Saturday, August 13, 2005

Get A Grip - By Letting Go

What happens when a group of people who were inspired enough to do what it takes to transform their bodies and lives get together for a weekend? More inspiration.

Tony Horton, the trainer of Power 90 and P90X, held his annual Santa Monica fitness camp this weekend. This is where he and thirty people get together to share their experiences with his programs, actual customers get to train in person with "the man" and celebrate living a more active, healthy-minded life. It's a cool thing to witness when he fills a room with people who are proud of themselves and proud of each other.

These types of events happen all over the country - there have been Beachbody get togethers in Chicago, New York, Portland, and others. The Hawaii trip we hold each fall is invitation only and is probably a favorite, our Super Bowl of get-togethers.

Anyway, this Saturday's group had planned a morning at a rock climbing gym called Rockreation. Since I did not have specific plans to meet up with them, I decided to bring Ava (my 5 year old daughter) to "hang with the kids" from the walls at Rockreation.

It was amazing to see those familiar faces and extra special to meet the new success stories that the last wave of leaders held accountable to succeed through their support within the MyBeachbody system. And while I appreciate every "thank you" I get from people who appreciate what we put into these programs and the overall mentality that is "Beachbody", it is they who continue to impress me with what's possible. Every one of these folks had seized onto the simplicity of Tony's programs, and literally found what it takes to turn their lives around. Now I was watching them scale walls, dangle upside down from ropes, and embrace life with an enthusiasm most of us left behind in grade school.

Predictably, Ava was my special highlight. She stepped right up to the excitement, asking to climb once she saw Tony go inverted. So we suited her up, and I belayed her up the wall. Then this crew showed me what "extended family" means, as they turned to applaud my daughter as she explored this new adventure as if they were blood relatives. After she came off her first ascent she had to find Tony; "I did it I did it I did it!" And moments later she was back on the wall, hunting for a grip, finding a toe hold. She was total focus, her little tongue twisting through her lips as she stretched for each step higher.

At one point as Ava came off the wall, I looked over to see Ronda Hendrix, a person I met in Hawaii last year, now climbing twenty five feet in the air, hanging from her fingertips to get another foot or two up the wall. The group had turned to cheer her on. My story with Ronda is beyond this blog, but I have a great deal of pride and affection for her and her family. And to see this woman, who two years ago was carrying 60 extra pounds, straining to reach the top of an otherwise-pointless climb up a wall leading nowhere, actually choked me up. You couldn't tell that from her determination that she had ever been anything but fit and courageous, which goes for every other person in that room that faced their own demons and fears to give it a shot. I wish every one of our Beachbody customers, or all those gym members out there, and of course frustrated fad dieters could have seen the enthusiasm being shared by these people. I wish everyone could see what is on the other side of ignoring the excuses or your history of failure, and truly achieving transformation.

When/if you happen to be in the midst of your own fitness or weight loss program and you are struggling with motivation, these are such great examples of real motivation you can turn to. This is the foundation from which you can "keep pushing play" when the pull of a great AFTER photo is not doing it for you. That's because these are examples of how amazing it can be to bring joy into your life if you let go of the baggage that is trapping you in your own patterns of abuse and thus limiting your enthusiasm for what lies ahead. When you just let them go, when you stop judging the present by looking back, you can experience what is being presented to you right now. When you are stuck, check yourself for the guilt, fear or blame that is crowding your ability to live a moment the way your REALLY want to live it. You simply can't carry a grudge on your back and experience the joy of climbing a wall of rocks. The only way to get a grip, is to let go.

And even when you accomplish the kind of transformation we've seen in so many before and after photos, it's possible for the grievances to creep back in. This is a never ending process of cleaning house. Patterns will find their way back, which is how you can find yourself staring in the mirror at a brand new "before photo". But the best part about square one is, you know you are never without hope. You know what it takes to turn things around. And if you really do let go of blame, guilt, and shame, you will find it a smooth transition back into the healthy lifestyle, and more important, back into a mindset that will support a happier existence.

The good stuff is all there for your own inspiration, whether it's Ava's courage to take on the wall at five years old, or Tony M's ability to climb back into the program that helped him once (and find that the first trip wasn't a fluke), or Gregg and LeAnn Steele's bottomless pit of gratitude and zest for life, or Ronda's ability to face trauma and not abandon her life or the potential of the rest of her family -- or so many other inspirational stories available from every member of the Beachbody family.

Set backs happen. Accidents happen. Trauma happens. And that's when guilt, blame and thus fear, can happen. I am convinced that my own job in all of it is to manage how I react. My job is to let go of the past and pay attention to now. Let life happen. Everything else works when I succeed at letting go. That is what I learned while watching my daughter, a trainer, and thirty almost-strangers as they celebrated their success together on one Saturday morning in Santa Monica.


Anonymous said...


Wow! Your blogs are so great to read, because I can tell that you're speaking from your heart. Thanks for that. It makes it real for me...

We DO so often beat ourselves up for past mistakes, rather than forgiving ourselves and moving on. We like to dredge up those mucky times of life, in order to give ourselves excuses for how we live, act, eat, etc. BeachBody and what it stands for is nothing short of EMPOWERMENT. And I don't mean Oprah/Dr. Phil psycho-babble empowerment. It's the kind of empowerment that says, "This is for ME! No one else, just me. I CAN do it, even if it takes a year or more." Failures of the past have only made me stronger and more able to persevere, because let's face it, it can always get worse (and it usually is for someone else, meaning that we're not as bad off as we thought!).

Our time on this earth is relatively short in the grand scheme of things. Bringing up the past does nothing more than waste that precious time. Forgive that someone today, make the decision to get healthy today! As Jesus said, "Tomorrow has enough trouble of it's own!" Just get through today!! Having that kind of mentality gives me the motivation to keep it up: with my workouts (day 66 by the way) and my eating and my interactions with my family and others that I meet.

So, thanks for that reminder, Carl! I really appreciate you. ~Psalm9567/Sarah

Carl Daikeler said...

Day 66! You're at a cool point in the process, because if you really step on it and make these last 30 days count, you'll be blown away by what you achieve.

And what you said is so true - doing it for you is a critical component. Once you get your own act together (i.e., letting go of the past) you're that much more valuable and inspiring to people around you. I use the analogy of the oxygen mask on a plane -- "put the mask on yourself before you help the kid beside you." (I've never found a way to write it efficiently, but I imagine you could get my drift.) By getting your act together you then can pull people around you up.

Good luck with the last 24 days of your program -- bring it!

StevenB said...


It was a pleasure meeting you and your adorable daughter Ava this weekend. The rock climbing was challenging and fun, just like the Beachbody programs. I didn't get a chance to thank you for helping me improve my life so let me take this chance to do so. Thank you, man. I really appreciate all that has occured in my life the past 9 months and Beachbody is certainly a major part of that.

I hope to see you in Hawaii.

Best regards,
Steven Bush

TuxBaby said...

Hi Carl!

I just discovered your blog sometime last week, and I've been enjoying it. I'm a P90 grad, who is now loving the mix of P90 and PHH in Round 2. And like the other commenter said... EMPOWERMENT is the biggest thing any of us can take away from any BB program. It's amazing the mindset that comes from committing our time, energy and focus on the plan for 90 days. Sure, things happen, and we can have setbacks. But that empowerment never goes away. We discover that we have it withing OURSELVES to overcome day-to-day challenges if we just focus on it.

Add me to the bank of Thank you's you've received. It's changed my life, my lifestyle, and I'm not even DONE yet. :-)


absmom said...

Carl- as I read through these past replies I see you've touched others too. You are a very talented writer and wordsmith, most importantly it is sincere.
That's all I wanted to say...shall I assume you know I wholeheartedly agree with what you crafted??

Maybe that's NOT all I'll say...
We had the fortunate experience of "hosting" the NY Fitness camp last month- I undoubtedly left the mountains a better person- for having met and spent time with the "campers", for having spent (yet another) long weekend with TH (does that sound right?) and for facing some of my own fears head-on.
And BB and the camps have afforded me the luxury of realizing we ARE something of an extended family- I can proudly count on these people to be there (wherever THERE may be at the time) for me. And vice versa. It's far more than exercise and working out. It's far more than cutting out the creamy salad dressings. The more "involved' you become with the community the more likely you are to realize and understand the PHILOSOPHY. All for one and one for all. Beacause in the long run, blue cheese dressing isn't going to be the final straw.

Carl Daikeler said...

Thanks Dawn. I agree with your theory of what sets this community apart. I think it's a combination of the fact that this incredible critical mass of people all share a frustration with where they are, and a desire to change... and they all have chosen the same basic means to achieve the end. Likewise, I do think some of the key decisions we've made helped steer this in a direction that has kept it focused. From time to time you can see things start to veer off course, but then the community steers it back into the direction of mutual support without judgment. Thanks to you and Tony for being such strong voices in maintaining that supportive tone.

Anonymous said...

Hey again, Carl!

Didn't know where to address this question, so I am asking you. I'd like to submit for Hawaii, but the deadline is my day 82. Do I have to be finished with P90 in order to submit?

I emailed this question to Mike K. but then read on another thread that he is no longer with BB. So, if you could kindly answer my question or pass it on to someone who can, I'd appreciate it!! Thanks!


Carl Daikeler said...

You can submit at any time as long as it's by the deadline. Just click on "Success Stories" at or go to this link directly:

Mary Cecy said...

Hi me again: Mary Cecy... One thing.. you people got to stop making me cry!! OMG I saw the pics and just wanted to be in Santa Monica so badly and give you and Ava a big hug. (ok sending you both a cyber one XO). You and everyone I can possible relate to nowadays are from your Company or from the site you and Jon have put so much effort to. Things happen in life that we just don't see how others do. We give up for whatever reason, good or bad. Yet here we are together making this work.

I know it is ironic, but a yr ago about this time I was getting ready to meet you and a whole bunch of Beachbody people. Thanks to your invitation to the picnic, you remember the picnic?, I got to meet you, Jon, trainers and a great group of people. We do treat each other like family, without a doubt. We cheer, cry, pray and want to see everyone success. We see some come and some go. It is life. Now it is up to us to make sure that we keep this going STRONG!!

Thanks for everything.

XO Mary

AlfaSunshine said...

Hey Carl: Mary told me I ought to take a look at your blog. I'm glad I did. Thanks for using my pics!! Could have hooked up my thread as the link, but no worries.

Sorry I didn't talk to you on Saturday. I was planning on complaining about some of your business practices and it probably wouldn't have been nice. I love the beachbody community that you have created, and I wish you much success in the future.

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Mary C said...

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AlfaSunshine said...

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Carl Daikeler said...

Timber? Sounds like it's gonna be huge!

(Looks like we've got that kind of noise to look forward to in our blogs now.)

Alpha - yeah, sorry we didn't get to chat. I am always open to hear complaints (aka "feedback and input") on how we can improve things. Feel free to email me anytime.

And thanks for all your involvement with the community!

koko said...

Hi Carl

I'm glad to have a chance to write to you here, and thank you for the support and enthusiasm you created and continue to bring to your company and to the community you helped to build. It was a pleasure to have met you in Santa Monica, to shake your hand and to watch you and Ava climb those crazy walls. All three were a highlight for me.

You have a great facility with business and people, but you certainly shine as one heck of a writer, and a man with heartfelt insight into the struggles that we all go through to get to that wall, time and time again.

Much appreciated, and again - a pleasure to have met you.


Carl Daikeler said...

Thanks so much Koko, that means a lot. I never imagined running a company like this, in this way, would be so personally rewarding. This, is a rich experience. It's creating itself really, all routed into the core purpose and values we developed in the early years.

I appreciate that people appreciate it, see that what is happening here is uncommon, and I hope it grows organically and exponentially from that stem.


mermandrea said...

Hey Carl...

Unfortunately I was not able to meet you on Sat at Rockreation.... dog sitter problems... I was VERY disappointed that I was not able to rise to the challenge of climbing with this group. I live here in LA and can go to Rockreation whenever I want.. but without this crew, I know it won't be the same. NEXT YEAR!

BB has changed my life in sooo many ways. In May, I heeded the call from Mike Karpenko for BBer's to meet Chalene Johnson for the TurboJam infomercial.

I took the day off..."sick" day from my job as an elementary Special Ed. teacher (Tony visited my class in June... that's another story!!!) and ventured into the unknown...

I've never been one to go it alone into unfamiliar territory... but I stuck my neck out... and met a lot of great people and did an amazing workout. Turbo arrived at my home 2 days ago...

Last week again I ventured into the unknown... I spent the weekend with some of the most amazing people. I had not previousely met anyone except Tony (and I'm sure he hadn't remembered me from school as he focused on my students that day) and the moment I walked into the entryway of the Ritz and met Dale, Gaylene and Scott, I knew that I had done the right thing.

It was a weekend of forging new friendships, conquering old demons and re-commiting to a promise I had made to myself to live a healthier (both in body and spirit) and happier life. I'm ready to continue this journey of taking care of ME.



Carl Daikeler said...

I am so impressed with what you did with your class -- a truly special application of our fitness videos Andrea!

I was thinking about looking into how we could participate in a massive fitness movement within the LA Unified, but I'm not sure how to go about it. Maybe once the school year starts I'll make some calls.

Congratulations on your commitment and persistence. It's not an easy change to make, but it seems you have a great attitude that will carry you through!