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Dreams, Detours, and Duty

“You don’t hear much about guys who take their shot and miss… but I’ll tell you what happens to ’em. They end up humping crappy jobs on graveyard shifts trying to figure out how they came up short.”
— Mike McDermott, Rounders

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014; Somewhere South-West of Hudson, CO… Driving in, the thermometer said -18 degrees, but we’re told this morning that it feels more like -30. As we make relief, one of the guys from the night crew grabs our attention. “Guys, watch this,” he says, holding a cup of room temperature water. He takes the cup, and tosses the water over the back rail of the rig floor. As I watch it transform into a fine white powder the instant it hits the air, I have one thought… “how did I come up short?” — Coach Burgess


We’ve all seen them.

The quotes. The memes.

“Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.”

“Leap, and the net will appear.”

“If you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

I’m calling myself out on this one. Who has two thumbs and went head-over-heals into the “Fitspo” movement? This guy.

Part of it is just in my genes. I’ve been a dreamer for as long as I can remember. And I’ve been fortunate in manifesting a lot of those dreams into reality.

Grinding out success on the football field in high school, and then walking on at my dream college… climbing the ladder from intern to program director at one of the top training facilities in the country… losing weight to do a triathlon and some 5k’s and 10k’s… gaining weight to compete in powerlifting and strongman competitions… and I could go on. The take home message: I’ve been wired almost my entire life in a way that when I truly set my mind to something- truly believe- I’m going to stop at nothing to get it done.

I’ve been training and coaching people now for nearly a decade, and I can definitely say that I’ve thrown myself into my career. Surviving football at the D-1 level taught me one thing: you can always do more. Work harder. Longer. Later. More. So that’s how I approached coaching, especially over the last 4 years. Having read the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Dr. Viktor Frankl back in 2009, one particular message has meant a lot to me:

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”

My “cause” has been helping people, and I felt like I had found my happiness in assisting others in the achievement of their goals and dreams.

Yet despite the professional success I was experiencing, something started to feel off. An interesting thing started to happen…

My dreams began to shift.

Having been blessed with the opportunity to train athletes, business folks, and “regular” families alike, the importance of putting down roots and starting a family of my own began tugging at my heart. In getting to know people wildly successful in so many different areas, I began to realize that, at least to me, building a family is TRUE success.

The final part of Dr. Frankl’s quote started standing out to me in stark contrast:

“Happiness…must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of… one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”


A really interesting thing happens when you do finally step out on that ledge.

You find the best of yourself, no doubt. Necessity is the mother of all invention, so when you finally decide to cross the threshold, you’ll discover things about yourself that you never even knew. It’s almost like building an airplane while flying it- you have no choice but to learn.

But if you aren’t careful, you can very quickly run into the worst of yourself. Bad habits that have been kept at bay for years can creep back in.

I know this now because I can say I’ve lived it. It was mind boggling to find myself afraid to get out of bed in the morning. I’ve been a “go-getter” for the better part of my life. Sure I’ve had my doubts and struggles along the way, but when I truly… TRULY… set my mind to something, it would get done. Simple as that.

Yet hear I was, struggling to even rip the sheets off and put my feet on the ground.



But honest.

So I forged ahead. I spent the better part of last year forcing myself out of bed, putting one foot in front of the other, and trying to build my business from scratch.

And it got rolling. Clients were improving. Teams were improving. People were succeeding. Teams were winning.

But it just wasn’t enough. Trying to do everything by myself, being afraid to ask for help, and serious financial instability doomed me from the start. The tipping point I’d been working towards was finally reached, but it went the wrong way: when you finally have to choose between your business and keeping a roof over your family’s head, things get messy.

The messiness, in my situation, resulted in losing the lease at the gym I was working out of. I’m well accustomed at this point in my life to take adversity head-on… I’ve lived a privileged life, but I’ve also seen my fair share of shit. Yet I’ve found a way to keep going. I’d be lying, though, if I said that this wasn’t a blow that at least knocked me down to the canvas.


Another interesting thing happens when you put yourself out there. Call it karma, call it “the golden thread,” call it divine intervention, or whatever else tickles your fancy. But I’ve found that when you point your compass in a particular direction close to your heart, things start falling your way. You meet people that connect with your direction. You discover things to help you along your path. And so on.

And once I committed to this new direction, a funny thing happened to me.

I met an amazing woman.

This amazing woman is smart, quick-witted, persistent, ambitious, resilient, and possess an inner strength that makes her one of the strongest people I’ve ever met…. and I can quite literally say that I’ve met some of the strongest people on this planet.

She also has two beautiful little daughters, ages 5 and 6.

And a few weeks ago, we were able to share in the joy of having a son of our own.

Sneaking in a much needed nap with the little man

You see, despite all the challenges that this year has brought forth, I can honestly say that I’ve been blessed with the one thing I wanted the most: a family I can call my own, putting down roots in Colorado.

With this blessing, though, comes an obligation.

A duty.

It’s my responsibility to put a roof over our head. To put food on the table. To put clothes on our backs. So by the grace of God, in a very short time after losing the gym I was thankfully able to land a job working as a roughneck on an oil rig.

And so began a very new chapter in my life.


“But finally I’ve learned this: if you’re too careful, your whole life can become a fucking grind.” — Mike McDermott, Rounders

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice really: get busy living… or get busy dying.” — Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption
Andy Freedom

Here’s a little footnote in the personal history of Ryan Burgess. After trying out for the football team at Colorado State in the Spring of 2003 (I successfully walked-on then, after having missed the cut during fall tryouts), I came back to my room and passed out watching my favorite movie, “The Shawshank Redemption.”

I will never forget that nap. I was practically in a coma from having put so much physical and mental energy into that second effort, but literally was shaken awake when 2 of my buddies came running into the room to wake me up and let me know that I had actually made the team.

I’ve always been a big fan of redemptive stories/movies. Something about experiencing triumph after having to climb your way back up the mountain speaks to me. It encapsulates the human condition- life isn’t so much about what happens to us, it’s how we respond to what’s happening. So as I have in the past, I’m committed to continuing my own personal script along that path.

I used the word “Detours” above for a reason. While I wanted to use this post to share a lot of important updates, I also wanted one message to come across loud and clear: I will not quit. I will not give up. I will not be discouraged.

I was put on this earth to Coach. And I will find a way to continue to do that.

I made a choice last year to put family first. But that doesn’t mean quitting on my passion. So while I have a duty to provide for my family, I also have a duty to continue serving others. Coaching, training, and helping people become THEIR best is a very special thing to be a part of, and quite frankly, it’s what I know I was born to do.

Sometimes in life you simply need to find a way.

So by securing the job on the rig, I’ll be able to keep pressing forward. With a 2 week on/2 week off schedule, people willing to help me with the gym, and finally having the courage to ASK for help, WE will advance.

It’s been far too long since I’ve communicated with many of you, and for that I apologize. As you can now see, there have been a lot of things going on “behind the scenes.” Thank you all for your continued support and belief. If my “script” has proven one thing during my 30+ years on this earth, it’s that every failure, set back, or detour has turned out to be a launching pad for a subsequent success. There’s no reason to think that this will be any different.

Because after all, if you thank you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.


Coach B

February 2nd


Embrace The Grind

**I posted the below message on Facebook yesterday, and the response has been amazing. Even though I directed it to people in the “Fit Biz”, there’s an important message here for EVERYONE to take home.

So do yourself a favor: take a few minutes out of your day to check it out, and then help spread the message by sharing it with the hashtag #EmbraceTheGrind. Keep hustlin’ folks.**

Attention all young personal trainers, strength coaches, etc… here are 3 brutal truths about the “Fit Biz” that I just had to share. I love what I do, but there are some serious misconceptions that can mess up a lot of younger aspiring trainers/coaches if they don’t open their eyes.

This weekend I got a message from a former athlete I coached with the following question: “Is it possible to make a living being a fitness educator now that the market is so flooded? It’s crazy! A friend of mine wants to go all the way with it and I was thinking about it too, but I need to know if it’s worth my time”

Here was my response:

1) Making a living is a GRIND in any field. Those who are willing to work the hardest, learn the most, and then act on what they learn are the ones who separate from the pack. The problem for most people seeking success in the fitness field is that they buy in to the myth of it being fast/easy money plus a lot of time freedom right at the start. That’s bullshit, and the ones who are successful in this business know that. Yes, there are things you can do to work smarter and more efficiently, but make no mistake about it: if you want to succeed in this business, just like in anything, you are going to have to work for it.

2) Competition is high in EVERY field. I want you to go outside and start looking at how many offices for insurance agents you see, car dealerships, fast food restaurants, coffee shops, etc. While successful entrepreneurs do find segments of markets that are untapped, they often *initially* make their money by going after something that already exists and just improving on it. Wrap your mind around this one: Google came around many years after other search engines. They just simply found a way to do it better. Being first is cool, but being better wins.

3) Any time you enter a “labor of Love field” (a field filled with people who generally enjoy what they do and aren’t going to be chasing a dollar as their primary motivation), you have to be that much more willing to put in some serious work to climb that ladder. It is VERY crowded at the bottom b/c so many people want to pursue their “passion.” The great thing about that for you, though, is that passion by itself isn’t enough- you have to be willing to fight and work. And if you are willing to fight through the bottom, it can shake a lot of the dead weight loose, b/c people eventually realize that they’re going to have to earn their success and this business isn’t just working out all day and making your own hours.

And most importantly: if reading those “truths” excite you as opposed to scare you, then you’ve got a chance to make it in this business.


Coach B

August 26th


Lessons from my Dad

Today is my dad’s 59th birthday, which means Father’s Day in my family isn’t over just yet.

My Dad is a man of immense wisdom and knowledge, but like many “old school” dads, he’s also a man of few words. In his own special way, though, he has still been able to pass his wisdom and knowledge on to my brother and I.


So this year I felt the best way to honor him during “his” week was by sharing with you my “Top 4 Bob Burgess Lessons.” With a love for the game of Trivial Pursuit and the well deserved nickname of Mr. Brittanica, my dad apparently knows a lot of stuff about stuff, and dropping some knowledge about the game of life is right up his alley.

Lesson 1: Do what you love…
For my entire life my dad has been involved in the construction industry. While his title has changed a few times throughout the years, you can tell very quickly within a few minutes of meeting him that he has a passion for all phases of construction. “Status” or “Title” are secondary- he simply loves what he does.

We only get one go at life. And no matter how much you want to ignore it, “work” is going to make up a large chunk of that life. So why spend all that time doing something that doesn’t bring you joy?

Lesson 2: …but don’t forget to work your ass off
No matter how idealistic my brother and I got, my Dad was always quick to remind us to keep a foot grounded in reality. He taught us first hand that there are plenty of days where work is definitely less than fun, and plenty of tasks/obligations that aren’t enjoyable… BUT if you’re willing to push through those days and, you know, actually do work, then the rewards are well worth the effort.

This is an incredibly important lesson. The concept that pursuing your passion means “you won’t have to work a day in your life” is complete BS. It takes a tremendous amount of hard work, ingenuity, and persistence to see your dreams to fruition.

I’ve seen a lack of willingness to work ruin the potential of plenty of athletes, trainers, and coaches. Getting where you want to in this world is going to take a ridiculous amount of effort, and you can never afford to forget that.

Lesson 3: Be Yourself
My dad is unapologetically who he is. He knows that he’s not going to please everyone, or make everyone happy, and that’s just fine with him. He’s loyal and loving to his family and friends, but he never tries to be something he isn’t.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in this world is trying to be something you
aren’t. Work at being the best version of yourself, not a second rate version of somebody else.

Lesson 4: Never Stop Learning
Despite all the support I could ever ask for, athletics were of secondary importance in our house. Our education was extremely important to my dad, but the cool thing is that this wasn’t just limited to school. We were encouraged to read, explore, and learn as much as possible outside of the classroom too.

This wasn’t something he just expected of my brother and I either. He carried the torch himself. My dad always seemed to be learning something new, even going so far as happily playing tour guide whenever we traveled, somehow teaching us the history of places he’d never even been to before.

Intelligence isn’t something you’re born with. You gather and cultivate it over time. And education isn’t something meant to be confined to the hours and years we spend in school. You can always learn something, and you can always grow, no matter who you think you are or what you think your limitations are. I truly hope that I learn something new on my last day on this earth, and that’s a lesson that I can directly attribute to my father.

Thanks for everything Dad, I love you!

P.S. In honor of Father’s Day and my Dad’s 59th birthday, Coach King and I are offering a 48 hour special on our interactive youth football training program. Launched in December of last year, “Pigskin Prep: The Definitive Youth Football Training Program” is redefining how young athletes prepare for sports and positively changing the lives of kids around the country.

—> Click here to access the Pigskin Prep “Father’s Week” Special <---

Through Thursday 6/19 Pigskin Prep will only be $59, marked down from it’s normal price of $119. That’s over 50% off the normal program price, so be sure to take advantage of it while it lasts!

If you’re not familiar with Pigskin Prep, please Click Here to learn everything you need to know about the program, and you’ll still be able to access the Father’s Week Special.


Coach B

June 17th




The Summer Camp Conundrum

Summer is often a very hectic time for young athletes and their coaches. With camps, training, and tournaments, it can be very challenging to navigate the summer break. I addressed these challenges as well as sharing 5 tips to get the most out of your summer time training.

The Summer Camp Conundrum
Summer Camp


Coach B

June 12th




No GHR, No Problem

While I think it’s awesome that the good ole glutes have finally gotten some recognition in recent years, we can’t neglect our all important hamstrings. The hammy’s play an instrumental role in the healthy and optimal function of our body, specifically the two joints the muscle crosses: the knee and the hip.

Hammy Love

Technically speaking, your hamstrings are a muscle GROUP consisting of three muscles (for those keeping score at home, those 3 muscles are the Biceps Femoris, Semitendinosus, and Semimebranosus). While each one serves its own special function, they are considered a group because they are designed to work together. Looking specifically at athletic function, the hamstrings:

   1.) Primarily control lower leg swing in sprinting with an eccentric contraction.

   2.) Assist the glutes in hip extension in sprinting, jumping, and lifting with a    concentric contraction.

   3.) Counteract shear force on the knee, limiting exposure to ACL injuries. Since we’re talking about athletic populations (note: this includes you, weekend warriors), we also need to step outside of the sagittal plane. Hamstrings play a huge role in deceleration/acceleration in the frontal and transverse plane, especially when talking about diffusing stress on the ligaments/tendons of the knee. For a more visual description of what I’m talking about, just picture shuffling one direction then turning back 90 degrees and sprinting to where you started, like a suicide in basketball, or for you football fans, think of the changes of direction in the “Pro Shuttle” at the NFL Scouting Combine. This type of movement puts incredible demand on the hamstrings, but unfortunately it’s something a lot of people tend to forget.

Strong hamstrings lead to explosive change of direction

Now that we have identified hamstring function, how can we improve it? First step is getting them STRONG. Given all their jobs listed above, hamstrings need to be able to receive, transfer, and produce incredible amounts of force. High demand = high responsibility. As Jim Wendler once said, “there’s no such thing as being quad dominant; people are hamstring weak.” Traditional barbell exercises such as sumo stance deadlifts and stiff leg deadlifts are great options for building strong hamstrings, but these are both predominately hip dominant moves. It is for this reason that the Glute Ham Raise/Glute Ham Developer has long been a fan favorite of strength coaches and strength athletes, as it requires a much greater degree of knee flexion while simultaneously requiring hip extension. Despite how awesome these machines are, there’s only one problem: you typically only find GHR’s in college/professional athletic facilities and powerlifting gyms. What can you do if you don’t have access to one?

In addition to the deadlift variations mentioned above, you can hit the hamstrings with a simple pair of sliding furniture movers and get some brutally effective work done that will definitely improve hammy strength and function. Check out the video below featuring a 3 exercise progression using a pair of these sliders; this is a progression that any athlete can at least start today. Remember we want to build from the ground up, so for this progression we’re going to focus saggital plane and eccentric control first, then build from there. In a few weeks I’ll be doing a follow up on this with more advanced movements, so stay tuned. In the mean time, stop whining about not having the right equipment and go drop $10 at a hardware store to start getting stronger today.

October 2015
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