Bread and Circuses

“Bread and Circuses” are what the Roman poet Juvenal used to describe the gladiatorial games of ancient Rome. In a political context, it was generating approval not by excellence in the performance of the leader’s civic accomplishments, but rather a mere diversion by satisfying our needs for a full belly and our desire to be entertained.

There is no doubt that this happens still to this day in our country, but perhaps whats worse is that we willfully do it to ourselves.

How many of you follow that sports team or that TV show (even worse so reality TV) and react in a visceral and emotional response to what you see on your screen?

How often has your day, week, and sometimes an entire season of your life been ruined by the lack of success of a team you don’t even play on?

But why? Why do we allow ourselves to get this emotionally involved in someone else’s story?

It’s quite simple, really; It keeps us from admitting that we aren’t living ours.

Like the Romans, you see, we enthusiastically devour all the bread and circuses thrown our way. We dive deep into binge-watching, often hours at a time, the latest Netflix drama. Every Sunday, we give up our entire Sunday to watch every single game that comes on only to turn around and complain we don’t have enough time to chase our dreams.

And in doing so, we find ourselves in a very odd paradox; we willingly chose to fail.

“There is no Ark, because no one built one, even though everyone felt the storm.”- Jordan B. Peterson

We know all the things we must do.
The hard things, but the right things.

We know we should take the time to show love to our spouse.
We know we should take the time to play with our kids.
We know that we should work out.
We know that we should eat healthily.
We know we should chase our dreams.

Ah, but Stranger Things debuts next week, and you can watch the entire season in one gluttonous setting. Or, from pre-game to post-game, we can plant ourselves on our couch every Sunday, lifting a finger only to move the beercan to our mouth and getting up when our bladder compels us too.

Instead of taking part in our lives-our victories and our defeats, we find the couch and cheer on others who do not cheer for us. And when the lights go down and the crowds go home, we are left alone to face this truth. No one is here for us because we couldn’t bother to show up for ourselves.

Connecting the dots.

“You cannot see how the dots connect looking forward. You can only see how they connect when you look back.” – Steve Jobs

When we started Platoon 22 our first event was going to be Rally in the Vally in 2015 in Cumberland. We had intentioned to hold a 2-day rally and had booked a sick lineup. We had never attempted to do something like this before, and as such, a lot of unexpected things came up along the way.

Our main act fell through three separate times, with three different bands. By the time the third act fell through, we had realized that we wouldn’t have enough time to promote it to make it a success. Still, to this day one, the hardest calls I ever made was to cancel that event after we’d told the world we were going to put it on.

But it was the right call.

We ended up holding two great Rally’s after that and looked to transition from simply an awareness effort to funding research into suicide. After further consideration of the associated price tag, the fact that similar research was being done, and that the application of said research would likely not be applied for years if ever, we realized that wasn’t the best path either.

The entire time we worked on these other endeavors the way forward slowly materialized on its own. Between me going and talking guns out vets hands at midnight, and Jennifer Farrar helping them navigate the VA by making proper connections, we realized what our mission would be — to bring all these services under one roof.

Everything I have ever been involved with has evolved from its first incarnation.

Soldierfit HQ started as a Bootcamp in a field; then it went to subleasing locations in gyms, then it went to large facilities, now moving forward it’s focused on smaller locations, concentrated only on Bootcamp, and working on launching an online training program in 2020.

Platoon began as awareness and has evolved to focus on transitional assistance and case management.
Both orgs have had setbacks and failures. I have had to eat crow on several occasions.

But that is the part of the journey. No one wants to hear a story about how it all went right off the bat. We want to listen to the story of trials and tribulations: heartache and tears. Then, finally, the glory of success.

If you are experiencing setbacks and failures, remember right now you’re writing the meat of your story.

When you are trying to do something amazing, don’t give in when it looks like all hope is lost. If you hold out just a little longer, I promise you the big win is right around the bend.


It’s a shame we’re fat.

I recently came across a tweet that had a picture that we often use here at Soldierfit for a visual of the fat that really matters – visceral. In the accompanying text, the doctor touches on the the absurdity of fat shaming while at the same time pointing out that as a physcian he cannot pretend the health risk associated with obesiety do not exist.

There is no doubt about it, being overweight or obese poses serious health risk to the individual. Still we have to ask, is it any of our bussiness to address it? The answer, especially if we end up going to a universal health care model, is pretty straight forward.


“One of the most cited economic impacts of the obesity epidemic is on direct medical spending. Obesity is linked with higher risk for several serious health conditions, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, asthma, and arthritis. Direct medical spending on diagnosis and treatment of these conditions, therefore, is likely to increase with rising obesity levels. Several studies offer retrospective or prospective estimates of the degree of disease incidence that can be linked to obesity, and of the magnitude of associated direct medical costs.”-

The reality (that everyone knows) is that we have an obesity epidimic in our country. The rates have doubled since 1970. Two-thirds of our country is now overweight. Even without universal health care it still affects all of us in some shape or form.

It can drive up insurance cost for companies.

It can add strain to team members who need to pick up slack due to lack of productivity based on team members who have to take increased time off due to illiness.

It can afffect family members who have to deal with the ramifications of the onset of obesity related health concerns.

illustration for overweight NCO’s cheating on Army promotion boards in the Gannett Government Media photo studio in Springfield, Virginia, on Wednesday, August 13, 2014. (Mike Morones/Staff)

Hell, it even affects our national defense. The United States military has cited it as a major national security issue because it reduces the capabilites of recruits and those who are already in armed services.

The truth is, being obese isn’t a solitary issue. It spreads to your circle. But let’s be super clear about one thing. That does not now, nor will it ever, condone fat shaming.

You simply can’t lift anyone up while putting them down.

However, that doesn’t mean that we can continue as a nation, as fitness profesionals, and as parents avoid the hard conversation with those we love and with ourselves.

Our choices are killing us.

Each and every day we make a choice with our mouth and our body. And sadly for the majority of Americans, we are choosing to move less and eat more. The worst part of this is that we continue to make this choice despite the overwhelming amount of research that we are killing ourselves.

My challenge to everyone who reads this is to have that hard conversation with yourself first. Then start making changes in your own life. Once you do, or if you are already there, start mentoring someone you love.

Prove to them that you care by investing in them. As someone who used to be almost 300 lbs, who has struggled with his weight his entire life, I know the trepidation many face walking into a gym. Just because someone is overweight doesn’t mean they are lazy. Hell, some of the hardest workers I have ever met are overweight.

Still, if we are to ever make a change as a nation and as individuals we need to be able to say the hard truth without worry of being accused of fat shaming.
So I say now to everyone, what I once said to myself:
It’s a shame that we are fat.

Not because it makes us worth less, matter of fact it’s because of the exact opposite.

Our lives are worth so much more.


Someday isn’t on the calender for a reason.


Q1 and you.

Where are you right now? No, I don’t mean physically. I mean where are you in regards to accomplishing your goals for this year?  You know the ones you made in that dead space where nothing productive really happens between Christmas and New Years.  Somewhere along there, either on a couch or in drunken ecstasy, you set resolutions to make 2018 your year!

So where are you? I ask because Valentine’s day served a dual role. Not only was it a day to either tell someone you loved em or to wallow in the fact that you are currently single, it also happened to be the midway point in Q1 of YOUR year. Do you have any clue how close you are to making that resolution come true? Or, are you still as lost as when you were drunk in IHOP on New Years Day?

Statistics state that 92% of you are still feeling lost. That’s right, just 8% of folks achieve their New Years resolutions. But why? Why do we continue to strive for greatness every December only to have forgotten about our goals by Valentine’s day? Why do we settle for the absoluteness of failure when we all know it should be finite?

I mean think about it, nothing is more American than the come from behind underdog story! We love to hear tales of the little guy or girl who was knocked down by defeat only to rise like a phoenix from the ashes to snatch final victory from the jaws of defeat! So why don’t we do it ourselves?

In a 90 minute movie, the hero doesn’t have time to forget their motivation. In life, not so much. Sure time waits for no man, but as the saying “Days are long, years are short” implies those long days cause us to lose sight of our goals in all the mess of everyday living.

How can you be focused on your goal of losing weight, starting the company, or loving your spouse when the car broke down, lil Timmy has the flu, and the boss is breathing down your neck for the TPU report?  Then one morning, in the middle of all of that living, you wake up and instead of losing weight you’re up 5lbs, your company seems as attainable as a unicorn, and you haven’t hugged your spouse in a month…

Then, as you feel your sanity slipping away, you accept defeat just 7 weeks into the year. Doomed to repeat the cycle again. It doesn’t have to be this way. This is your Q1 wake-up call!  So let’s get down to work, shall we?

Everyone has goals; it’s the plans they lack.

Everyone I have ever met has a goal. But the vast majority of them have zero plans in place to accomplish them. From weight-loss to small business startup, success relies on the following three things.

  1. Planning.
  2. Showing up.
  3. Consistency



As we were instructed in the Army “failure to plan is planning to fail.”  Even in an organization that has Murphy’s law etched into its soul ( No plan survives first contact) we planned, and planned, and planned some more.  Why? Because when you force yourself to plan out all the possibilities, good and bad, you won’t be quite as shocked when that first contact comes; and trust me, it’s coming.  With a plan, you are prepared for it, even the unexpected because you expected something to go wrong. The flip side is that when you don’t formulate a plan when you get punched in the face for the first time it does more than just bruise your ego. It knocks you flat on your ass.

Showing up:

If people were paid for talking we wouldn’t have a broke person on Earth. It is easy to talk about an idea. It is easy to say what “would, could, or should” work. The difficult part is stepping up to the plate and risking striking out in front of everyone you care about. But what you need to remember is that even if you strike out, you’ll get another at-bat and you are only one swing away from the game-winning home run.


Of the three I think this one proves to be the most difficult for people to do. Even though it’s a small number of people who will create a plan, those that do find it relatively easy to do at first. With a plan in place, we can typically even get them to show up. They are even motivated to be there! But what finally does them in is the failure to be consistent after that first punch in the jaw.  I call this the Mike Tyson effect.

Back in his prime his opponents would have a plan, they would show up, but Iron Mike was the punch in the face they just couldn’t handle. So much so, that he made the famous quote “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth!” That my friends could be the story of life.

Those hard times are coming. The times where you feel like the breath has been knocked out of you. When you are down on one knee and life is laughing at you. When you are overwhelmed by the enormity of everything you have to do, and everything you want to do. Those days when you lose a battle and go home with your tail tucked between your legs. It is in those moments that you are one night’s sleep away from the what will define you. The next day, bruised, battered, and doubting, will you show back up?  Or will you say it’s not in the cards right now and quit under the justification that “someday” you’ll do it?

If you chose the latter just remember Someday isn’t on the calendar for a reason.




Is it a New Year or Ground Hog day?

I recently enrolled Dave and me in a program that we absolutely love, The 90 day year. This program was created by the man pictured below, Todd Herman. Now I don’t make a dime for referring you to his plan, but you should definitely check it out. Especially if you are an entrepreneur!

Todd Herman

During our latest support session he talked about how every change we try to implement in our lives falls into 5 basic categories; START, STOP, DO MORE, DO LESS, or CONTINUE doing something.  Then he said something that even though it really was self-evident, seemed profound to me.  “When attempting to START or STOP something is when we need the most help and/or resources.”   Planes and rocketships, for example, burn fuel at a much higher rate taking off than they do once they reach cruising altitude.

So what does this have to do with you? Well, it is January, and WE ARE in the fitness industry.  So you know what that means.  The whole notion of a “New year, new you” is as cliche as they come, right? Yet every single year the majority of people end up right back where we were the year before; like our version of one of my favorite films- Groundhog Day.  Destined to repeat a life that we loathe day in and day out…..All of sudden the buzz of the alarm clock just got a lot more annoying right?


A cinematic masterpiece.

Now, wait, don’t grab your toaster and bring it to the bathroom just yet. All you need to remind yourself is that if one us has been able to break the cycle, then ALL of us can. All we need to do is 3 things: decide, plan, and execute.


No one can make you succeed. No one can do the work for you, though as I’ll touch on in the planning portion, people sure can be a huge help or hindrance; but more on that later. As for this block, this is where you have to figure out what you really want to do. What do you care the most about? Do you care more about your health OR do you care more about sitting on the couch? As the old saying goes; “You can have your dreams or your excuses, you just can’t have both.”  So make that decision to act!!! Then it’s time to…


The reason all New years goals go somewhere to die in mid-January or early February is no one took the time to plan for their second trip to the gym. It has been said that the “Devil is in the details”, I am here to tell you that sumbitch is in the planning or lack thereof.  As we stated above starting or stopping something is the hardest thing we do in our life. If we don’t provide it with the right resources to help with lift-off, then we are only going to crash and burn.  But what you should you plan for?  Well below are a few tips from a guy that has always struggled with his weight.

  • You ever heard the term “Pay yourself first”? The same thing applies to working out. Each week ( preferably on Sunday) Plan out your workouts for that week. Then build your schedule AROUND your workouts.  Stop making the excuse you are busy. World leaders and major CEO’s are busy too….they still make time to work out.  SCHEDULE IT!!
  • Find an “accountablibuddy.” Listen, in the military, we had “Battle Buddies,” and we couldn’t go anywhere without em.  They kept you safe, and many times they kept you sane. At the end of the day we are herd creatures, and we like to go with the crowd. So find yourself a group with the same goals as you. As much this next part may sound harsh, if you want to elevate yourself, you need to become friends with folks who are trying to do the same in their own lives. This applies to all spectrums.  Now I am not telling you to ditch all your current friends. I am merely speaking a truth that many shy away from. Either your friends are bettering you, or they are holding you down.  Do your best to motivate them, but if they refuse to budge then find someone who’s as ready to improve as you are. It will change your life I promise.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time. If eating is your enemy, then flank it! Don’t allow the evil terrorist known as Junk food sneak into your house. Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re starving. Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store. The inner aisle is a “fatal funnel” to both your arteries and your belt size.
  • Once you have gotten your chow hall stocked with healthy food make sure you make your M.R.E’s  to take with you throughout the day, so you don’t dip into Mcdonalds for a quick refuel. Your beach photo’s and your wallet will be glad you did come summer.


“The most talented place in the world is the graveyard.” That is where everyone carried their great ideas because so few of us chose to act on them. Don’t be one of those people!! Put your plan into action. Follow through. Stop telling yourself you have no discipline! The most important person you should ever lead is yourself. The words you say aloud and in your head is the reality you create. Stop leading yourself to failure. Speak into existence a future you wish to have, and I promise you’ll be amazed at the changes that take place.  Don’t take my word for it. Just look at some of the “Troops” pictured below.  It could be you next…


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