3 Nuggets of Wisdom from 2016

By December 30, 2016Blog

The year that was 2016 marked another year of exciting growth, both personally and professionally.

I turned 29; inching my way toward the big 3-0, continued to increase my roster of incredible clients, and learned a few all-important lessons along the way.

Let’s be clear that I learned a lot more than 3 lessons this year. Hell, I may have learned 3 lessons in one day with the amount of mistakes I made. But as I take a moment to reflect on the past 12 months, I am reminded of 3 lessons that stood out more than others.

1)  Your Network is Your Net Worth*

It was the middle of an unseasonably hot summer here in Winnipeg and I was frustrated. I had put together a one-day conference; one that I was downright excited to attend. I recruited a trainer and a physical therapist from Minneapolis as well as a therapist and professor from Winnipeg.

We had it covered. The goal was to bridge the gap between trainers and physical therapists; something we desperately need in this industry.

I couldn’t get people to sign up.

Call it what you will. The sales copy was probably as sloppy as the San Fransisco 49ers’ defense, but the underlying principle was the frustrating part.

When all was said and done; I did get a good turnout at the conference, but I came to the realization that I was one of very few Manitobans interested in truly taking this whole fitness business thing to the next level.

Don’t get me wrong, we have a ton of great trainers who are looking to get better; but not many of them willing to read articles every day and write about what they do for a living.

Furthermore, I didn’t know these people who really wanted to dig their teeth in; and they didn’t know me.

I needed to find a group of like-minded professionals driving to become better and I needed to have some skin in the game to keep me accountable.

While I do subscribe to the title of this section; this one comes with a caveat. It’s true; the more robust your network, the higher your potential for income.

But, there’s also the adage that you are the sum total of the people you surround yourself with. Whether or not your network actually makes you more money is irrelevant; they will drive you to become better than you were (and your net worth will then increase if you’re smart).

First, you will see your peers doing great things. Every day, I see someone from my fitness business Mastermind group posting a great article or getting published on a mainstream website.

Second, a great network will challenge you. The members of the group I’m in are always challenging each other to different tasks and writing assignments and not one person speaks negatively of others because we’re all in the same boat.

Every single person in the group truly wants the others to succeed as bad as they want themselves to thrive. That’s what I call net worth.

2)   Win Your Morning

Structure equals freedom.

This may sound absurd, but Paulo Coelho seemed to agree.

“Discipline and freedom are not mutually exclusive but mutually dependent because otherwise, you’d sink into chaos. ”

— Paulo Coehlo

Online fitness giant Craig Ballantyne, author of The Perfect Day Formula, preaches the importance of the adage “control your morning, conquer the afternoon, then concentrate on the things (and people) that really matter”.

This made me think a little. One of the most successful online fitness entrepreneurs of my time; one of the Godfathers of this thing that I’m doing right now; thinks that it’s more important to spend your evening with the people you love than to work.

That’s big.

Usually, when you think of people at Craig’s level, you think of 15-hour days and always having a phone on their ear. You think of people that are literally married to their work.

Not Craig.

Craig is able to spend every single evening with the people he loves while still bringing in upwards of half a million a year (probably more).

The day I got back from my first “meet-up” with the RFS Mastermind – and 2 days after I heard Craig speak at the event; I followed Craig’s first piece of advice – get up 15 minutes earlier.

I had clients at 6:30 AM and instead of getting up at my usual 5:30 AM and going through my perfectly timed routine; I set my alarm 15 minutes earlier, for an ungodly 5:15 AM.

I got up, showered, brushed my teeth and got after it typing out my next article.

I typed about 350 words in 15 minutes. Over the course of a week, that’s easily a full article.

Is 15 fewer minutes of sleep going to kill you?

I’m still here.

The best part about winning your morning is that before you’ve even brewed your morning coffee; and often before anyone else has wiped the sleep out of his or her eyes; you can say you’ve accomplished something important for the day.

Chalk one up in the win column and go conquer your afternoon.

3)   The Larger The Operation; The More Systems You Need

You remember when you went from playing house league sports to the higher levels? In hockey, it was AA, AAA and eventually junior.

I noticed that every level I went up, there were more people involved in the team. It went from my friends’ dad and a couple of his buddies coaching to the addition of a manager, to the removal of a parent coach. Then came the trainers, the equipment managers, and all sorts of others that helped with various tasks.

By the time I got to playing junior hockey, we even had a dedicated “school liaison officer” who’s sole mission was to make sure the younger players were able to succeed in high school with the demanding junior schedule of 64 games plus playoffs, plus travel.

What does all this mean?

Well, if I were to ask you if you wanted a larger business or role to play within a business, I think we can agree you’d raise your hand.

And if I asked you if you thought you were capable of handling that larger business or larger role, I bet you’d say yes. I mean, come on; how many people think they’re smarter than their boss?

So what’s holding you back from reaching out and grabbing that success?

Lack of systems.

I need a system for how new clients register and how they are assessed. I need a system for building their program and measuring success.

We all need a system for how we spend our time during the day (especially if we’re an office worker or entrepreneur). We need systems for our training sessions so we can get in, get the most bang for our buck and get the hell out of the gym.

I was able to streamline a lot of these in my business this year. If you’re a fitness entrepreneur looking to do the same, check out Craig’s website and also check out Business for Unicorns.

If you’re looking to improve your training, stick around here (see below for an announcement) or go check out Eric Bach’s Minimalist Muscle system.

The key here is systemizing the things you need to do so that you can have freedom for the things you want to do.

That’s all I’ve got for today… and for THIS YEAR!

What did you learn this past year? Comment below and let me know.

I’m about to go fire up the champagne and ring in a brand new year! All the best to you and yours in 2017!


Oh… P.S. get ready for some changes to this here website! I am working on a brand new site for y’all with more hard hitting fitness info smackin’ ya in the face on the regular!

Are you sick of writing your own programs and never feeling like you're making any progress? Is your body unable to keep up with your brain when you're competing? It's time for Pain Free Performance, MSC's newest group coaching program. You'll never have to worry about your training again AND you'll have a team to compete with and learn from.


Gavin McHale

Author Gavin McHale

Online training and nutrition coach, retired semi-pro hockey goalie, and ex-skinny kid. Currently a beer league superstar, and lover of lifting heavy things, Gavin will help you reclaim that athletic, dead sexy body, and shrink your clothing budget. Because tarps are always optional.

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