From Chaos to Order: Why Hire a Professional Fitness Coach

Every year in January, and then again just before the Summer season arrives, I see them. They walk thru the front door of the gym, make their way 25 feet down the hallway to the opening that leads to the main floor of the gym…and they stop.

And stare.

Eyes wide and glazed over, mouth slightly agape, hands hanging by their sides like two flags with no breeze to blow them about.

Their eyes slowly cover the expanse of the floor as their pulse quickens and a sweat begins to break in all of their formerly non-sweaty places.

It’s as if you can hear their heart pounding and their mind racing with thoughts of, “Holy crap, what am I doing here?” or “I don’t know what any of this stuff is used for…how am I ever going to make this work?”

Has this ever happened to you?

You got a gym membership, fully expecting to be a lean, mean and sexy machine in 6 months’ time. But instead, all you got was 6 months of wasted gym fees, distinct feelings of inadequacy and a whole bucket full of frustration.

The guy at the front desk told you he’d set you up with a “trainer” who would take you through a “free” session and show you how to use everything, and so you reluctantly set an appointment with a guy named Bobby Waytooenthusiastic…

And guess what? Bobby was late for your appointment, and then half-heartedly showed you around and then tried his best to get you to agree to pay him enough money to fund a small country then train with him until you’re 92.

Or maybe he didn’t show at all.

Or he spent most of the time on his phone or talking to other people in the gym.

So you put on your big girl panties and embarked on a journey through the gym, all the while trying not to seem like you haven’t the first clue as to what to do (and you didn’t) or trying not to get into other people’s way (but it seems like you did) or to at least not hurt yourself.

As you exited the gym, you thought to yourself, “I wonder if I can get my money back?”

From Chaos to Order

Listen, it doesn’t have to be this way. A true professional can distill down all of the pieces of equipment in the gym to just the pieces that will benefit you.

Have you ever watched a symphony orchestra prepare for a show? A 300-person orchestra comes to the stage, take their seats and pick up their instruments and begin to warm up with the most raucous cacophony of sounds imaginable.

And then the conductor takes his place behind the podium and with a gesture from his hands, there is silence…and then beauty.

A true professional coach is in many ways like a conductor.

The gym where I do my coaching has over 300 different pieces of various types of equipment. Take a guess as to how many I employ with my clients over the course of a month.

Maybe 10.


A barbell, a squat rack, some various sized weight plates, some dumbbells, a bench, some kettlebells, a medicine ball, a weight loaded pulley system and an ab roller.

That’s about it.

It’s simple, or at least it should be. And for the true fitness coach, it is.

Because simple works, and gets results.

Complexity ruins compliance and execution.

Make something more complex, and it takes longer to learn. The longer it takes to learn, the greater the likelihood of frustration and the less likely someone will feel confident performing it.

True professional coaches keep things simple.

It ain’t sexy, but it danged sure works.

So how do you know if you’re hiring a true professional coach?

Ask other people in the gym about the person you’re considering hiring.

Ask for references from the coach himself.

Find out if the person you’re considering hiring has 20 years of experience, or 1 year of experience repeated 20 times.

Ask about his or her retention rates with clients.

TIP: If a coach can’t keep people as clients for very long, that should tell you volumes about their real effectiveness as a coach. I have many clients I’ve worked with for 10 years up to 23 years. My friend Greg Justice in Kansas City has a whole slew of folk’s he’s coached for more than 20 years.

I once had a potential client walk into the gym, look around and exclaim, “This place looks like a torture chamber!”

I smiled and said, “That’s why you need to hire me. I can turn it into a pleasure palace.”

That was 12 years ago and she’s still a client today.

A true professional coach can bring order to seeming chaos, like a conductor leading an orchestra. We can make a symphony where others can only make noise.

Find a true professional, and hire one.

And make your own symphony of success.


So…You Want To Drop Some Body Fat…Now What?

“Uncle Steve, I am so sick and tired of carrying around this spare tire. I need to lose at least 25 pounds. What do I have to do to make it happen?”

I swear, if I had a dime for every time I heard something like this…

Look, we all inherently know what it is we have to DO to achieve the success we so desperately say we want with respect to the battle of the bulge. I mean, everyone KNOWS that you have to eat less junk, sugar and processed starchy carbs. Everyone KNOWS  that you have to get some exercise and get off of your butt and move.

So why is it that so few people seem to be able to do it, and more importantly, keep it off?

I’m going to outline three things that I think are holding people back from successfully dropping their level of body fat, keeping it off long term, much less for life.

You may like what I have to offer, or you may think I’m a total whack job. Either way is fine with me, as long as you read the whole article first before forming an opinion. And if you do have an opinion, please do let me hear it.

1) Failing to recognize that actions do indeed have consequences and that everyone gets results. Everything counts, and we all get results. I remember a story by Brian Tracy about a friend of his who swore that he wanted to drop his level of body fat. Mr. Tracy saw this friend at a restaurant wolf down a large meal, then order a piece of pie. Knowing his friend’s intentions, he approached the table where his friend sat as the pie was arriving. Mr. Tracy then asked his friend about the pie, and how it was subverting his friend’s attempts at fat loss, to which his friend replied, “This doesn’t count.”

Uh…excuse me…yes it does.

Everything counts. It all adds up.

And denying it doesn’t make it any less meaningful. One can only duck their head in the sand so long before the world and reality comes calling. And then the results of your efforts, or lack thereof, become evident.

Everyone gets results.

A bank robber gets results.

A rapist gets results.

A doctor gets results.

A teacher gets results.

The difference is measured in terms of what ultimate result is produced. Is it a measurable, positive result? Or is the result something measurable in its negative effect, either on the person or society?

What results do you want?

Are you taking action and doing things in a manner that is congruent to that desire and will produce the result you seek?

2) We get what we think about most.

Be honest here with me: if you have a sincere desire to drop some body fat, to get lean, firm and more fit, what thoughts permeate your mind frequently throughout the day?

Are they positive and affirming thoughts? Or are they negative and detrimental to your progress?

Do you even know the difference?

Think about what you tell yourself when you think about your goal, and which of these voices you hear in your head:

  1. “I need to lose XX lbs. because I don’t want to be fat anymore.” (or something akin to this)
  2. “I want to be a size XX by (this date) because I want to be healthy and fit.” (or something akin to this)

Why is this mindset difference important?

The mind thinks in pictures, and the powerful subconscious mind seeks to obtain what the conscious mind asks for. It’s a subtle exchange of words, but it can make a HUGE difference in getting what you want, or more of what you don’t want.

Here’s a simplistic look at how it works: Don’t think of a chocolate chip cookie.

What just flashed into your mind’s eye?

You can’t help it. The mind thinks in pictures. When you say, “I don’t want to be fat!”, the mind hears, “want to be fat!” and therefore seeks to obtain that which it was ordered to seek.

When you change your language to consciously saying and thinking what it is you DO want, you order your powerful subconscious mind to obtain that.

Make sense?

Work on it.

Ask for what you do want from now on. The Bible puts it this way: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

“Ask and you shall receive.”

Ask for and think about what you want, because it works.

3) Failing to realize that your past does not define your future.

Up until today, you may have been fat all of your life, or just the last few weeks, months or years. You may have:

  • Made bad choices when you know you had other options.
  • Spoke ill or horribly about yourself often or in certain situations.
  • Felt powerless to stop yourself when confronted with “goodies”.
  • Wondered why everyone else seemed to have will power but you.
  • Just frustrated with yourself.

You are not your past.

The past is the past, and it can’t be changed. But here in the present and now…well that’s another story.

You now have the awareness to visualize what it is you DO want, to take action on it, and to speak and move in a manner that will get you there.

You now have the awareness to accept the responsibility for your actions, to understand that you are accountable for them, and even when you blow it (and you WILL) that you can get back on track in an instant, because you’re moving forward, not backward, and the past does not define or equal the future.

You, and your actions, do.

If I can be of service to you, please let me know.


God bless you,




10 Things You Should Keep in Mind When Working Out

Most everyone who joins a gym or fitness facility has an idea about what it is they want to either get from their training efforts or see improved. It could be strength gains, fat loss, performance enhancement or something less tangible like just feeling better.

No matter what your thoughts are on the subject, here are 10 things you should keep in mind as you attack your training and strive for what it is you want.

  1. Keep things simple. Recently I heard Tony Robbins, the famed self-help and motivational speaker, state this about complexity. “Most people, in order to feel significant, make things really complex so they feel like they’re really unique and special, but…complexity is the enemy of execution.The more complex you make it, the more likely you are NOT going to follow through.” COMPLEXITY IS THE ENEMY OF EXECUTION! Keep things simple, and by doing so they become consistently doable.
  2. Long term consistency beats short term intensity every day of the week and twice on Sunday. As my friend and colleague Brian Grasso says, “Consistency + simplicity = success.”
  3. If fat loss is your goal, your main limiting factor is nutrition. It’s pretty simple: Want to get lean? Stop eating junk, sugar, processed starchy carbs, etc.
  4. Stress, pain and lack of sleep produce cortisol, and cortisol kills positive, measurable progress. An excess of cortisol stops fat loss potential, slows metabolism and impedes healing. Fix the problem, make progress.
  5. Recovery is more important than your workout. You do not get better, stronger, leaner, whatever by how hard you work out. You get those things by how well you RECOVER from your workouts. Quality sleep, supportive nutrition, foam rolling and flexibility are great ways to help you recover. Rest more. Get better.
  6. Train as hard as you should, not as hard as you can. Most days just showing up and getting the job done is fine. Once a week is a good time to tear things up a little. Aids in recovery…
  7. Lifting and lowering heavy stuff will NOT make you big and bulky. Lifting and lowering weights WILL make you lean and strong. Too many processed starchy carbs, too much sugar and/or junk will make you bulky. And not being strong will make you weak, frail and prone to injury.
  8. If you’re injured or move poorly, working out won’t make it better. Stacking fitness on top of a poorly functioning body (dysfunction) will only get your further hurt or lead to a plateau.
  9. The proverbial “fountain of youth” is found in strenuous activities, like resistance training. And it doesn’t matter what tools you use like weights, kettlebells, bands, medicine balls, or body weight, knowing HOW to use them is more important than WHAT you use. Remember, some of the strongest athletes on earth are gymnasts and they almost never lift weights other than their body.
  10. You cannot fix a body you hate. Goals and measurements are fine and important, until you let yourself be defined by a number on a scale or BMI chart.

Do you have anything you could possibly add to this list?


10 Reasons Why You Should Train With Us At Firestorm fitcamps!

1) Safety – I’ve been in the business of fitness for a long, long time. You have a life outside of the gym. I will not allow what we do in the gym to negatively affect your life outside the gym…period. Doing so is irresponsible and demonstrates a lack of caring and effort on my part. The Webster definition of a client states, “one that is under the care, guidance and protection of another.” I take that definition very seriously.

2) Indoors – We train indoors only. No inclement weather distractions. No bugs. No mud. No burrs. No remnants from someone’s inconsiderate dog…

3) Strength – The more strength you have, the more you can do. Strength is like a container, and what you can physically do is all of the things that will fit in that container. BEWARE: If you train with us at Firestorm fitcamps!, you’re going to need a bigger container!

4) Variety – No boring cardio. No half effort designed training protocol. No wasted effort or poor direction and supervision. Just clearly contemplated and expertly designed training protocol that will help you achieve the level of overall health, fitness and wellness that will make you better, stronger, more stable with better stamina AND I’ll wager these are things you desire and deserve.

5) Availability – My phone number is 210-884-2072. Call or text me anytime. My email address is Email me at any time. I’m here to serve you! Also, we offer multiple training times per day, and you’re welcome to attend any one of them that you want…

6) Experience – I’ve been a fitness professional for over 30 years. I can help you with pretty much anything with which you have an issue or question within the realm of better health, fitness or athletic performance. Check out our testimonials page for more on that…

7) Success – I’m so confident that you’re going to succeed with our program that I offer a double your money back guarantee to prove it. How’s that?

8) Friendly – I’ve worked hard to create an atmosphere of family friendliness, and it shows. I only work with quality people. You want to be one of the family?

9) Helpful – I will do my level best to help you achieve any health, fitness or wellness goal that you have. This is all I do, and it’s all I WANT to do. I am here to serve you.

10) Fun – Working out and getting into great shape shouldn’t be drudgery. Besides which, if it isn’t fun, why would you do it?


My Big Fear As A Fitness Professional

On September 8th of 2015, I turned 55 years of age. Not a milestone, by any stretch of the imagination, but it got me thinking more seriously about a subject with which I’ve been very interested for the last few years.

Agility, balance, flexibility, mobility and stability. In other words…how we move. And more specifically, how we move safely and fluidly through our day so as not to injure ourselves in some manner.

This all came about several years ago when I listened to a guy talk about the risks of falling and the consequences thereof. For example: if you and I are the same age, and I fall and injure myself and you get cancer, did you know that in 5 years (statistically speaking) I’ll be dead and you’ll still be alive?

I don’t know about you, but that shocks me. Falls are a big deal.

I’ve been in the fitness business for a little over 30 years now. In that time, I’ve helped a lot of folks get stronger, lose body fat, and gain the ability to accomplish physical feats in sports performance or personal endeavors. But my fear is this: have I helped them to live a more productive life in the coming years?

Have I cheated my clients by not providing them with the necessary tools to move more fluidly, to effortlessly bend, squat or kneel down, then rise again, without the fear of a loss of balance or wondering if they can get up again.

I recently read a report which stated that the typical American adult “now requires three distinct attempts to raise themselves from a seated position.” I don’t know about you, but that just makes me sad.

Very sad.

The older I get, the more I tend to believe that fitness, especially for folks 50 and up, should be more about being strong and effective movement and less about aesthetics. Don’t get me wrong, looking good and moving well are not mutually exclusive, but movement is life. And moving well could literally save your life.

It boggles my mind that many folks can lift more, have come to the understanding that training holistically and on their feet is a good thing, but can’t move well. I mean, we have an entire generation of folks who, from all outward appearances, look to be in great physical condition and yet can’t tie their shoes or pick their clothes up off the floor.

I was at the bank recently and a guy came in to meet with one of the representatives for a loan or something. He was in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. He looked about my age and appeared to be in pretty decent condition with good muscle structure and shape. I could see some of that kineseo/Arasti tape on his right triceps running up to his shoulder area. The bank guy called him into his office, and when this guy attempted to sit down he looked like an octogenarian reaching for his walker. He placed one hand on the desk and the other on the chair to steady himself, THEN gently and slowly lowered his backside onto the chair.

And I fear this is the type of thing I’m setting my clients up for. And I lose sleep over it.

You see, this guy, and so many people like him, is an illustration of what I see so often. People workout in order to lift heavy stuff, to be strong and to look good, but what good is it if you can’t simply bend over and tie your own shoes?

I’ve never been to a “third world country”, but the one thing I admire about them is the way they sit to do things like eat or work. It’s a natural thing, and anyone should be able to do it. It looks like this:

3rd world squatI’m guessing that roughly 75% of the people I work with can’t sit like this. I can and often do. It’s a natural movement and how you developed in the womb.

You want a quick test to gauge how long you may have to live? It’s called the Sitting Rising Test. I encourage you to click the link and watch the brief video, but basically you cross your legs at the ankles, then sit down on the floor without using your hands or losing your balance. Reverse the process using the same criteria and get your score.

The man who developed this test, a Brazilian doctor, did so because he found that, while his patients often had good cardiovascular or muscular test results, they couldn’t reach down and touch their toes or pick something off the floor.

That’s a distinct loss of mobility and fall waiting to happen.

My big fear is that much of what I’ve taught over the last few years has only perpetuated this scenario.

So the next time you’re in a training session with me, and I’ve programmed your training to include getting up and down from the ground, bear crawls and other such primal, basic and natural movement patterns, you can thank me now for potentially extending and saving your life 10, 20 or 30 years down the road.