In 2011, I met Joshua Stecker, the owner/publisher of this magazine, at a young professionals meetup here in San Pedro. At the time, I was a young fledgling trainer with a new gym and was eager to get my name out there, so I was frequently out and about working local events.
As is customary at any networking event, I did my best to work the room, meet people, and do all the networking things. I struck up a conversation with Josh, and we hit it off. He had an interest in finding somewhere to work out and wanted to come to check out our program at Heyday Fitness.
Josh thought this meeting was accidental, just because of a spontaneous conversation he had at a networking event. It was not. Unbeknownst to him, I had been doing some light internet stalking of Josh for months to get myself an audience with him. I had been a big fan of his magazine and wanted to write for it.
And now here I was talking to him shamelessly, but discreetly, self-promoting. Fortunately, Josh joined the gym, and after a few months of training, he had a bright idea: “Would you be interested in writing a column for the magazine?” I had to rub my chin for a few seconds to pretend like the thought hadn’t occurred to me. I then said, “Yeah, I might be interested in that. What are the details?”
And just like that, my evil plan conceived months prior had come to fruition. I was hired as the fitness writer for San Pedro Today, writing my first column in January 2012. Fast forward and here I am, ten years, 120 columns, and roughly 84,000 words later, writing for you today.
But all good things come to an end, and my tenure as this magazine’s fitness writer has come to a close. It’s been a fun ride and I will miss it dearly, but before I go, I figured I’d share some nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned in my time filling the pages of this mag. Here goes.
We need to be reminded more than we need to be taught. Over the last ten years, as much as I’d love to think otherwise, I’ve said nothing new or original. We generally have all the answers to our most pressing challenges. We just ignore/forget/hide from it for a myriad of reasons. If I ever wrote something of value to you, it was probably something you already knew but needed to hear. Good advice is usually that way, and that was how I viewed the job of this column — to poke you with truths you already knew but needed to be reminded of.
The fitness journey is universal. I can’t tell you how often someone approached me and said how odd they felt reading a particular column because it felt like I was talking directly to them. From seniors in their 70s and 80s, the disabled, young athletes, overworked parents, and everyone in between, all of them have similar challenges. It’s been very rewarding to hear from all of them to drive the point home: You are not alone in your struggle, and the desire for improvement crosses all human lines.
Community is everything. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” A select few can do the fitness thing solely on their own, but by and large, the path to health is not one you can or should do by yourself. The people I’ve seen who go the furthest are the ones who band together. This is true with fitness, but it feels uniquely true in this town. As a small business owner and writer for this magazine, I’ve received nothing but support from residents, readers, and clients as our business weathered some pretty significant storms.
And lastly, I was terrified to write my first column. And only slightly less terrified to write each one after that. But it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. So let me remind you to seek that which makes the palms sweaty, because on the other side of it is the version of you I’d very much like to meet someday. spt