My girlfriend started lifting and now she flexes around the house.

Note: (Now fiancée - and here is photo evidence so you know I’m not making it up.)


It’s true.

When Meg and I first started dating, I was this scrawny kid who liked to lift weights and teach people how to do it. I’m still scrawny, but a little better at the coaching thing. Obviously, I encouraged her to start getting after it, not at all in a “Hey, you need to lose some weight” kind of way. She had an interest and I told her I could help her. That’s how you get yourself in trouble.

So one day we went to the gym and I showed her some cool things; Goblet Squats, Trap Bar Deadlifts, Push Ups (Big fan of those, she is), TRX Rows; nothing fancy. You can be really good at basic movements and still get awesome results. But, that was a few years ago. She never really picked it up. It was always inconsistent and I don’t really think she liked it. Most of the time if she did go to the gym on her own she would just run in preparation for a road race or one of our Ragnar Relays. Lifting weights was just kind of my thing for a while. She needed something a little bit more.

Flash forward to today where I have a new…ish position as the Head Strength Coach at On Target Fitness in Portsmouth, she trains regularly, more than she ever has before. Even with a really demanding travel schedule. So what changed?

For starters, she needed the social aspect of training. She is very much a people person, and is enough of an extrovert for the both of us. In the past, Meg would typically go to the gym by herself, do some exercises, get bored, and then leave. Not really ever enjoying it or having a sense of direction. We forget sometimes that your environment can shape your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This is vital for having a sense of purpose and sense of belonging, two things key to fulfilling basic human needs. We are super lucky in that our members freaking rock, work hard, and support each other in the process.

So, it’s not enough to say “Go to the gym” – it’s more about finding the right gym… for you. As reluctant as I am to say it, I had gotten that part wrong. I always preached consistency, but that’s impossible if you don’t actually enjoy your routine or have any idea of what to do.

Secondly, she needed a consistent program to follow. At On Target, we program our Team Training schedule collaboratively, so it’s similar every time you come in, but variable enough to keep you engaged.

Third, she needed a coach that wasn’t me. I can do a lot of great things as a coach to put her in the right position for success, but there are blurred lines. I’m already biased, and sometimes too much honesty isn’t what your girlfriend of 4+ years needs to hear after a long day. Our other coaches call it like they see it and keep people accountable, and they are way cooler than me too.


Meg has been training at On Target for less than 12 months, probably 2-4 times per week. Nothing crazy, maybe she’ll squeeze in a run or crush a mountain bike ride with me here and there. But, in that span of time, here’s what I have noticed:

More Confidence, Less overall stress at work, Better Sleep, More dedication to consistency, Repeated Flexing, She has fun!, Asks me to “feel my bicep”, Tells me to “check out my triceps”, Better choices with nutrition, She has muscles that she’s proud of, More energy and less lethargy, Stronger – She even knocked out a legit push up the other day!, More control of her emotions (sometimes), She feels more in sync with her body, Asks me “why I got her addicted to exercise”, Increase in overall positivity and optimism, Owns her mistakes, Increased ability to eat pizza, and…

More drive to pursue her ambitions and fitness goals.

My point is really simple. Meg didn’t really have a passion for fitness when she started, but she knows what it does for her and how it makes her feel. There are so many other things to consider when thinking about training.

We can’t let the external noise shape our perceptions about how you should look and what you should do. If you need help figuring out how to get there, talk to us so we can help you get started. Sometimes you need a family behind you to keep you motivated, engaged, and in the fight. That’s exactly what happened with Meg, and now I can’t get her to stop flexing around the house.

'Til next time,




Surprise Yourself

In the past 2 months, the gym has exploded. We have had a lot of things going on inside the gym, as well as outside the gym. With the spring and summer brings new fitness goals as well as busy personal calendars; weddings, vacations, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and somewhere in there, a fitness business that is blowing up like the fourth of July.

We aren’t arrogant, we simply believe in what we do. We are confident that you will find success at On Target Fitness, whoever you are.

So, with that said, we have been participating in the nationwide Lean Down Challenge. It is put on in exclusive locations throughout the US, and we were lucky enough to have been one of those gyms. The aim of the challenge is to help people lose 20 pounds of weight or reduce body composition by 5 percent. In 6 weeks.

Is that even possible?

Yes. It absolutely is.

The results have been surprising for many people, in more positive ways than you might think. Check our Facebook page to see some of them.

Here are some common trends that we as a staff have been seeing with the people that are most successful with this challenge, and any other big health change you might want to make.

Full Commitment

With many of the folks participating in the LDC, people that are most successful come in ready to commit, take on the challenge, and never look back once they start. The same rings true to anyone starting a new routine. You have to see it through, or you are wasting your time. As coaches who understand psychology and physiology, we recognize the immediate barriers that stand in your way. Fear. Ambivalence. Money. Self doubt. Those challenges are real, and we cannot act like they don't exist. 

With that said, if you let those things define you and shape your being, you aren’t being your true self. You are fighting a losing battle. Change starts to happen the moment you truly believe it can.

You can.

Ownership and Zero Excuses Attitude

We don’t need to dwell on the past, but we need to at least understand where your personal battles lie. What has limited you before needs to be out of the equation. That’s why the meal plan is strict. That’s why alcohol is not recommended. For this period of time, your full attention is required. Additionally, many successful people do not make excuses for their setbacks.

They acknowledge them, and move on. Chasing perfection is a sure way to be miserable. Mistakes happen. We can get caught in the undertow when your actions become justified through unrelated things. This is the adult version of “my dog ate my homework.” Stop.

Own it, learn, and get better. You control you.

Hard Work, in and out of the gym.

Photo Credit: Calum McAuley, 

Photo Credit: Calum McAuley, 

Nutrition! Do you think the gainz happen without the stuff to build them? No way.

Someone smart said that most fat loss happens inside the kitchen. It’s true. There is no substitute for hard work inside and outside of the gym. We’ve seen great adherence and with it, great results for people who simply pay attention to what they eat. They make sure they get enough calories to crush training sessions, but stay within the limits of the LDC meal plan.

Are they perfect? No, we’ve even had people tell us they’ve had a couple drinks on the weekend and still have significant weight loss at the end of the week to show for it. It’s all about balance!


Man, this might be the most important. You simply cannot make yourself miserable and expect to get the results you want. Seems easy in theory, but the fitness and nutrition industry is full of quick “fixes” and magic pill marketing. If you have to starve yourself and think you can get your dream body in only one month, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work like that.

Having health and having fitness is a journey. There’s no reason you can’t be happy, and make positive changes for yourself. It takes consistent work and constant understanding of yourself, to be able to adapt to challenges and give yourself fulfillment. The people in the LDC that have been the most successful at our gym have understood from day one, that this is not just a six week challenge. They have made fitness part of their life, and continue to use it to better themselves.

After all, you only get one.

Thanks for continuing to inspire us, and keep trying to surprise yourself.