I am pissed too, sir

There’s a dichotomy in how people are motivated. As a coach, it’s your duty to determine what this is and adapt to the needs of your trainee; you need to be the Batman they need, the one they deserve. It doesn’t mean you have to like it, because your primary goal should be to get the most out of that person.

Back in the day, advice from an old grandpa would be, “Quit crying. Get the shit done.” And it’s really a valid point of view. Other times it might be, “You suck. Get better.” Some people respond to this defiantly and strive to be better. The totalitarian coaching approach is documented in people like Bill Parcells and Bobby Knight; the players will almost rally against them in defiance to be successful.

Nowadays, people have feelings that need to be considered. God forbid you actually offend someone. Instead, things are focused on “You are wonderful. You can do this.” Instead of someone taking an objective look at themselves and realizing that they have work to do, society would like to convince them that they are perfect the way they are. Bullshit.
If we were perfect the way we are, then we wouldn’t have anything to strive to achieve. There wouldn’t be anything to do but wallow in our perfectness, and that’s exactly what these people tend to do. It’s the reason fat people think that not only do they NOT have to pay for two seats on an airline, but that the airline should accommodate THEM by changing their policy (and lose millions of dollars in the process). Yeah, they are so lazy that instead of changing themselves, they developed a narcissism so powerful that other people should sacrifice their resources to accommodate such laziness.

This, my friends, is what the FUCK we’re up against.

But don’t worry, you won’t ever be coaching or training any of these people because they will never make the decision to stop being what they are. As a senior in high school I had to write a satire that was in the vein of Jonathan Swift (who, by the way, had some of the biggest testicles in history). My “modest proposal” was to take all of the fat and lazy people and ship them directly into the sun. This was made more awkward when I saw my obese teacher’s face when she handed the paper back to me. I don’t know if I wrote it then, but the cost of a sun-shipment would be less than a) the cost of supporting them via healthcare and b) the irritation caused by having to hold their hand and trying to get them to change – especially when they are convinced they don’t have to. Who knows, maybe their lard could be used as fuel (just like on steamboats on the Mississippi River used to do).

Look, I’ve been the trainer in a local “Biggest Loser Challenge”; you can’t help someone who isn’t committed. The TV show has to offer a quarter million dollars to get them to do it! You can’t teach or transform someone who is not willing to do what it takes; it’s just so easy to quit. Arnold Schwarzenegger realized the same thing when he quit personal training because people didn’t care as much as he did. Then he went and made millions of dollars, badass movies, and was the first foreign-born governer since Irish-born John G. Downey in 1862. Why? Because he gave a shit. No big deal.

There will be those people who are “lost causes”, but there are many more on the bubble. It’s all about motivation. If someone is paying you money to coach them, you have a choice. Do you stubbornly stick to your principles and run trainees off who aren’t compatible with you? Or do you adapt your style to get the most out of your trainee and eventually teach them the way of the Force? The former doesn’t require any skill as a coach. The latter is how you can make a difference. Your pick, champ.

29 thoughts on “I am pissed too, sir

  1. Right on! This series of posts is the main reason that 70sBig is the only bookmark in my browser.

    “…they developed a narcissism so powerful that other people should sacrifice their resources to accommodate such laziness.” Nailed it.

  2. 70-80% of variation in weight is genetic.

    Not everyone can or should look like Arnold. So long as someone eats healthy, exercises regularly, and lives an active lifestyle, then all else doesn’t matter.

    The best example that illustrates how genetic weight is comes from identical twins who live very different lifestyles – I know of people who fall under this paradigm. In one case, one of the women is extremely active as a long distance runner and tri-athlete, while her sister is pretty sedentary and doesn’t exercise, yet both women weigh and look the same.

    The first sentence is a pretty bold statement to make and sounds like it’s pulled out of your bum. It isn’t genetic as evidenced by hundreds of thousands fat people not being fat any more. You already know this because of the change you made in your life.

    Oh, and using someone who is a distance runner and a triathlete as “proof” of anything is a fallacy. Curious how their diet is ignored too.


  3. @brobrown- obesity is not genetic- that comes from (Edit: eating lots of food). Was at a diner late night with a friend of mine- I had squatted earlier and done both lifts. He had not. I had a burger with no bun, cheese, bacon, and sweet potato fries. He had a steak and cheese omlette, hash browns, biscuit and then the brownie ice cream decadence. He is about 300 lbs or more of blubber and all of our friends gave him horrible looks and all he could say was after tonight I wont eat any more icecream.

    While I agreed with what you said, I modified it to tone it down slightly. I don’t really want this to be a fat bashing thing, because then we look like assholes. While we actually are assholes is a digression.

    More to the point, there is a sect of the population that will never change. Then there is another set that is sort of ready to change. They are the ones paying a coach/trainer money. At that point, the coach or trainer needs to modify their motivational capability to make a change in that person.

    In other words: fat people make me angry because they choose to not do anything about their situation, but they should only be shunned if they stay that way.


  4. @stronger – There’s a world of difference between having a higher natural body weight/body fat% and overeating into oblivion. I guarantee your friend is not naturally that weight, as evidenced by everything you listed as him eating and his being sedentary. He probably has one or more issues that manifest as overeating.

    And I suppose he’s helpless to address those issues? We have “white people problems”, Rob. That means we are capable of overcoming pretty much anything with the exception of incurable diseases and cancers.


  5. It isn’t just about “overweight”… I have fat friends who will never change. I have puny/bony/twiggy friends who will never change.

    They both irritate me equally by just flat-out not caring about performing basic maintenance on the only body they will ever own.

  6. I agree with track. It is about people being lazy and choosing not to do anything about it and making excuses for the negative consequences of said laziness (being fat or ultraskinny or whatever). On the flipside we all have the chance to motivate ourselves and our family/friends to set goals and high standards and kick our own butts until we reach them.
    One group of people often end up standing in line for government assistance (long term) and the other……..doesn’t.

  7. A coach bothered by athletes or clients that are lacking in motivation, determination, work-ethic, drive, etc. is completely understandable. After all, they signed up for help and you are their coach. You have absolutely every right to be annoyed if they don’t want to accomplish anything.

    A person who does something, anything (takes care of their health, paints, cooks, flips houses, lifts weights, does crossfit, collects coins, sucks dick) and gets mad and starts insulting others for not doing what they do is down right disrespectful, judgmental, and fucking rude.

  8. I agree my last statement was harsh and I agree with your edit justin. I dont want this to turn into a fat person bashing session but it just seems odd to me (especially in a professional workplace setting) that as someone who enjoys fitness and eats somewhat healthy I am the anomaly in the office. I dont eat pizza, take out, shitty cafeteria food, lean cuisine for lunch, candy all the time, or cookies whenever and I get the weird looks for it. @ criedthefox- I know that I cannot change anyone’s behavior but as someone interested in natl security and who works in the fedgov I am utterly pissed off about having to deal with someone else’s obesity epidemic in the next few years. Eff them and they need to lose that stuff or go into the sun. This guy at my office is sooooo overweight and waddles like a chubby duck everywhere and always looks miserable and sad and down and I really wish I could help him out.

  9. ^ This. Obesity isn’t a victimless crime – they’re reaching into my wallet. If people don’t change their habits, we end paying for their lifetime of self-inflicted health problems (higher insurance rates, taxes, etc).

  10. Justin – I didn’t say he was helpless to overcome his issues, just calling out that they exist. I understand the desire for intellectual rigor, too. As for my own situation, I was a tall, skinny, cross country runner who decided to gain weight via the gym because I thought it would make me happier overall to do so.

    @Gumbo – I think it’s a well documented fallacy that obesity drains an inordinate amount of resources because the people we’re talking about tend to die sooner and use less medical resources averaged over a lifetime. The longer someone lives, the more medical care that person requires for a longer period of time, I think. I cannot at the moment fact-check this, but I have heard it here and there and it makes sense to me from a statistical perspective.

  11. I think I love you

    I’m glad I’m not the only person that shares this point of view as far as laziness and motivation goes. Along the same lines, I have had far too many friends and family ask me for fitness/nutrition advice, only to make some bullshit excuse after I tell them, because they don’t want to do it after all once they realize it isn’t easy.

  12. @rpbrown – I’m not so sure. When the CDC looks at obesity costs, they’re also counting the indirect costs: lost income from shitty producvitiy and absentissm, plus they count all the future income lost by dying early. At a national level, that adds up.

    But back to my specific argument – which is obese people cost me, gumbo, money. Obesity is a major (obviously not the sole) driver in rising medical costs, which lead to… my insurance bill rising.

  13. There are emperical answers to questions about what kills people and how much it costs to treat them before they die.

    Obesity is the leading cause of death in the United States. It is also the primary cause of increased healthcare spending, since sick people use a ton of healthcare before they die.

    Obesity/Overweight increases the risk for:

    •Coronary heart disease
    •Type 2 diabetes
    •Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
    •Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    •Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
    •Liver and Gallbladder disease
    •Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
    •Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
    •Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)

    You’ll notice that obesity (and tobacco) is the prime risk factor for almost all of the leading causes of death, which include heart disease (1), cancer (2), vascular disease (3), diabetes (7), hypertension (13).


    Chronic disease accounts for 75% of U.S. healthcare spending, particularly disease caused by overweight and obesity and their contribution to chronic illnesses and health care spending.

    http://www.kaiseredu.org/issue-modules/us-health-care-costs/background-brief.aspx#How is the U.S. health care dollar spent?

  14. I get the costs obesity costs us as a nation. I also understand what it’s like to have to be (clinically) obese and have to lose 100+ lbs. I also understand what it’s like to try and put on muscle yet gain plenty of fat back.

    It’s easy for a naturally fit person (be it naturally without hard work or naturally while working hard even though they don’t need to work as hard as they think) to attack those lives they know nothing about. And it was easy for me to start judging people as well once I turned myself (too) skinny too.

    But after growing a brain, reading some things, i realize now it’s not as simple as “stop eating and start exercising”

    so i forgive those fat slobs, that may or may not make my life harder, because I know nothing about them.

  15. first off…It’s Coach Knight or Mr. Knight to you.

    7th grade IU basketball camp…an assistant coach told me what I wrote above when I asked where Bob Knight was. I didn’t want to get choked out so I only said Coach or Mr. Knight from there on out (I would have welcomed it, to be choked out by the legendary Coach Knight = bucket list).

    Anyway back to your post…you nailed it on the head. I’ve been trying for months and months to get my parents to continue with their workout/training programs but after 6 months they’re both now petering out after making good progress. It’s very frustrating since they’ve came so far but just will not make the lifestyle/mindset change.

  16. Couple things:

    1. Any chance that picture becomes a t-shirt. Or even series of t-shirts. It’s pretty awesome.

    2. If you want a good fat people rant check out Epic’s over at beastmodal domains.

    3. I would have told Knight to zip it before I break his hip. Go Boilers!

  17. People who refuse to change their lives by altering a few habits are annoying for sure. I agree with Justin on…well, all of it really. The one caveat I have is that life isn’t fair and has dealt everyone different cards. Some people are prone to staying skinny, some are prone to getting fat really quick. Regardless of this, everyone needs to “man up” and get their ass in line. Eat cleaner food, eat more/less food, squat more, etc. Not everyone is going to look like Arnold (and that is ok), but everyone should emulate his work ethic.

  18. As you’ve said time and time again the motivation has to come from an individual’s decision to adopt, and let’s be real here, a radically different and apparently contrary training and dietary regimen than that which has been recommended by “experts” for the better part of a CENTURY. This only compounds the problem because when someone who has been extremely fatfucked for a significant portion of their life, they often get the WRONG information and lose a bunch of muscle in the process and fuck their metabolic setpoints real, real hard which makes weight re-gain SCARY fucking easy. Even when someone is motivated, we aren’t in an environment that is very conducive to providing an effective solution to the problem.

    So yeah, stack this on top of the touchy-feely “everyone is a winner for just trying!! :D” attitude that has sadly replaced the drive we used to have for exceptionalism, progress, and tangible success resulting from hard work and prolonged effort and you have a pretty huge fucking disaster on your hands.

    I was lucky enough to discover and adopt the attitude of training vs that of general exercise. Even though I’ve managed to undo most of the problems that society led me to believe wasn’t my fault, I’m not optimistic that even a minute percent of people will figure out how to do this. We’re fucked, if you ask me.

  19. This post really strike a nerve with me as well. I have one of those gut (no pun) feelings that we are headed in the wrong direction. I see both sides – people who train their asses of in the gym, work tirelessly in thankless jobs whereas the majority of people are looking for handouts.

    To me this becomes most evident in the push for health care “reform.” What do people want? More benefits, access to fancier hospitals and expensive procedures (lypo or gastric bypass i.e.) all provided by the govt. What makes Joe Citizen feel he is entitled to free or cheap healthcare? Is the government responsible for your health and well being? Because I’m not paying for it. You drink half your paycheck away, smoke 2 packs a day, or become a regular at the golden arches….whose fault is it when you’re hospitalized at 45 for a myriad of issues? Conversely, for instance, what about the 5 year old child that develops leukemia? Is that the child’s fault – poor life choices? No, and I think as rational citizens the people (gov’t) can help that poor child and their family. And, ironically, all the $ that goes to Joe Fatty’s 5x bypass or diabetes treatment is $ that doesn’t go to litte Suzie with a terminal illness. Fucking pathetic.

    I see this too in the military – we have become so civilian-ized I wouldn’t be surprised if cussing was outlawed in the next 5 years. I watched a video last night – “The War” a documentary on WWII. They showed a brief clip of Marines performing hand to hand combat; it was no joke Krav Maga-like intensity, just fcking kill your enemy. Compare that to today’s Army/Air Force combatives which are an absolute fustercluck; we’re too afraid to hurt anyone.

    End Rant. Sorry, I’ve been seathing with anger.

  20. Actually, this is something I’f been thinking about lately. A coworker and I were on our way back from a site visit and we drove by one of those booty-boot camps. We talked a bit about motivation for training (He plays soccer pretty competitively or something) and I came to the conclusion that if you need to pay someone to motivate you to train you have far bigger problems than reaching your fitness goals. I still stand by that, if you aren’t mentally/emotionally sharp enough to be able to commit to something by your own will don’t even worry about stepping in the gym yet.

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  22. @Puke – I too hate the very idea of boot-camp style “training.” Anyone who needs or wants that kind of atmosphere is a bit bent.

    I am nobody’s bitch. Yell at ME and I’ll give ya a knuckle sandwich! (best read in Popeye’s voyce)

  23. At some point you do need someone to get a little rough with you to take you out of your comfort zone. Otherwise, how can you expect to succeed?

    A freind of mine is a wonderful musician. He’s a professional and gives lessons to help pay the bills. All of his lessons are on guitar, though he’s a tremendous violinist. He refuses to teach the violin. Why? Because the people “interested” in the violin are usually kids, driven by their parents to sandwich an instrument between soccer, art, etc. etc. They’re not personally invested in it. As a boy in Russia, he had an instructor throw an ash-tray at him for forgetting his sheet music at home. THAT shit is real.

  24. Holy shit dude this one was right on the money. People who bitch about needing to lose weight or wishing they were strong, but not doing anything about fucking irritates the shit out if me.

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