THE HALLMARKS OF SUCCESS vary from profession to profession, and in the fitness industry, things like income and popularity only tell a very small part of the story.
In this strange little world, success is determined not just by how much money you make, but by how highly regarded you are as a coach, an expert, and a writer–by your peers.
Of course, that’s an intangible metric, so it’s hard to really gauge on the day-to-day.
And then there are days where something happens that makes you feel like you’ve been doing something right.
Something that lets you know other pros value your work, and consider you a peer, or perhaps a mentor. Something that gives you a moment of extreme satisfaction and pride.
Recently, I had such a moment, and was given a great honor from a great friend of mine; an honor that I feel sits higher than most others I’ve been given: a few weeks back, my friend JC Deen asked me if I would write the foreword to his book.
This is no small thing; the foreword sets the tone for the book, certainly. And, more importantly, you don’t really ask someone to write a foreword for you–which is an endorsement of sorts–unless you think that having their name on your book will increase its value. I know this, because I am currently in the process of weighing options for the foreword to my next book. That unspoken compliment meant more to me than I can say.
In any event, JC’s book was released today. It’s a fantastic read filled with excellent information, and I could not recommend a product–or its creator–more highly.
If you’re interested in losing fat and gaining muscle, you should pick it up. It’s called LGN365, or Look Great Naked365, because that’s what it’ll do – help you look awesome with no dang clothes on, son.
I said yes to JC, and wrote the foreword for the book, which I have posted below. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
New York City is a special kind of a place. This city shines like a beacon, emitting a strange sort of magnetic force that pulls everything into it. And everyone. Most New Yorkers—either natives or a passionate transplant—will tell you that it’s the special place: the heart of the world, the center of the universe.
I wouldn’t go that far, but I do acknowledge that NYC is different from other places; it’s my fervent belief that everyone winds up in this city eventually, at least for a visit.
You see, unlike most cities, NYC has the interesting distinction of being both a crossroads and a destination. This is a place that people pass through to get to far off destinations, and one where people come just to experience the lights, and the sounds. Experience the heat, and the throngs of people. Experience the experience.
All of which makes New York City a very, very interesting place to live; the last point most of all.
Living in a city to which everyone will one day travel allows for a number of unique experiences; especially if you’re someone who likes meeting people (I do) and even more so if you happen to be well-known in your industry (I am).
Being one of the more prominent fitness professionals living and working in NYC grants me a very particular honor: at least once a week, I get an email from someone else in the industry letting me know that they’ll be in town and asking if I would be available to meet up for coffee. Very rarely do I say no to such requests, and at this point, it seems that meeting up for coffee is at least half of my job, with answering emailed requests for coffee being the other half.
This is the best part of what I do.
Meetings of those kinds are common, and most go the same way: we sit, we chat, we get to know each other. All of them end with me dolling out business advice and picking up the tab. What happens after is another story altogether, because the results are as varied as my drinking partner.
A good many of the people I meet with—most, in fact—do very little with the information I give them. Some of them are still exactly where they were a year ago or more.
And then there are those who aren’t. Those who go the other way completely. Those who take what I say and run with it so far and so fast that I have a hard time keeping up with them.
JC Deen is one of those people.
On a random Autumn day in November of 2011, I got a direct message on Twitter from JC, letting me know he’d be in New York visiting some friends, and asking if I wanted to meet up. You know; for coffee, of course.
I quickly acquiesced, and set a place and time for the following week—and in the interim, I would do some homework.
Once we’d set a meeting, I decided to read a good bit of his stuff and see what this guy was all about; this turned out to be somewhat more daunting than I’d originally thought, considering the guy has archives going back to October of 2008. With just over three years of blogs to read, I dove headlong into his work, intending to read a bit.
But I read all of it. Every single post. And my eyes were opened.
Up until that point, I had known JC only peripherally. We’d interacted a very little bit online, and I’d read some of his work, but we hadn’t had any real development. I had known of JC the trainer, and JC the twitter funny guy.
Reading his work, I got to know JC the writer, whose skill increased as he grew. I got to meet JC the thinker, who looked critically at old paradigms. Looking into his stuff on carb cycling, I got to see JC the strategist. Reading his posts railing against supplement companies, I got to know JC the concerned expert, looking out for his readers.
I got to know a lot about our friend Mr. Deen from reading his blogs, but that hardly prepared me for our meeting.
That meeting took place at my neighborhood spot: Southern Hospitality. Located on the corner of 45th street and 9th avenue, SH is a BBQ joint and hotspot that is co-owned by Justin Timberlake, who, like JC, is a Tennessee boy. It seemed fitting.
We were scheduled to meet for about 45 minutes and have a drink. Didn’t quite work out that way.
Four hours later, we’d had a few drinks and eaten our way through two racks of ribs, some chicken and waffles, and a plate of brisket. The first thing I learned about JC in person? The boy could eat.
I also learned a lot of other things about him. When JC and I first sat down together, I got to know him as a friend. I got to know Jim and Jimbo, and even came to grips with the fact that his name is, I shit you not, James Deen.
I learned about his passion for life, and his desire to help people. I learned about his interest in marketing, which I thought was an odd contrast to his distaste for hype. I learned that we had a lot in common.
Our conversation, though it ranged over women and education and life and politics, inevitably led to the things we had gathered to talk about: fitness.
On that day, we sat in a BBQ joint on 45th street, where I would learn that JC was hoping to discuss—for one of the first times—the ideas and the concepts that would eventually become the very book you are about to read.
For the better part of the last hour, JC laid out his philosophies on training, and strength in general; his ideas about fitness, and his understanding of nutrition. Though his ideas were not always in line with my own, I was always convinced by his passion and conviction.
On that day in November, JC did what most people in his position tend to do: he talked and he listened; he smiled and he nodded; he took notes and made intelligent comments.
But it’s what he did after that sets him apart: he took action. And that’s what you must do.
JC took my advice and began a journey towards his goal: writing this book, and putting it in your hands. He took a series of steps that led to this point, steps that led to this book. JC finally decided to put his ideas down on paper, and understood that it was time to distribute them to the world.
You must now follow his advice, and begin a journey towards your goal. You must heed his words, and take the steps along the path to a leaner, stronger, fitter body. A better life. And, very possibly, a better understanding of yourself.
Because, as JC and I discussed over ribs, that’s what training is really about; that’s what recomposition is really about. All of these things that we do, all of the squats and the deadlifts, all of the time under the bar are steps on the path to a better body; but they are also steps to a better you. Training, we agreed, is as much about changing your mind as it is your body; recomposition doesn’t just mean losing fat and gaining muscle–it means dropping pretense and embracing the desire to get better, to be better. And eventually, to help others be better.
JC and I focused one simple truth—no matter what your goal, whether it’s fat loss or muscle gain or strength, everything you do in the gym is about one thing: control. The control to shape your body, to bend it and mold it to your will. Training doesn’t just give you control; it teaches you that no matter what is going on, you can have control of something. And in doing so, teaches you new ways to seek it.
That’s what it did for me. That’s what it did for JC. When everything else was a swirling mess of confusion, the control that training gave us helped make sense of things.
We—all of us—are forged in the crucible of our experiences, and the moment you step into the gym, the very moment you willing subject yourself to rigor of transformation, you’ve taken the first step. The pain and discomfort, the sacrifice and the agony: these are hammer blows that will shape you into something greater than you currently are, that will temper your flesh and harden your spirit. This is why we train—because training makes us better, gives us the control.
The first step is to realize how to create control, and you take control the moment you decide to change. And you take control the moment you read a book like this.
JC knows this.
And that’s why his book is important. It’s important because it’s highly effective, certainly. It’s important because it’s JC’s brainchild, for sure. It’s even important because it came to be partially because of a meeting at Justin Timberlake’s restaurant.
But mostly, it’s important because it can help you. This program can help you. JC can help you.
And that’s why you should read this book, and that’s why you should do this program.
Not because of the advanced training concepts. Not because of the promise of looking better naked year round. Not because of the nutrition protocols. Don’t read this book because of those things.
Read this book because only someone who understands the need for action can inspire action. Do this program because it was written by guy who takes who takes control, and who wants to help you do the same.
Read this book because JC is special. Read it because he’s the guy who cares enough about you, and about what you need, to actually write the fucking thing, whereas most people who bug me for a coffee date don’t do anything.
Read this book because JC has passion, and that passion drips off every word on every page. It’s apparent in the programming, it’s apparent in the word choice, and it’s apparent in the results of the people who have done it before.
LGN365 is, of course, a fantastic program. And it’s a great book. But more than anything else, it’s a necessary step on your journey. For some reading this, it’s the first step. For others, simply one in a very long series of steps. For a few, it may be a step that leads you to email JC and ask to meet up for coffee and pick his brain.
LGN365 is, ostensibly, about recomposition: eliminating the unessential, and building on the positive things that are already present. I think that’s a fitting metaphor for training, and for this book. Because for all of you, this is a step along the way to a better life, and a better you.
You’ve picked the right guide in my friend JC Deen, and the right path in LGN365.
Taking the steps—well, that’s up to you.
New York City,
Center of the Universe,
Well, there ya go: 1700 word of bromantic praise for JC Deen, a great coach who, in the time since that chilly November day, has become a great friend, as well.
If you’d like to pick up the book, it’s on sale for just $65 during the launch.
I’m not going to hard sell you, but, please know that this book is the shit. Like seriously. So, if you want to either lose fat and gain muscle, or just add what I consider to be an essential manual to your library, clicky clicky and make it happen.