Last night I watched the documentary Marinoni about 75 year old Italian Canadian cycling icon Giuseppe Marinoni and his attempts to set a world record for distance cycled in one hour for his age group. The documentary, the oft-told story of an immigrant who arrives in Canada with nothing, only to lead an incredible and inspiring life is an important narrative that makes up the very fabric of Canadian identity. On the surface it seems like mandatory viewing for anyone who loves cycling; an homage to the sport of cycling and the art of making bicycles, but more importantly this film is especially important for anyone who believes in the power of sport and fitness to give life.
For me, this movie reinforced how much I loathe being around people who complain about being “old”; people who have essentially given up on what their bodies and mind are capable of. I’m 41 years old; I’ve done the sports, the mountain climbs, the triathlon, the marathon, the road races, the obstacle race, etc., and I feel like I’m just getting started. I don’t feel old; in fact I feel the fittest ever and I’m saddened by people who talk themselves into being “old”. Giuseppe was 75 when he challenged himself, and during this training (and my favourite part of this movie) his wife quoted an old Italian proverb which says “you can’t complain about the pain you seek” and I can’t think of anything that has resonated so deeply in my soul.
So today, instead of remembering it as the day my father died, I will remember Giuseppe and his resolve to live as he ever was.
So as I sit here debating wether or not this horrible cold is going to keep me from competing at today’s Toronto Athletic Games, my coach sends me this Champion’s Creed (a sign perhaps?). Here it is for all my athlete friends competing this weekend:
I AM A CHAMPION
I will conquer what has not been conquered
Defeat will not be in my creed
I will believe what others have doubted
I will always endeavor the prestige, honour and respect of MY team
I have trained my mind – my body will follow
Who am I?
I AM A CHAMPION
I will acknowledge the fact that my opponents do not expect me to win
But I will never surrender
Weakness will not be in my heart
I will look to my comrades, and those who have brought me into this world
And those who have trained me, and I will draw strength from them
Who am I?
I AM A CHAMPION
There are many reasons why I train with Marv at Blast Athletic, and many reasons why I think his approach stands out above the countless “trainers, boot camps, and group training” classes that seem to have saturated the market, including:
- He is ridiculously fit; and there is nothing more inspiring that a trainer who is equally passionate about his own fitness as he is mine.
- He is constantly engaging in professional development; always bringing in the latest exercises, techniques, apparatuses to the floor.
- His “hybrid” approach incorporates the best training methods from almost every discipline/sport out there. This makes every class different; every class super challenging; and every class ridiculously fun (who knew football drills could be so great).
- He cares about the phycological aspect of fitness and health; he asks for our goals and speaks often about “upping your game” and pushing yourself beyond what you think you can do.
- He sets up leagues for added fun and teamwork (and doesn’t ask for more money).
- He holds yearly competitions to keep everyone working hard towards a goal, including this year’s Toronto Athletic Games (which is open to non-members, so you should definetly check it out).
- He conducts monthly appraisals for everyone who wants one, and keeps your numbers for comparison, and goal setting.
- He has a yearly Blast Party – huge and fabulous, just because.
- He sets up workshops on technique and form, and lectures on nutrition, sleep and stress.
- He never accepts “I can’t” from anyone.
- He is NEVER on his phone during training, because he doesn’t need to be – he’s that good, and that committed to knowing what he is doing.
But, despite all this (and I could go on), what really impressed me was the metal he gave me last week. It was not because I won anything, not because I signed up for anything, just because he wanted to acknowledge how far I’ve come after two years of trainging with him; something I was already very proud of, but didn’t think anyone else thought too much about. Ii know there are many great trainers out there, but I challenge you to find one who cares this much about his clients.