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Erik's Weekly Fitness Tip | Lessons From A Legend


Erik's Weekly Fitness Tip | Lessons From A Legend


Al Carius

17 National Championships, 15 times runner up, “Coach of the Century” are just some of the accomplishments that Al Carius has made. Al sits on the Mount Rushmore of college coaches along with Wooden, Rockne, and Bear Bryant and he is still grinding away.  Al is a small-town guy that is humble and has his midwest roots firmly planted in the ground.  Al values your word, work ethic, family, and being part of something bigger than yourself.  But make no mistake, the jovial, always smiling, glass half-full guy lives to compete and compete he does with a career that spans 5 decades as head of the Men’s Cross Country Team at North Central College.

But as competitive as Al is, it’s the family atmosphere and the relationships that he has made along the way of his legendary coaching career that he is the proudest of.  If I had to describe Al’s coaching philosophy and personality, from what I read he’s a lot like John Wooden.  He’s made such an extraordinary impact on so many young men’s lives that it’s not even possible for me to put into words.

A Bump In The Road

In the fall, I got word that Al hit a bump in the road with his health.  While he and I hadn’t talked in a few years I knew that I needed to reach out to him.  I wanted to remind him of the importance of strength training, that he needed to run less, and that he needed to get himself into a calorie surplus so his reserves were full.  

On a Monday in September I called him. In this first phone call he reminded me why he is who he is - it’s not what he said, it was the energy in his voice, it was his attitude, I knew he was smiling the whole time while we were talking.  You see Al learned a long time ago if you control the six inches between your ears with a winner’s attitude and inner ability of dealing with adversity you can just about conquer any obstacle. 

Life Lessons

What happened next is something I didn’t see coming. He and I began speaking weekly, rarely about health or the team.  Our conversations have become about life. I sort of feel like I’m in an AP life class and these chats have become more important than any actual class that I’ve taken.  The week of Christmas he and I had the best conversation to date, we talked about what it takes to make it in life.  I told him I thought it was about outworking your competitors, your emotional intelligence, and taking risks. 

He agreed and then said I’ll raise you.  Success is much less about IQ and much more about your ability to deal with adversity.  He credited his success to getting knocked down to the ground and having the ability to get right back up.  “If you get knocked down 10 times you get up 11.”  Easier said than done but always such a great reminder. 


Al stands at 5’9” and a buck forty, in no way a physically intimidating man.  But the tenacity that this man has shown in a career and life is something that very few people will ever reach and is somewhat mind blowing.  He is a 1 percenter and I have a direct access, how lucky I am!!

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Erik's Weekly Fitness Tip | When Adversity Strikes


Erik's Weekly Fitness Tip | When Adversity Strikes


Not If, But When

It’s never a matter of if, but when, we will face adversity.  Our health, family, work, and our fitness can ultimately succumb to some major bumps in the road. 

Let’s keep this simple and just focus on health and fitness since this is the area that I live in.  We can face injuries, coming up short with hitting our goals, or even worse a health diagnosis that could affect us both short or long term.  Rarely does adversity let us know it’s coming to visit. Like any great war general will tell you, the element of surprise can bring people to their knees. 

How To Deal

So how can you prevent adversity with your health and fitness?  You can’t, but that doesn’t mean you cannot be prepared.  For me it comes down to two very simple things that you have to execute every single day.

1. Attitude! 

I know it is a bit cliché, but your attitude is something that you have control over so it makes sense that we would start here.  Poor me, complaining, and being mad at the world will not and will never get you past the current issue that you are facing.  Let your attitude be your ally not your foe. 

2. Diet and Exercise

Eating right and working out will not stop all disease, illness, or injuries but they can help you reduce the risk of all these issues.  Eating right and your weekly workouts are also something you have control over.  It’s okay if you have a bad weekend of eating or a string of bad workouts, it’s going to happen.  Just get back on the horse and keep moving forward.

Strike Back

Life can be tough and throw all kinds of s*@t your way, you have the choice to eat it or hit back. 

Image Credit: Fabian Blank via Unsplash

Dial the digits if I can help with your diet and exercise 310.251.7420

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