Twelve Things I’m Thankful For in 2011

1.       Fellow Lifters and Weight Training

There are millions of crazy people just like me who are a bit obsessed with lifting weights. One of the guys speaking alongside me at a conference this weekend emailed me and asked if we could meet up and talk shop, and also whether we could train together on Friday night. I had to laugh as I can totally relate. Most people would just ignore their Friday workout but there are many of us who will find a place to train, improvise, and stick to the plan. We don’t let anything stand in our way and we’ll find a way to sneak in a great workout. I love that I’m not alone. When I moved to New Zealand I had instant gym friends as lifters around the world speak the same language.

Over the past couple of decades I’ve had some amazing times and I’ve had some very dark times, but one constant has always been the weights. No matter what was going on in my life I could always hit the gym and grab an amazing workout.

2.       Family

As I grow older I realize that family is what it’s all about. Friends and acquaintances will come and go but family stays forever. Being away from my family has made me realize how lucky I am to have such caring, supportive, and interesting family members.

3.       The United States

Many of my American friends are unaware of this but we’re not well liked worldwide. I’d say the majority of countries do not like us. This was a huge shock to me as before I started travelling I assumed that everyone loved us. Many foreign countries have a sour taste in their mouths from George W. Bush and the economic meltdown, and many of our reality shows paint us in a very poor light. However, the one thing I love about the United States is that we are a melting pot. We welcome most foreigners with open arms. I believe that it’s a huge weakness for a country to have biases toward entire populations of people.

America doesn’t have the population, the size, or the history that some other countries do, but we’ve been successful on account of hard work and dedication. We face many problems but we’re always working on them. Though America has our fair share of idiots (what country doesn’t?) and our fair share of failures, we also have our fair share of legends. I’m damn proud to be an American.

4.       Fellow Bloggers

Many of my PhD friends give me crap about being a blogger. They don’t have the slightest clue what it’s like. When they finish with their work for the day their done; they can kick back and watch television. I’m constantly writing down ideas, trying to have people help me film videos, and striving to pump out good free information for my readers despite being very busy. A few of my colleagues appear slightly jealous or envious of my popularity, but what they don’t realize is that I’ve worked my ass off for it and any success I’ve achieved has been earned through countless hours of continuing education.

Blogging isn’t easy.  We bloggers sacrifice a lot to maintain our blogs. Try pumping out 150 blogposts per year while juggling 20 other balls in the air. I remember when I used to have a girlfriend, I was always telling her, “Five more minutes and I’ll be done.” Two hours later I was still working. I’m going to try to be a much better boyfriend next time I get a girlfriend, but I’m sure my blogging colleagues can relate. We are a passionate group of people and I’m thankful for all the other fitness bloggers who devote their time to putting out free information that I can learn from week in and week out.

5.       My Supervisor

I could write an entire chapter about my professor/supervisor John Cronin. He’s like a second father to me. Having spent so much time in the online world, I’m accustomed to meeting males who are overly competitive, overly confident about what they think they know, and overly selfish. John Cronin is a rare guy who actually cares more about his students than his own success. Ironically this is why he’s so successful. Before I moved to New Zealand my buddy and fellow researcher Matt Brughelli advised me to get my PhD through John at AUT University. Matt’s been all over the world and understands the different types of professors out there. I’m so glad I listened to him. In the past year, John has taught me much more than topics in sports science, he’s taught me a lot about life in general and served as an excellent role model.

6.       Researchers

When you really delve into the research you start realizing how much time is spent publishing a study. We strength coaches like to gloss over them and scoff at them if they weren’t designed to our liking, but researchers devote considerable time coming up with detailed studies to answer questions in our field. I love that there are people who are so interested in sports science that they’ll go to such lengths to publish studies.

First you have to think up the study design. Then you have to conduct a literature review and see what else is out there. Next you have to conduct the actual study, which often involves several months of hard work. After the study is completed you have to crunch the numbers and perform a statistical analysis. Then you have to write it all up, including the introduction, the literature review, the methods section, the results, the discussion, the conclusions, the references, not to mention any pictures or charts you include. Next you need to write the abstract. Now it’s finally time to submit the article to a journal. But you’re not done yet, you still have to go through the peer-reviewed process.

Behind every good study you read there is often hundreds of hours behind it, and many times you get to read the study for free!

7.       Dogs

I’ve been without a dog for ten months now and it’s torture. No man should have to go without a dog for an extended period of time! A dog is a man’s best friend.

8.       Chocolate

I allow myself a few squares of chocolate (usually dark but not always) each night. You have no idea how much joy this brings to my life!

9.       Dexter

Dexter is my favorite tv show. Well, it’s actually the only show I watch. I wish there was a new episode on every night of the year.

10.   Second Chances

And third chances, and fourth chances, etc. No matter how badly you’ve screwed up, no matter how many mistakes you’ve made, and no matter how deep of a hole you’ve dug for yourself, one of the greatest things about free-will is that you can choose to wake up the following morning and change it. You can turn over a new leaf at any point in time and reinvent yourself. Self-improvement isn’t easy any many folks seem to stagnate in life. But this doesn’t have to be you. Whatever you don’t like in your life, whatever you don’t like about your disposition, and whatever you don’t like about yourself, you have the power to do something about it. I’ve seen far too many success stories to ever say, “People can’t change.” They can change, and millions are doing it every day.

11.   Girls Gone Strong

One of my greatest accomplishments this year is somehow helping to unite the Girls Gone Strong girls. I wrote a blogpost and introduced them via email and the rest is history. Now I see them travelling to meet each other (some of them from very long distances), I read their posts about their experiences with one another, and I witness genuine friendships being built.

I feel very proud to have played a small part in these wonderful lady’s lives, and I believe that in this instance I was able to pay forward what my professor has done for me (to a very small degree). Just as my professor takes pride in his students’ success, I take pride watching these women emerge onto the fitness scene and gain momentum. They’re building a strong following and can do a lot of good as the strength & conditioning industry was in need of knowledgeable female leaders who can steer newbie female lifters in the right direction. Make sure you hit “like” on their Facebook page and help them get to 5,000 followers.

12.   The UFC

I can’t even begin to tell you how jacked up I get for the UFC. I don’t get a chance to watch many sports since I’m so busy, but I make an exception for UFC fights as I’ve been a fan for many years now. Sports bring us closer and unite people. This reminds me – 2012 is an Olympic year. Hurrah!

So there you have it folks. These are twelve things I’m thankful for in 2011. Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

21 thoughts on “Twelve Things I’m Thankful For in 2011

  1. Juliet

    I really enjoyed this post, Bret! I think there is definitely a lot to be said for many of the things you listed. I’ve often considered giving up my blog because of the time commitment but I always find reasons to keep it and, at the end of the day, it makes me happy. And I completely know what you mean about dogs – perhaps you can foster one for a few weeks or volunteer for an afternoon if you feel particularly deprived ;)

    Reply
  2. Marianne

    Thank you for this post Bret – It put a smile on my face as I realise what I have to be thankful for too : )

    The “five more minutes” is my line though!!

    Mostly I am thankful for the Internet; without it I would never have started myomytv, come across your blog, or never been introduced to the other Girls Gone Strong.

    What a year, eh? :)

    Reply
  3. Bianca

    Hi Bret,

    posts like this show that you are not only a very smart trainer/researcher/writer/blogger/hipthruster/and whatever else you are, but you are also a very nice person.

    Bianca

    Reply
  4. Alli McKee

    Hi Bret!

    I love this post. I agree with so many of the things you mentioned and the points regarding “1. training”, “2. family”, “10. second chances” and “11. GGS” especially struck home with me. You certainly had a part in the alignment of the GGS crew and while I’m recounting MY blessings, my list would not be complete without you and those wonderful women.

    Hope you are well, thanks for being you and Happy Thanksgiving!

    Reply
  5. Kim

    Thank you for the great post, Bret. Dogs, second chances and Girls Gone Strong especially resonated with me. I’m thankful to have found Marianne’s blog, which in turn led me to yours and so many others. I love this community.

    Thank you for doing all you do! Happy Thanksgiving!

    I’m off to do my pre-Thanksgiving meal training. :)
    Kim

    Reply
  6. julia

    I will express the same sentiment as the other GGS girls… the last few months of our journey have been incredible!! Thanks for the shoutout, for the introductions and for continuing to spread our word!!!!

    So thankful for the ability to train, be healthy and my family and friends… and for strength coaches around the world like you to network with!!

    Reply
  7. Chris Merritt

    Love the post Bret! Happy Thanksgiving… Glad to hear you’re a huge UFC fan, be sure to watch the finale of TUF14 next Saturday! Dustin Pague benefited greatly from a lot of techniques I learned from your blog!

    And from every male reader, thank you for girls gone strong haha…

    Reply
  8. Ben Bruno

    Thanks for all the hard work you put into your site man. It’s really a great resource, and I think I speak for A LOT of people when I say I really appreciate it.

    Reply
  9. Echo

    Try eating a piece of that chocolate first thing in the morning before other meals have deadened your taste buds – it’ll make your mouth water in a whole new way. Thanks for making us Americans look good abroad, Bret, we need all the help we can get!

    Reply
  10. Bret Post author

    Thanks for the kind feedback everybody, and I’m very glad you liked the blogpost.

    And rest assured that I have some awesome stuff to share over the next year as I’m learning a ton these days.

    Chris I appreciate the shout out…I always watch TUF but I don’t get it hear in Auckland :(

    I’ll have to figure out a way to watch it…it’s always good to know that other trainers are having success with these methods.

    Thanks again everyone!!! -BC

    Reply
  11. Taleen

    I especially like the positive spin you’ve put on 6. Research! The physical therapy program I am in requires conducting research as one component for attaining one’s doctoral degree. I had the wonderful (and extremely taxing) opportunity to create my own research project on youth gymnasts and back pain along side a fellow former gymnast/classmate. Thanks for helping me realize my own thankfulness while reading your list.

    AND… I recently found Girls Gone Strong. I agree in thanks and gratitude towards these beautiful women, their knowledge, and charisma.

    Great list Bret!

    Reply
  12. melek

    You are so lucky Bret with your family and people around you. I hope one day I get the J-Lo but with your thrusts and you would be proud of me too:) I want to say thank you for your help! And wish you many more success.

    Reply
  13. Trish

    Awesome post Bret…I think we were separated at birth as my list would be very similar. My cousin (Bruce Buffer) is the UFC voice of the octagon announcer…so I get the UFC thing too. I’ve got to tell you though, I am so thankful for your passion for glutes…your stuff changed my posterior…that would be my #13!

    Reply
  14. Manuel

    I am grateful for you ebook and blog, which caused one of the big changes for me in 2011 (namely: working on my asymetries).
    Many thanks for that.

    Reply
  15. Naomi

    Very sweet post! Thank you for your wonderful blogs. You’ve really helped me. And yeah, be there for your next girlfriend. Relationships take work but I’d love to see you happily in a long-term committed relationship!

    Reply
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  17. Caj

    Regarding #9 – Dexter: I agree with you completely. If you have the time, try watching Breaking Bad. If you like Dexter, you’ll like Breaking Bad. I guarantee it.

    Reply
  18. Karlitos

    This is probably my favorite blog post of yours that I’ve ever read! I love it!
    Amen to Dogs, fellow [real] lifters, and the US of effing A! I’m so happy and thankful to call you my friend. Thanks for changing people’s lives, mine included, and making the world a better and more gleautiful place.

    Things that should have gotten honorable mention: music, skype, hot tubs

    Reply
  19. Nick Chertock

    Not sure how I missed this when you first posted it but I’m glad to have found it. Bret, you’re certainly one of the tops in the field when it comes to your blog and the content you put out.

    Reply

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