Sergeant Tony's Blog

Archive for April, 2017

The Fitness World Is Setting You Up For Failure — 4/26/2017

Apr. 26th 2017

Do you struggle with not feeling good about your body, your progress, and your results in the gym?

Chances are you’re looking at the wrong goals, and because of this you are constantly feeling unaccomplished, which leads to feelings of failure and never getting to where you want to be, it becomes extremely challenging to motivate yourself.

Does this sound familiar?

All those people in magazines, at competitions, and filling Instagram with their awesome workout pics are the small percentage of the population who are intrinsically motivated. Who are able to suffer and sacrifice based on some internal psychology. What’s important to note is that the majority of the world is not like this, maybe YOU are not like this, AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!

Most people suffer along thinking: Why can’t I be like them? Why can’t I like fitness and working out? Why is this so hard for me? What is wrong with me? Will I ever get to my goal? Why don’t I have abs? Why am I even doing this?

What is the secret?

The secret is to truly change your entire mindset when it comes to your health and fitness. You have to change your goal. You have to change your understanding of what fitness is, and only then will you become successful.

First off, success is not just about losing weight, looking a certain way, or fitting into smaller clothes. These are not good goals; these are byproducts of adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Secondly, your fitness isn’t a 6-week program. If you think you can achieve a healthier lifestyle in 6 weeks, it means you think you only need to commit to your fitness for six weeks and you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

What is success?

Success is participating in regular fitness and physical activity until you finish your program.

When do you finish your program?

When you die.

This is the secret to fitness.

What have you been told by fitness marketing over the years? Decide to ‘make a change’ and fit into different clothes or look a certain way or lose X number of pounds and then embark on a regimented program to get to those “goals.”

We forget that humans are motivated by the now. Not by things in the future. So, if your goal is to drop 2 sizes or to lose 15 pounds, every day before you hit that goal you have failed. Every day. Hence the proliferation of ‘quick fix’ programs and ‘4 weeks to a new you’ sales pitches!

Traditional fitness marketing is constantly trying to get you there faster, so you feel accomplished.
But rarely do people have the time, energy, coaching, or drive to do what it takes to hit that goal in a fast enough time period to have them feel accomplished. Those people I mentioned above who are able to accomplish this — that small minority who are on the magazines, go to the Olympics and compete in advanced challenges, they are the MINORITY who are able to be motivated by long-term rewards.

Note: minority.

So, what can you do as you struggle with this?

You are doing it.

You have taken your valuable time to read this message, and the next step is to reach out to a community and coaches for support. This is step number one. Humans are social creatures and need support.

Next, you MUST reframe your idea of what success is. At our brick and mortar business, and with our online business we promote the same message — frequency of training leads to success!
Frequency of training is THE only goal you should EVER be focused on. Add physical activity to your lives daily, and focused fitness to your life 2-7 times a week.

The little things all add up. Yes, take the stairs instead of the escalator. Chop your vegetables for dinner instead of buying pre-chopped. These are your daily physical activity goals. Then do a focused training program 2-7 times a week depending on what you can fit into your life.


What did we tell her? You just accomplished your goal. YOU ARE a success.

Will this make someone drop a size by next week? No.

But if a person continues incorporating training and more activity into their life over the next 20 years – I PROMISE you that it will have a huge impact. They will be able to hike, travel, play with their kids and grandkids, and enjoy life!

If you try a 6-week program and drop 15 pounds and then stop doing fitness (which over 85% of people who have short term goals find themselves doing) then 20 years from now you will be doing the exact same thing; trying to figure out how to find motivation and how to hit your short-term goals.

Stop the cycle.

You have to be active until the end of your ‘program,’ which means the end of your life!
There is literally NOTHING more important than that. Nothing.

So, don’t stress if one week you only train once. That’s ok. Next week hit two workouts. Over 50 years that won’t matter. Regular and consistent physical activity is everything.

If you can recognize this and truly change the way you look at fitness and health you will have a better life. Seriously, I promise you.

How do you deal with your current struggles? One step at a time. One day at a time. One flight of stairs at a time, and set your new goal and timeframe – forever!

(This post originally appeared in Huffington Post Canada. On Fridays, I don’t ask if you lost weight. On Fridays, I don’t ask you if you’re using heavier weights? On Fridays, I ask how many times that week you were on the Quarterdeck. I do that on purpose. This article explains why.)

— 30 —



Many thanks to those who brought and invited friends to come this month. Thanks, everyone!


Our next MT. FUJI WORKOUT will be Tuesday, May 16th & 23rd.


What would you do if money were not an issue, fear were not a factor, and failure were not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!



Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

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“Watermelon, Watermelon, Watermelon Rind …”

Apr. 22nd 2017


My professor asked the class last night about scoreboards. “How do you keep score in your life, in your profession, in your organization? How do you know if you’re winning? How do you define ‘winning’?”

Who can forget Charlie Sheen’s crazy video rants from a few years ago? “WINNING!” became a catchword for a while, said in Charlie’s tone of delivery. Though we repeated it sort of as a joke because Charlie clearly was NOT winning at the time.

In his book, “The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose,” Matthew Kelly said: “Albert Einstein wrote, ‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’ The question I have for you at this point of our journey together is, ‘What is your genius?'”

I have to admit, I keep score when I play sports, play chess, and engage in thumb wars. Outside of that, I’m not too competitive. I lived happily and successfully in a Marine Corps barracks, eating in a Marine Corps chow hall, and driving a horrible little 4 cylinder Mustang II. What you live in, where you eat, and what you drive is of zero importance to me.

I don’t judge you on those things. I judge YOU on how I judge MYSELF. How do I know if I’m “winning” or if I’m successful?

For me, it’s the answer to a few simple questions: “Did I live with passion today? Did I help someone become healthier, fitter, or happier today? Did I make someone laugh today? Did I make someone think today? Was the corner of the world I live in made better by what I contributed to it today? Did I learn something new today?” If I can answer “yes” to those questions, then for me, that’s winning. For me, that’s success.

In a conversation I had with some boot campers last night, I was reminded that our fitness experiment is a “superior product” because we’re the only program that addresses ALL FIVE aspects of fitness: 1) Muscular strength and stamina, 2) Cardio-respiratory strength and stamina, 3) Flexibility, 4) Balance, 5) Agility. And though it’s not recognized by exercise science, I like to add 6) Comedy.
Some programs are heavy on weight lifting (no pun intended), others are cardio intensive, and still others are all about flexibility or balance. But there is no other program in our corner of Memphis that does what we do. And for me, that’s winning! That’s success!

I like what Steve Jobs said in his commencement address at Stanford: “Your time is limited; so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Living with intention, living conscientiously, and keeping score my way is how I approach life. How do you know if YOU are winning? How do you keep score?

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Going Native! — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s blog post for 4/19/2017

Apr. 19th 2017

It turns out that I’m bi.

Who knew?

I took some graduate level cultural anthropology classes when I lived in Richmond, Virginia just before I moved to Japan. The University of Richmond professor challenged us to think about the process of cultural expression, culture shock, cultural differences, cross-cultural exchange, cultural conflict, cultural acquisition, and ultimately becoming bi-cultural.

If I was going to live long-term in another country and immerse myself in the culture of that country I had to become something of an amateur cultural anthropologist. I had to understand academically what I was about to know experientially.

The Professor cautioned that becoming bi-cultural comes with a price. There are pros and cons, we were told. One of those cons would be a constant longing. “When you’re in your adopted country you’ll miss your home country,” he said. “And when you’re in your home country you’ll miss your adopted country.”

Ashley asked me recently if there were things about Japan that I didn’t like or that irritated me. Living in Japan was one of those epic times in my life that has shaped the man I’ve become. And mostly, she’s only heard me speak lovingly of Japan and my 10 years there. So she was curious if there were things I didn’t like as well. And of course, there are.

I hated that so many Japanese men smoke and that their culture, at the time, seemed to have a laissez-faire attitude toward it. There were no “no smoking” sections in restaurants and coffee shops.

Things in Japan are expensive, about double the cost of things here.

Everything in Japan takes time. I used to say that the entire country swims in molasses and paperwork. Have to renew your driver’s license? Expect it to take all day. If you’re lucky.

I could go on. Every place has its pros and cons. I might still be living in Japan had it not been my father’s terminal cancer that brought me back to the States.

One of the things that impressed me about the Japanese people was their resilience and their commitment to doing their best or doing their duty. They have a word, “ganman,” that I really like. There really isn’t a good English word that translates the meaning of ganman. And like most words, context tells a great deal about what a word’s nuances are supposed to convey. And context is everything in Japanese.

The verb form of ganman could have a casual meaning of “do your best,” or “good luck.” For example, before a child plays his piano recital his parents will say “ganbatte kudasai.” Meaning, “please do your best.” “Good luck” in that case would be a pretty good translation.

In the days following the tsunami and flood in 2011, there were 50 workers who stayed on at the doomed nuclear reactor in Fukushima. A reactor that threatened to become a meltdown with an almost Armageddon-like effect on the Japanese people and the environment that would be felt for decades to come.

These workers, knowing the risk to themselves personally, did not abandon their posts. They knew that if they didn’t stay that a nuclear disaster was inevitable. They also knew that they would more than likely suffer and die because of their exposure to such high concentrations of radiation.

The wife of one of those workers was interviewed on Japanese television. She was asked about her husband, with whom she’d just had a telephone conversation. They wanted to know how he was and how she was holding up. Calmly, but visibly shaken, she explained that he was fine and that he was doing his duty. She said that he had explained to her that he was prepared to die in order to prevent a disaster. He was prepared, if necessary, to make the ultimate sacrifice for his country. This was an engineer speaking, not a soldier in combat. But none of what he said was surprising to the Japanese interviewer. And I dare say that it wasn’t surprising to the 127 million Japanese who watched that interview. I watched it with tears in my eyes.

Japanese people expect everyone to do their best, from the counter worker at McDonald’s to the Prime Minister. (If you ever go to Japan, go to a McDonald’s and then prepare to be amazed!) Japanese adults don’t complain or whine. Everyone is patient. There are no riots or looting after an earthquake, hurricane, or tsunami. Everyone knows that everyone is in the same boat and that everyone has to pull together and work as a team for the benefit of all.

When asked what she told her husband, the wife said that she told him “ganbatte kudasai.” She did not tell her husband, who would most likely become a casualty himself, “good luck.” In that context the meaning is much more like this: “please do your duty to the very best of your ability, do your very best to accomplish success for yourself and for all of us who are dependant on your bravery and courage. Do not give up. Never give up. Do not fail to persevere. Do not do anything that would bring shame or embarrassment upon you or your family name.”

There is a deep sense of honor and duty, as well as shame and failure in the Japanese people.

During World War II, there weren’t many Japanese prisoners of war. Advancing Marines in the Pacific Theater found, after months of fighting on one horrible little island after the other, that the remaining Japanese soldiers – knowing they were fighting a losing battle without reinforcements or resupply — committed suicide rather than be taken prisoner. They fought to the last man. The shame of defeat, the shame of being taken alive as a prisoner was too great to endure and death would be preferred. “My enemy will not have the pleasure of seeing my face lowered in shameful defeat.”

Failure to do one’s duty is a shameful thing to the Japanese. And the sense of shame and “losing face” is so strong among them that it would be impossible to overstate it.

On Monday, I watched the Boston Marathon on television and there in the crowd were Japanese people holding a sign to encourage Japanese runner, Suguru Osako. The sign said, “Ganbatte kudasi!” in Japanese. With the eyes of his country on him, Osako came in 3rd … in his first marathon!

Ganbatte kudasai, y’all!




This is in honor of the late Tom Farrar, my former CPA who died of a heart attack in March 2007.

I hope you can get your friends to join you. They can visit for a whole week for FREE!




What would you do if money were not an issue, fear were not a factor, and failure were not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!



Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

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Apr. 1st 2017

Goooooood Saturday Evening, Everybody!!

I hope you’ve been able to get out there and enjoy this beautiful weather! Isn’t it awesome?!

I wanted to share a part of an email I just sent a lady who joined us in February, only to have to drop out after a couple of days because of a serious illness of one of her children and then the sudden death of her father. She’s planning on coming back next week!

You may know someone to whom this might apply. Perhaps you can encourage them with this. This is part of what I wrote:

“Quite honestly, over the past 17.5 years, had it not been for USMC Fitness Boot Camp, I’m not sure how I would have survived the loss of both of my parents, a divorce, and the 7 deployments of my Marine son, still on active duty since 2000.

When we grieve and struggle, we need physical activity and exercise even more than at times of ease and comfort. Thousands of studies show the mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of exercise and I hope you’ll discover the same things as you restart!”

You have to try hard to avoid seeing published articles, almost daily, explaining the far-reaching benefits of exercise that go beyond the physical! Toward that end …


In honor of my friend, Tom Farrar, who passed away in 2007 at the tender age of 54. Tom was my accountant and a great guy, but he did NOT take care of himself.

As an Air Force vet, he enjoyed chiding me for being a Marine 24/7 and always staying in shape. “All of that running around and sweaty exercise is good for you Marines, Tony,” he’d say, “I’m more of a fine wine and dining sort of fella!”
No matter what I said, I couldn’t convince my Type-A, overweight, high-strung friend to exercise and lose weight.

Tom had a heart attack and died in his front yard picking up his newspaper one morning in the spring of 2007. He would have joked that The Commerical Appeal was responsible for his demise.

Ever since Tom’s death, a death I think was preventable, I’ve designated April as the “TOM FARRAR MEMORIAL BRING A FRIEND TO BOOT CAMP MONTH.”

You can bring a friend for a week for free! No strings attached, no pressure to join! I won’t gather their contact info, and I won’t do anything but make them feel welcome with absolutely no sales pitch, guilt, or veiled attempt to sign them up. In fact, if they decide to continue after their free week with us, they’ll have to contact me first. And I won’t be mean to them! I reserve that for YOU! 😉

You guys aren’t clients or members; you’re family and friends to me. So thank you for your continued support. If the program has been beneficial to you, invite a friend to join you for a week, especially a sedentary friend. Let them come and enjoy a week on the Quarterdeck at no charge!

If you no longer live in Memphis, but your friends and family are still here, send them to me for a FREE WEEK!

If you’re injured and unable to exercise with your friend, go ahead and send them to me. You don’t have to be with them. Your referral will be enough.

And if you’ve been in Turdville and need to get back on the Quarterdeck, c’mon! I promise NOT to guilt you or give you a hard time! I don’t care if you’ve gained weight or you’re out of shape. Don’t be embarrassed! I’m not going to shame you or make you feel bad. I’m always so happy to see you! You’ll be met with a hug or a hearty handshake and a “welcome home” reception!

Since I don’t advertise, you guys are my sales staff, so please share this post and tag your friends in the comments.

Have a GREAT weekend! I’ll see you Monday, a new quarter with some changes in the routine!

Sgt. Tony

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