“Take My Hand”, Photo by Joseph Chan on Unsplash

At this time two years ago, I was getting ready for my first Spartan race. Slightly terrified of what was to come, I’d been training for months. Since I didn’t really know what it would be like, I was just going on recommendations from my friends and the Spartan website. In the end, I was challenged, I was pushed, I beat most of the obstacles, and yes, I did burpees. Oh, yeah, and I freaking loved it!

Last year, and again this year on June 1, we have taken first and second-timers out with us at the Chicago Super, and shared the experience. Both times, I’ve heard and seen the nerves from them – the same nerves I felt before (if I’m being honest, the same nerves I still feel on race day). With the unknown sitting before them, they are putting their faith, their trust, in us to challenge them but not overwhelm them.

This is something we take seriously, and frankly I’m honored to get that trust. I want them to know that we’re going to help each other through the race, and that we start together and finish together. We won’t put them in a situation that they aren’t capable of handling, but we will challenge them to beat their fears. And, in some rare cases, we may threaten each other with forced compliance. (I’m not saying I DID tell Amy I would drag her over the fire jump by her hair – that she was finishing one way or another – but I’m not denying it either!)

Who Do You Trust?

There are plenty of jokes out there about fitness instructors, but the reality is a good trainer knows you better than you know yourself. They know when to push, when to encourage, and when to tell you to suck it up.

In turn, we trust them to challenge us and help transform us into our desired end product. Those are the ones that get us coming back to every class, every meeting – the ones who believed in us before we believed in ourselves.

My co-founder Amy loves to tell the story of when she began this phase of her fitness journey. There was a trainer who would challenge her to go harder, lift heavier, run faster. Amy would respond, “I can’t” and the answer was always, “You can! You just don’t know you can.”

When all is said and done, there’s the rub. We can learn to trust our family, our friends (even that crazy friend who talks us into doing ridiculous things – every time!), the trainer who knows how to get us to the next level – but in the end, we have to learn how to trust ourselves.

Trust Me, You Should Trust Yourself

Commit yourself. Set a goal, create that challenge, and surround yourself with the people who push you to be your best. If you are short a few of those, drop me a line at karl@1dosf.org or join us at Team 1DOS. We will stand with you, whatever your goal is!

Once you have the target and the support system, go to work. Trust your trainer, trust your plan – and trust yourself. You CAN do it, you just don’t know you can.


We know you can, though, and will help you get there. Follow the plan, put in the work, prepare yourself properly to avoid injury, and I will see you at the fire jump.

This time is different. This time, you are prepared. This time, you have us with you. You aren’t swimming alone.

This time you’ve got nothing to lose
You can take it, you can leave it, whatever you choose
I won’t hold back anything
And I’ll walk away a fool or a king

Billy Joel, “A Matter Of Trust” 1985