Six Lessons I Learned in 2013

Posted: February 17, 2014 by dannytwoguns in Articles

2013 was an amazing year for me as a fitness professional and as a person. It is a year that saw my business grow a full 100%, saw me and my business transition and expand into my own independent facility, and also a year where I became a #1 best selling author with my #1 best selling book, “Get With the Program.” Two accomplishments Im very proud of.

Best Selling Author Certificate

It was also the year that I learned and fully embraced the fact that Im a lifelong student and will always be learning and officially started down the road to mastery in what I do and learning everything I could.

2013 was the year where I had two main goals and nothing more. First progress and grow my business and second, more importantly and also going hand in hand with the first, was that I was going to go to as many seminars, certifications and continuing education events I could, without interfering with the first goal and learn as much as physically and humanly possible. And it completely and entirely paid off and has been the best year ever. “Investing in yourself pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

People always like the “year in review posts” so here are some thoughts, lessons and what I learned in 2013.

Always Be Learning and Getting Better but Implementing Also

How could I give that intro and not have this be the first part? Haha. But seriously, whether it is your career, fitness goals, family etc you have to be getting better and that is through learning. In 2013 I attended a ridiculous amount of continuing education…

Primal Rehab – Regress to Progress with Dr. Perry/Stop Chasing Pain
Perform Better Phoenix Learn-By-Doing Seminar
Results Fitness Mastermind + Results Fitness University Winter Seminar
DVRT Level I and II Certification
IYCA (International Youth Conditioning Association) International Summit
Elite Training Workshop Boston
Providence Functional Training Summit
Results Fitness Mastermind + Results Fitness University Sales Seminar
Chicago Functional Training Summit
Results Fitness Private Coaching Day
Long Beach Functional Training Summit
FMS Level 2 Workshop
Results Fitness Mastermind
DVRT Master Trainer Course
EKG (Evolution Kettlebell Groundwork) 2-Day Intensive Workshop
Fitness Business Weekend
Kettlebell Athletics Level I Certification
Perform Better Boston Learn-By-Doing Seminar

Each one made me better and I learned different things. But I was only able to keep learning from them because I made it a point to take action on all of them. Maybe not as much as I would have preferred (and that will be a focus of 2014) but I made it a point to take action and I think that is important. Information and education without implementation while better than nothing is almost a waste of time. Creation beats consumption.

2013 was all about information and education. And now 2014 is going to be about information, education and even more implementation. I have a great foundation of knowledge to work from now and from here it is all about getting better through action.

“If you don’t have heavy days, you do not need light days”

That is a quote from kettlebell expert and SFG founder, Pavel Tsatsouline. When I would have read that line in the past I may have interpreted it the way you may be right now – that you earn “light” training days because of your “heavy” training days or that the focus should always be on “heavy” days. But this was not his intention in this line. What he meant is that if you’re training is moderate, effective and responsible ALL the time, there is no need for heavy/failure or light/easy days.

We have to be getting better/stronger/etc each training session to get results but we don’t have to be running ourselves into the ground either. In the days of crossfit and makeyoutired p90x nonsense with no rhyme or reason to its programming except to in fact train you to failure and make you tired, its no wonder it is a hard concept to grasp.

But what if we trained on a responsible program that attacks our weakness, asymmetries and instabilities, got us stronger at the foundational/fundamental movement patterns, hard enough and challenging enough to be better than the last time and get stronger but not drive ourselves into the ground and live to train another day? Ive found it to be the key to long term, sustainable results – both for myself and for clients.

Intensity matters but responsibility matters more.

Power of Community

I attended the DVRT Master Trainer Course in October and it was one of the best educational events I went to in 2013 for a few reasons. But the main one revolved around the power of community and community building events. At the course, the master trainers were experimenting with the Clean and Press Test to build a standard to be enforced to become DVRT Level I certified.

The combination of like-minded successful fitness entrepreneurs and professionals coming together to network and plan our visions with also coming together to perform the Clean and Press Test experiment was mindblowing.


Up to that day and since I haven’t experienced as much energy and passion as was there that day. It really brought home the point that with a strong community anything can happen and made it a priority for me to instill the same kind of camaraderie and team atmosphere at Twoguns Training Systems and how we can change the way fitness is done together.

Clean and Press Practice

This is a big reason why our main programs are semi-private personalized training (customized option) and large group personal training (essentials option) – because everyone succeeds better in a team.

A Tool Is Just a Tool?

A common saying in the fitness industry is “A tool is just a tool.” Meaning that we have the foundations and it doesn’t matter which tool we use to get there, they all work and aren’t different. It can be argued that they all work to a point but they certainly are different and there certainly are things you can do more effectively with a certain tool and things you can do with certain ones that cant be replicated with others.

Two examples are the Ultimate Sandbag Rotation Lunge and the Kettlebell Swing.

The Ultimate Sandbag Rotation Lunge takes our standard reverse lunge/split stance pattern than can be accomplished with bodyweight or any other tool to simply load it and gives it multiple variables that cannot be replicated elsewhere. The first is the rotational component that stresses the anti-rotation muscles of the core/obliques and lower body but then there is the variable completely specific to the Ultimate Sandbag and that is that the load is actually moving itself independent of you moving it and is constantly unstable and becomes even more so as you increase reps or increase the speed of the movement. That same effect cant be replicated with a dumbbell, medicine ball, kettlebell or any other tool/implement.

Abs Rot Lunge 2

The Kettlebell Swing utilizes that same dynamic principle except this time taking our standard hinge pattern and making it dynamic and powerful. The fact that the load of the kettlebell is outside of your grip gives you a leverage, weight and strength that again cannot be replicated efficiently with a dumbbell (though people have tried) or any other tool. The swing adds an element of power plus endurance really only rivaled by a dynamic Ultimate Sandbag Rotation Lunge and less joint friendly Sprinting. Non-impact plyometrics are powerful but a challenging concept, but the kettlebell swing solves that.

KB Swing Top

Not Only Eliminate Negativity But Find Positivity

Jim Rohn popularized the quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This quote was really exemplified this year from both perspectives – eliminating the negative people/influences and finding positive ones similar to you and your goals.

I’ve talked about the benefits I experienced once I left the facility I was formerly contracting a studio out of so I wont go into that in too much detail again but I want to mention that no matter how comfortable it may be and how much easier it may make things, it isn’t worth keeping negative people around who don’t coincide with your core values or are jealous of your success around. Cut the tie as soon as you realize before it is too late and causes more damage than it has to.

And this brings me to my main point – surround yourself with great people (both in professionally and personally), ones who are supportive and ones who are of a similar goal, success and mindset. The Results Fitness University mentorship and mastermind, the DVRT Master Trainer group and my new business partner Geoff Lewis and Lewis Fitness & Performance have been invaluable additions in the past year that I cant thank enough for being the support system they are.

Facing Fear

I was hesitant to include this one but it coincides well with the previous lesson and I think it is worth sharing. I always recommend clients get out of their comfort zone to achieve their goals. Starting a new workout program, changing your diet and changing your lifestyle habits aren’t easy and it is certainly easier to resort back to what you know and what is comfortable even though it is hurting you and this is the foundation of what we teach at Twoguns Training Systems. We are scared of the change and what could happen.

And I was guilty of it also. It was easy to stay with what was “comfortable” and what I know rather than go into the unknown. Fear holds you back and even though it may be hard to face it initially, I cant emphasize enough how much benefit and freedom can come from facing your fears and just making the jump, in whatever it is – fitness, lifestyle or in my case my business. So I owe another shout out to Geoff Lewis for reaching out and giving me the ability to thrive, get better and make the jump I should have long before.

Enough with the sappy stuff haha. Those were six lessons I learned from the amazing 2013, which included numerous client success stories and amazing progress. I hope you took some nuggets away from it that can help you with whatever you may need help with. Please let me know what you think over in the facebook comments and be sure to let me know if there is anything at all you think I can help you with. Here is to killing it in 2014.

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