Thursday, March 26, 2009
Keepin' It Real
One of the coolest things about our annual Summit is meeting the Team Beachbody Coaches whom I’ve worked with on the Message Boards over the years. It’s also nice to hear how many of them read this blog. I get a lot of nice compliments from anonymous readers but this year I had the best yet. Scott (I hope this is right as I was meeting a lot of people) said he appreciated my blog “for keepin’ it real”.
I was taken aback. For one, this term has become a cliché, and I try to be the antithesis of cliché. But Scott had a reason and his brief explanation made sense. In fact, it’s really the entire justification of what I do for a living. When Jon and Carl hired me to write for Beachbody—back when there were 4 employees—I wasn’t sure it was my type of gig. I write state-of-the-art fitness advice, I said, and was hesitant to pander to a marketing company for a paycheck. “You write state-of-the-art articles,” Carl said. “And if our products aren’t in line then it’ll be our job to catch up.” This I could not only live with, but live for; and it wasn’t long before I was helping create the programs I was to write about. I was hired, in fact, to keep Beachbody real. I was the “white mouse” (as one of our VP’s wife called me because I was always testing something, a supplement, diet, or type of exercise) of the office. Nothing went to the public until it had been tested by me.
When I started this blog, a few years back, I wasn’t sure what it was to become. We simply wanted to make sure that we had a presence in the new trend of viral marketing. So I started this as a place to dump content that might interest our customers but wasn’t newsletter worthy, and to record a few of my adventures. Its name, The Straight Dope, seemed to best summarize its initial theme, which was a deconstruction of marketing and media blather on health and fitness. It was also, perhaps, a pun (admittedly the lowest form of humor) on one of my favorite subjects, doping in sports.
It seems to have found its legs without too much deviation. TSD has become what I call a tertiary avenue of education of our customers. The basic level of education is our programs and articles. The second tier is our more targeted content, such as the Message Boards, WOWY, the TBB site, and my newsletter. For those looking beyond this, we offer my first person observations.
I am, and have been since I was a kid, a human lab rat. In fact, I was testing so many weird diets and supplements as a high school athlete that my mom chose nutrition as the subject of her Master’s Degree just to figure out what I was up to. It’s never stopped. I’m still exploring training theories, supplements, and diets and then test driving my body through the worst conditions I can find. It’s not always fun, in the conventional sense, but I love it, and will continue to be that guy; out there testing what the human body can endure, so you don’t have to. Real? Probably not for everyone, but it’s the real world as I know it.
above: keepin’ it real on the first ascent of white cougar.