The Way of Kaizen

Kaizen

The Japanese culture is based on respect, honor, and innovation. They focus on being better and getting better all of the time. You may have seen the Japanese word “Kaizen” frequently used in the business world.

According to Wikipedia, Kaizen is:

“Japanese for ‘improvement’, or ‘change for the better’ refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, and business management.”

Notice the word ‘improvement’ … it describes my journey to become Strong By Choice.

The Beginning

Growing up in Ohio, I certainly wasn’t the biggest or strongest kid. My body type is an ectomorph. Small wrists. Broad shoulders. Lanky legs. I remember how I used to look at those who played sports at our high school particularly one named “Larry” who was built like WWE Ryback at the young age of 16!

I knew that I wanted to look the same so I begged the football coach to train me to look like Larry. He chuckled and brushed me off. His dismissal hurt and only fueled my fire more. So I did what any skinny boy in America would do, I asked my parents for a weight set! After enough pleading with my parents, they finally decided to give in and shell out money for me to buy a Sears weight-lifting set complete with grey plastic sand weights and black steel bar. I would now show the coach and Larry what’s up!

Wrong.

After a few months, the weights became home to spider webs and boredom. Larry went on to muscle bound glory I’m sure while I stayed trapped in my thin frame.

Fast forward to my time in the military in the 1990’s through 2000’s. If one is not able to get in shape in the military, then there is no hope for them! Totally by God’s grace, I passed boot camp and military school to be assigned at a horrible place of blue waters, good weather, and clean air: Hawaii.

Since I would go on deployments, we have nothing better to do than to get in shape. So we would work out in scouring hot weather using the facility’s rusted equipment while downing the latest supplements in hopes of creating the Atlas physique. In fact, I think I could have been a shareholder for GNC’s supplement store because of all the money I was spending on potions, powders and promises (e.g. Bill Phillips & Body For Life, EAS supplements, Cybergenics).

During my time with the military, I was able to make some gains by ballooning to 170 lbs of muscle  and fat by eating Burger King and McDonald’s to put on size. My dress uniform pants for the military would scream every time I plunged my girth into them. Eventually I got out of the military and went into the Reserves. My access to the gym now meant I had to buy my membership and so I did. My wife and I joined the local gym in the neighborhood where some of the customers would walk barefooted while lifting heavy weights (no joke). That’s not all. The facility didn’t have a sanitation bottle to spray the benches. After a few weeks, we decided to cancel our membership and my training fizzled to nothing. We moved to Ohio and later moved to Kentucky. After years of inactivity, there was a spark that started an inferno of activity. The spark was a co-worker of mine named Jeremy Corder.

The Spark

In 2011, Jeremy had various health problems including Fibromyalgia. I recall one time when Jeremy showed me how many bottles of mediation he had to take for his ailments. I remember clearly that he pulled out so many bottles of meds that he shook his head in disbelief.

Over the months following, I was able to work from home for the company that we worked for. Since I was in Kentucky, I could instant message those at work to keep in touch. One day I was chatting with Jeremy and he shared with me how he had changed his life. He stated that he was off his meds, found natural solutions and was getting in shape! He shared with me that he was even starting to get buff. I could hardly believe what I was reading. To be frank, I was jealous because he took control of his life while I was stuck in my own mediocrity.

So one day, I was looking in the mirror and I knew that I had to change. Then a spark of inspiration touched me. I could see…wait a minute…I could see small definitions in my abs. I had eaten traditional foods and organic foods for a while and there must have been some fat burning on some level. I was determined to find the workout program that would work for me. The spark had been lit. I knew I had to change.

The Inferno

With new determination, I went to the local library. There had to be some program I could do that was time friendly since my #1 excuse was the #1 excuse of everyone else – Lack of time.

Enter Sean Foy – the author of the book “The 10-Minute Total Body Breakthrough.”

In the book, Sean proposes an exercise program that can be done in 10 minutes yet offer the same benefits of a traditional 1-2 hour program.

Skeptical yet? Good.

Why?

Because I don’t want you to believe what I say yet to encourage you to check out the book yourself.

I can say that with this program, I had successfully worked out consistently. Every time I try to weasel out of doing the workouts, I reminded myself, “It’s only 10 minutes. Anyone can do ten minutes.”

I do the workout and boom. . .done.

Through eating real food and working out for 10 minutes (M,W,F), I began to slowly see changes in my body. Yes, the spark had ignited into a flame.

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have -  @strongbychoice

Find what works for you and stick to it ~ @strongbychoice

The Future

From that point I had moved from body-weight exercises to being able to afford a gym membership and getting in the best shape of my life in 2011-2012. I started the Twitter handle @StrongByChoice because being strong is always a choice.

In early 2013, I dead-lifted 205 lbs and 210 lbs at 165 lbs which you can view here: bit.ly/19wh055 it’s my personal best to date.

My twitter account remains active and my core supporters are a group of committed individuals called #TheStrongNation. For the time being I’ve cancelled my gym membership in order to save money and focus on new ventures. My training is at a stand still however I realize that fitness is a journey and the choice to be strong is indeed a daily choice. Eventually, I’ll get back on track. My training is all about Kaizen.

Besides, 10 minutes is a good place to start again, right?

Christian, husband, daddy and the assassin of average. Creator of ™  @StrongByChoice

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