, but it was the first time we felt like we would be a part of something bigger than ourselves that would hold us accountable.

The journey isn’t always easy, but it’s worth every minute — especially with the right support system.

My first goal was to attend every class and coaching call over the next 10-weeks, that was it.

As simple as it sounds, I was ready to quit after class on my second day but not from being “too busy” like you might be thinking. I was physically exhausted, but I was mentally defeated. The last time I was in a gym I was squatting 400 lbs. for reps and now I lacked the strength or stamina to stay on my toes 60-seconds to do a boxer shuffle. I felt worthless, but that day I understood why so many people have success with Farrell’s–it’s the community.

Whether coaching me on proper form, pushing me to “keep chopping,” choosing protein-packed recipes, or just being a beaming ray of sunshine in class, I was encouraged, inspired, and held accountable.

From day one as a 10-Week Challenger to the end of my first year as a FIT member, the kickboxing, strength training, and nutrition programming has been brutally effective at shredding body fat, while simultaneously eliminating the time, energy, and stress of trying to do it alone.

The nutrition guidance improved my eating habits by keeping food simple. I started by making a conscious effort to drink water every day (you heard that right) — it was groundbreaking.

I now have more energy, mental clarity and more surprisingly, “time” than ever before.

I won’t miss the days struggling to do a boxer shuffle, bending over to tie my shoes, or wrestling with our puppy. I won’t miss living with constant back pain, always feeling tired, or even having to give up the title “World’s Most Sedentary Desk Jockey.”

Farrell’s has developed me into a more balanced version of myself, inspired me to become a better leader, and has given me the freedom to live my life without limits.

Shakespeare once wrote, “our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.” If you're struggling like I was and “too busy” to eat healthily and exercise, stop lying to yourself.

I hope my story encourages you to make positive changes to become the greatest version of yourself. At Farrell’s, you have the support, encouragement, and accountability to change your life. All you have to do is take the time to sharpen your saw.


 

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