CKO Success Story (Taryn Coakley)

I have a love/hate relationship with excuses, on one hand I despise excuses because it is a form of self-sabotage, and nothing positive ever comes from an excuse, an excuses just stalls progress. On the other hand, it can be very amusing to hear some of the “justifications” people come up with to get out of working out. Here is a true story about the most creative excuse I have ever heard:


Former Member – “My car was broken into and my gloves and handwraps were stolen.”

Me – “Wow! Are you OK? Did they take anything else?”

Former Member – “Yes I am fine, they just took my gloves and handwraps.”

Me “Glad you are OK.”

Former Member  – “Yes, well I think I need to cancel my membership because I am still traumatized by the whole event and the thought of buying new gloves and handwraps (value $18) will trigger my memories of this haunting event.”

Me – (Speechless) “um…Ok… um…I understand…”

So to recap, this former member was not hurt, did not see the “thief”, and nothing else was stolen (just her $13 pair of gloves and her $5 handwraps) but apparently that was enough to prevent her from ever taking a kickboxing class again. Look, I don’t know if her car was actually broken into or not, but either way I give her credit for coming up with the most ridiculous excuse I have ever heard.

So while I hear excuses everyday it is very refreshing to meet someone who is not about excuses only about actions. About 3.5 months ago Taryn Coakley walks into the gym and asks about a gym membership and personal training. Taryn goes on to tell me that her husband is in the United States Air Force and how she is so excited 😉 to be moving to the lovely state of Alabama in 3-months . She then says, “I don’t have much to do right now so I want to train and get in the best shape possible during these last 3-months here in Seattle, do you think you can help me”?

Garett and Taryn

Taryn, after her last class

Here is why Taryn is awesome. If you know anything about excuses, she is sitting on a “gold mine”. See the number 1 excuse is I can’t afford it, but the “I maybe moving” excuse is definitely in the top 5. Did you catch the key word? Maybe! Yes people will not sign-up for a gym membership on the off chance they maybe moving in the next 3-9 months. Well for Taryn, there was no “maybe”, her husband had military orders and she would be gone in three months but instead of saying “what’s the point”, like so many others, she took the opportunity to train as a hard as possible before moving.

When people tell me they maybe moving in 3- 9 months my thought is always the same, “OK, but what are you going to do until then”? It is very common for people to think that it is “not worth it” to start something new if they will be leaving. But unfortunately that could not be further from the truth. Because unless you have been living under a rock, you know, that there never is, or ever will be a perfect time to start anything, be it your health journey, starting a family, or a business, the time is NEVER right.  Because nothing in the world is guaranteed, you could lose your job tomorrow, you could get hit by a bus next week, or be abducted by aliens next month. All we have is this moment, all we have is NOW. So what are you going to do NOW? What are you doing TODAY to be the best version of yourself? Don’t wait, be like Taryn, and make the most of the time you have, because we never no what is around the next corner (or if they even have gyms in Alabama)…

So in 3-months Taryn lost 3.25 inches off her body, with 1.75 of those coming off her waist. Also despite her fear of failing the fitness test, she improved in all aspects of the test, which means she is now a stronger, healthier, and more capable version of herself. Check out the interview to find out more about her story.

The Taryn Coakley interview:

July 17, 2014

July 17, 2014

Besides being a CKO Superhero, what is your day job?

When I joined CKO, my husband and I knew that we were moving to Alabama less than 3 months later.  As a business consultant, my last project concluded in early May, so my day job was CKO classes and personal training!  Prior to being a business consultant, I was a brand and marketing mastermind for big brands such as Samuel Adams, Twisted Tea, Mike’s Hard Lemonade (are you seeing a theme here?), Starbucks, and Redbox.

Do you have any hobbies?

I enjoy cooking and my husband and I really enjoy trying new and unusual beers.  I also love to SUP (stand-up-paddle) along with basically anything outdoors.  I’m not good at sitting around and doing nothing, so I’m always on-the-go!

Taryn SUP

Taryn SUP

How did you first learn of CKO?

I was getting really bored with my normal gym routine, so I started thinking about different types of workouts that I could try.  I Googled ‘kickboxing in Seattle’ and CKO came up.  The reviews were fantastic and the first class was free, so I gave it a shot.  I was hooked on day one!

What are some of your fitness goals?

I definitely increased my strength and overall fitness ability while working out at CKO, but I can certainly keep improving.  I want to be able to bust out a bunch of pull-ups!  And it would be nice to see my abs someday (though my love for beer tends to make that goal a bit more difficult).

Taryn and her Husband Josh

Taryn and her Husband Josh

What is your favorite aspect of CKO?

The people!  I knew right away that I would have a lot of fun at CKO.  Since I wasn’t working during my tenure at CKO, I would show up a little early for class or training and try to get in a little extra social interaction.  Whether he likes it or not, Garett and I became friends.  We had a lot of fun discussing random topics.  And the other members are all so friendly and welcoming.  I really enjoyed meeting new people who were genuine and supportive.

What was the best part about your personal challenge?

I didn’t have any time to stop!  I only had about 2.5 months to make as much progress as I could, so I needed to keep grinding as much as possible.

What was the hardest part about your personal challenge?

My husband and I were away for three weeks, which set me back a bit!  I like to indulge a bit when we go on vacation, so that slowed my progress.


Specialty Beers are her weakness ;)

Specialty Beers are her weakness 😉

What motivates you to walk through that door day after day and continue to push yourself?

It’s genuinely fun to workout at CKO.  Sometimes a regular workout at the gym is really mundane, but CKO is always challenging and different.

What’s one thing you still find yourself struggling with?

I’m not a CKO member anymore because we moved away. 😦

What can we do better to help you actualize your true potential?

Open a CKO in Montgomery!!!

End of interview.

So Taryn and I did become friends and we had some awesome conversations. In fact I later realized that she likes to keep track of random quotes people say, and man, she had a list of all the crazy stuff I said over the last 3-months. I hope you enjoy these quotes as much as I did!

Garett Renon quotes as recorded by Taryn:

  • I’m not even the most in shape person in the world.
  • Jessica and I don’t even have furniture; we just do wall sits whenever we want to sit down at home.
  • Other women your size are able to do this.
  • Some people have a whole laundry list of things that they need to improve on [looks at me].
  • Straight punches are our bread and butter…even though we don’t eat bread.
  • It’s the summer of the booty.
  • [while I’m doing push-ups] I could pour my coffee onto your back and it would pool up and stay there.
  • [after a personal training session] This is another form of progress. You aren’t annihilated like you used to be.
  • [after mentioning that my lower back is sore] That’s because you don’t do bag flips correctly.
  • [after successfully doing pass throughs] Nice! Now we can actually call these pass throughs instead of drag throughs.
  • I got so cold watching you workout [Garett puts hoodie on].
  • Fridays are crazy. Today I took the 6am class, had 3 mitt sessions, and now…YOU.
  • You have a lot going for you. [pure look of shock on my face]. I say: Was that a compliment? G says: Yeah. Don’t expect too many of those.
  • Sometimes I wish I was attracted to men because women can be so crazy. Ahh, to be gay. If only I could be so lucky.
  • I mean, I’m obviously married, but I’m not ASKING anyone to marry me, you know? Who’s going to say no to marring me?
  • [after me mentioning a mistake G made during class] I think I remember that ONE mistake. Maybe.
  • [me, excited] I just did two pull-ups! G says: did you start in a full body hang? Me: no. [look of disappointment from G]
  • I want a secret room. I don’t know what I would do in there, but I want one.
  • [after watching me do ropes] well, you did that a lot better than I thought you would. Sorry for the backhanded compliment. Here’s a real compliment: that shirt looks really nice on you. [look of shock]
  • I like to have something covering me when I sleep. I don’t want the aliens to come in and look at me. I mean, if they are going to take a look at anyone it will definitely be me!
  • I put together a soul crushing workout for you today. [evil grin]
  • You may be the first person in history to do worse on the PT test after training with me. That’s good, though. I can blog about how failure is possible with Garett Renon.
  • We are going to do 4 sets of bent over rows now. Actually, not ‘we’, since you don’t like me I say that. T says: well would you want to be grouped with me on those angled push-ups? G: No. Not at all.
  • [in class] 4 body weight squats, 1 squat jump. 4 body weight squats, 1 squat jump…come on, this isn’t the Garett show!

Missing the Human Experience?

Have you ever met someone that on “paper”, seems to have it all, the career, the house, the car, the clothes, and all the toys? This person seems to have all their ducks in a row, except for one, that physical “duck”, it seems to be missing. At first glance this may not seem like a big deal, because everything else in their life seems peachy, however if you spend enough time with them, you start to notice that despite “living the dream” they are not very happy. Oddly enough, despite all their success, their life still seems incomplete, it is almost as if that missing physical “duck” is significantly effecting their overall happiness. Is this possible? Well lets see…

when healthy is absent

I want you to close you eyes and visualize/remember that feeling experienced after a great workout. I want you to focus on that amazing feeling of accomplishment. Now visualize/remember how much more energy you had through out the day. Do you remember? OK, now visualize/remember how much more relaxed you felt after the workout, remember how the stress of the day just seemed to melt away. I know you know what I am talking about, that euphoric feeling that only a good workout produces. That’s because a good workout just like drugs, or great sex, stimulates a dopamine response in your brain, which gives you an amazing natural high. In addition to having that natural high, each and every workout is making you physically stronger and more attractive, which increases your self-confidence and self-worth. Then on top of all that, exercise also increases brain activity. There is absolutely no downside to a great workout!

It's SCIENCE son!!!

It’s SCIENCE son!!!

Ok but what about the days you talked yourself out of working out. How good did you feel then? I bet you almost felt a little “dirty” for making-up an excuse. That’s a bad feeling, right? Well to get the most out of this blog post you should also focus on that BLAH feeling. You should remember that feeling of regret after missing a workout, that feeling of “I would’ve, I could’ve, and/or I should’ve. Which is a better feeling, the feeling of accomplishment or the feeling of regret? The feeling of bliss or the feeling of BLAH?

Who wants to feel blah? Life is too short, we should chase excitement instead of always settling for boredom. However if you have removed your “physical duck” you are making it much harder to become the best version of yourself. Because if your body is weak or unhealthy you are 100% missing “something” in your life. Not just a little thing, you may actually be missing up to 50% of the total human experience. 50%, yes, half of the human experience can be lost!!! Here is the truth, the human experience is comprised of two worlds, the mental world and the physical world. And the more balanced the two worlds, the happier your are, the more success you experience, and the more likely people will want to be around you. Balancing the two worlds is the only way to reach your full potential.


But despite this, many people, for whatever reason, still choose to ignore the physical world. I have heard all the excuses as to why, but one of my favorites is from the “too cool for school” hipsters, who believe that we are in the technology age and that our physical bodies are outdated and will soon be irrelevant. Their motto is, “it is better to be an intellectual weakling then a dumb physical brute”. However, no matter which way you slice it, the reality is, if you have one without the other your life is imbalanced. Sure maybe you are an intellectual genius, but I would argue that if you actually took care of your “meat wagon” you would be able to accomplished even more, see when your mind/body is balanced you become much more efficient and when you are more efficient you get more stuff done.

Trust me, I know we are in the technological age, I see technology growing at an exponential rate, and it almost seems inevitable that one day man and machine will become one. If things keep progressing the way they are; Google Glasses, will soon turn into Google Contacts, then Google Implant, than finally Google Body.  This is highly possible, just watch the documentary Transcendent man, and when this happens the game will be forever changed.

(See below video) – This wrist band plus Google glass and you are a walking computer 😉

When will this happen? I don’t know, all I know is we are not there yet. So I ask you, what are you going to do in the mean time? Why are you waiting for someone or something to “save you”. You need to learn that you have the power to save yourself. You have the power to be, or do whatever it is you want, but you need to take care of your all your “tools”. We have one body an it is our duty, as a human, to take care of it.

It is all connected

It is all connected

Think of it like this, the total human experience is represented by a car, gas represents your mind and the oil represents your physical body. For a car to be most efficient it needs gas in the tank and oil in the engine. If you refuse to change the oil, the car will continue to operate for a while, but slowly it will become less and less efficient and eventually it will break down. Yes everything eventually “breaks down” (that’s deep 😉 ) but the car without oil will consistently perform at a much lower efficiency and will breakdown much sooner than the car that is properly cared for. And a car that is inefficient or undriveable is not very useful. Ok, this is a dumb analogy, but you get the idea. Happiness and Success are based on two factors, strong mind and strong body.

So this is why exercise is so important for overall happiness because it is a bridge between the two worlds (physical and mental). It is impossible to be physically strong, without also being mentally strong. Exercise not only improves the body, it also improves the mind. Success in the physical world is a product of hard-work combined with determination, drive, discipline, and fortitude, which are nothing more than mental barriers. It is common knowledge in the physical world that the mind usually gives up way before the physical body does, so this means you can only go as far as your mind is strong. The stronger the mind, the tougher the mind, the more you can accomplish, and the is no better way to over come mental barriers than to push yourself in the physical world. We are a product of our habits and if you make it a habit to quit as soon as you become uncomfortable this translate all aspects of life. We can’t turn it on and turn it off in life, we perform like we practice and if you practice quitting as soon as it becomes hard that becomes your reality, you become defined by these actions. Have you ever noticed that the same people that play the “victim card” in the physical world, seem to always be “down on their luck” in the mental world? Things that make you go hmm…

mind control

Strong Body = Strong Mind

So stop waiting for our robot overlords to enslave us, and/or stop believing that the physical world is a thing of the past. In order to become the best version of yourself you must have a strong mind and strong body. So exercising on a regular basis makes you stronger in both the physical and mental worlds.

*Pro tip – While it doesn’t really matter what time of day you get your workout in, many benefits can be amplified if you get your workout done first thing in the morning. It is basically a biological “hack”, because our body craves physical stimulation, think of our ancestors hunting, gathering and putting in work, then at the end of the day they enjoyed the fruit of their labor. Well our brains are still wired the same way, and when you get that physical stimulation first thing in the morning you are more able to focus in the mental world because you have essentially satisfied your most basic physical needs.

In order to be the best version of yourself you must make the physical world as high a priority as the mental world. So I encourage you to find that physical “duck”  and insert back into your life.  Everyday you wake up you should strive to improve/feed your mind and improve/feed your body. It is the mind/body connection. The brain is precious cargo, so it would be in your best interest to surround that cargo with a strong vehicle. It is the yin and yang of life. Strong body = Strong mind= BEST VERSION OF YOU! Bring on 3.0!!!

Fitness Myth – Sweating

Let play fitness myth busters… As I write this it is over 70 degrees, which in the Pacific Northwest, means HEAT WAVE. This 80 degree heat wave is all people talk about, and these conversations usually lead to people discussing the best way to keep cool. Well I have a natural solution, it is called sweating. That’s right our body has a way to cool itself using evaporation. But here is where the myth begins, many people actually think they are incapable of sweating.  I hear it all the time, “I don’t really sweat that much”, or my favorite, “sweating is so gross”. Sure no one wants to be sweating while at work or on a date. But in the gym, sweating is not gross at all, in fact if you are not sweating, you are not working hard enough! It’s true, our bodies are designed to sweat, believe it or not, sweating make us human!

Yes this definitely is gross. In is not hot in anyways ;)

Yes this definitely is gross. It is not hot at all 😉

Think you can’t sweat? Well did you know that your body contains over 2-million sweat glands?  It’s true, the ability to regulate our body’s temperature effectively has been critical for not only our species survival, it has allowed us humans to thrive! In fact, the argument has been made that because of sweating we were able to rise to the top of the food chain by doing persistence hunting. Persistence hunting is a technique where our early ancestors literately chased animals to sheer exhaustion. Most wild animals are very ineffective at using sweat to regulate body temperature and as a result, they are prone to suffer from heat exhaustion very quickly. So our early ancestors would literately chase these animals for many miles during the midday heat. Eventually the animals would overheat, and just stop,”dead in their tracks”.  The persistence hunters would then walk right up to the animal and take care of business.

Jessica sweat

So to say or think that you “just don’t sweat” is false. Sweating is in our DNA, it is a part of who we are. Sure women sweat less than men but they still sweat. So here is the deal, if you find yourself not sweating during your next workout one of two things is most likely going on:

  1. You are dehydrated– The human body is comprised of about 60% water. That is a lot of water, which means that proper hydration is necessary for optimal health. So this means that being dehydrated will have an extremely negative effect on your health!  So drink drink up, just don’t drink too much!
  2. You are not pushing yourself hard enough – Let’s break it down. You are either not pushing yourself very hard (most likely) or you are broken (highly unlikely). Let’s hope that you are just not pushing very hard because that is a simple fix. However if you are in fact “broken” you are saying that you cannot do one of the most basic human functions (2-million glands not working?). That is scary. Ironically if your A/C was broken in your car you would fix that in a heart beat but if your bodies “A/C” is broken, your answer – refuse to move. Things that make you go hmm…
Time to get lucky!

Time to get lucky!

But regardless, either situation is bad and either situation is likely a major factor in preventing you from reaching your fitness goals. But sweating does more than just regulate body temperature it also:

  • Helps you expel toxins from the body
  • Improves the look of your skin by clearing pores
  • Helps kill viruses and bacteria as a result of increased body temperature
  • Improves your love life – Couples that Sweat together, stay together

So here is the challenge – first make sure you are well hydrated and then push yourself till you are drenched in sweat. Remember we have 2-million sweat glands, put them to good use. Are strong enough both mentally and physically leave a workout looking like you just jumped into a pool? I am challenging you to find out if your sweat glands are working properly!  So embrace the sweat, it does a body good. But most importantly never, ever, forget that:

Luck is a function of sweat, the more you sweat, the luckier you get!