Category Archives: Gymspiration

How Val Kilmer, Mark Wahlberg and The Tao Turned Me Into A ‘Stud’

AT AGE 16, I WAS LAZY—AND FAT. Naturally, then, when I had to choose between “Men’s Powerlifting” and “Body Mind and Spirit” during my junior year of high school, I chose the second.

And it really was PERFECT: I’d read a little from THE TAO, do a little TAI CHI, and of course: meditate, usually with this image of Val Kilmer in Top Gun stuck in my head. Guess what?

A few months later, I was training for admission to West Point.

The importance of visualization and breathing is underrepresented in fitness, but in meditation—it’s paramount. I’ve seen it first hand, training thousands of hours with clients in private sessions. But I’ve experienced it while “butchering” an aria on an audition for the LA Opera, and as an Army cadet: running the muddy fields of Fort Lewis (with a 40-pound ruck on my back)

“It’s not enough to work out and eat right. To make a lasting change, you need to reach inside, connect your mind with your body, and a future vision of who you are becoming.”

This image of Mark Wahlberg is what I chose as “my future self” back in 1997 after moving to L.A. I ‘photoshopped’ my head on Mark’s body, and printed dozens of stickers, putting them everywhere, even on the back of my license.

You don’t have to join the Army, audition for the opera, or pay a trainer to make this connection. You can start with meditation. Be ready to answer this question: what does YOUR “future self” look like?