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One Good Egg — 8/10/2017

Aug. 10th 2017

In the spring of my senior year of high school I lied to my mother and said I was camping with some buddies in the Ozark National Forest. What I actually did was drive two hours to Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend my first concert. I knew mom would say “no” if I asked, so I just didn’t ask.

By the spring of my senior year in high school, I no longer thought of myself as a boy under my parent’s care. I was earning my own money. Bought my own car. Paid for my own gas and insurance. Bought my own clothes. Ate 90% of my meals out, paying with my own money. Gave money to my mom every Friday when I got paid to help ends meet at home. And on top of that, I’d already joined the Marine Corps. So, I decided it was time I got a little more independent.

The concert wasn’t a big time event at all. No stadium rock show. No laser lights. No drugs being passed around. No “wooohooo” drunk chicks riding piggy back on some dude’s shoulders. I couldn’t even convince any of my pals to go with me. So I drove to Tulsa by myself to see a little known guitar player named Leo Kottke.

On the stage with Leo was a plastic chair, two microphones, and two acoustic guitars leaning on stands. That was it. I’ve been in living rooms larger than the venue he was playing that night in Tulsa.

When the concert was supposed to begin, a guy came out on stage and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, Leo Kottke!” Then Leo walked out to the cheers of a couple hundred of us, picked up one of his guitars, sat down, and started to play.

I sat on the front row and learned to hate Leo Kottke.

Let me explain that. My envy bubbled up like hatred, but it was really just acute admiration and awe. Here’s why.

Sitting to my left were two pretty college girls. I really wanted to talk to them, but I was shy and though I’d convinced myself I wasn’t a high school boy any longer, they wouldn’t have known that. They were WOMEN! And if I’d lied and said I was in college too, their next question, no matter what it was, would have revealed that I was a phony.

But LEO talked to them.

While he played his 12 string guitar!

As his fingers flew flawlessly up and down the neck of his guitar, producing unbelievable music from the 12 string, he carried on a conversation with these two girls! As if he were two different people: the musician and the conversationalist! “Thanks for coming. How are you ladies? Are you from Tulsa? Oh, you’re in college? Where do you go to college? What are you majoring in? blah, blah, fricken, blah!” He was doing two things I couldn’t do and he was doing those two things at the SAME TIME! THE SAME TIME!


Leo sings, but he’s not a particularly good singer. So I took some solace in that. At least he wasn’t great at everything! Allegedly, before he picked up the guitar he tried to play the trombone and sucked at it. So there was that.

In all truth, I sat there mesmerized and spellbound.

I’d driven all that way and lied to my moms just so I could hear him play one particular song, “A Good Egg.” I was like a kid on Christmas morning waiting impatiently for their parent’s signal that they could come in and see what Santa had brought. When at last I heard the first note of that song I knew so well, I could literally feel the muscles in my face starting to fatigue from the big grin I couldn’t suppress. I’d long since abandoned my attempt to look cool in front of these college girls. I was in the presence of greatness and just wanted to soak it all in.

After the concert, Leo hung around and talked and signed autographs. I had no pen or paper, but I did manage to meet him and babble something inane. “Mr. Kottke, sir, I er uh … well, that’s to say, um … your music … you see, uh well … I really like it.” (Oh, lord, did I REALLY just say all of that nonsense … pathetic … geez.) He probably glanced over to Security and gave them a nod in my direction, alerting them to the borderline stalker blabbering on in front of him. Leo Kottke was gracious and patient with this young runaway from Arkansas.

Leo Kottke transcended “good at something” to the level of “phenomenal at something.” It was the first time I’d been in the presence of that kind of spectacular. I knew people who were good at things, but I knew no one who was phenomenal at anything. A few years earlier, my 8th grade English teacher told me that she “expected greatness” from me. A burden for which I was unsuited to bear. I wasn’t great at anything and saw no visible means toward that end in the future.

I was an average 17 year old kid, ordinary, and unremarkable. I was an average athlete. An average, to sort of above average, student. (I had to work twice as hard to be a “good” student.) I had no talent and no means to achieve “greatness.” It wasn’t until years later that I realized there were things I could actually excel at. I could have a great curiosity. I could exercise great kindness. I could be a great friend. My sense of loyalty and duty could be great. I could have a great sense of humor. I could have a great work ethic. I could read great books. I could serve a great country.

Unlike talents and skill-sets that can fade, none of those things—curiosity, kindness, friendship, loyalty—deteriorate with time.

You might not care for Leo Kottke’s style of music, and that’s okay. There’s no accounting for taste. But you’d certainly have to acknowledge his talent. I don’t care for jazz, or country, or hip-hop, or rap, or polka, or death metal … but I can recognize the talented players in those genres. When I lived in Japan I attended several concerts featuring traditional Japanese music. The Shamisen is a Japanese banjo that’s so difficult to play that new students generally practice for months before they’re able to make any kind of noise come from it. You and I might not care for the Shamisen, but we can all admire the dedication of those who play it well, or at all.

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to have the talent and skill of those musicians, or athletes, or writers, or whatever, who seemingly are from a different planet. We call them “stars” and “super stars” for a reason. Their gifts and talents are so rare they don’t even seem human. We mortals just sit back and admire them. I own two guitars and have tried to play them over the years, but I barely sound like more than a first year guitar student.

My first night with Leo Kottke confirmed the fact that I was average, at best, and would only be granted the gift of recognizing genius without the ability to achieve it.

My mom passed away in 2012 and of course I never told her about the trip to Tulsa, Leo Kottke, sleeping in my backseat parked at a Howard Johnson’s, none of it. A few months after that concert I was on a plane to Parris Island and the Corps and confessions to mom about my solo high school road trip didn’t seem necessary after that. But I always felt bad about lying to her. I still do.

I’ve seen Leo Kottke several times since that Tulsa gig. He’s 71 years old now and still going strong. In fact, I saw him here in Memphis just last year! And he played “A Good Egg” again … for me, I’m sure!

— 30 —


Next Tuesday morning, the 5:30 class will meet at St. Mary’s track. St. Mary’s is located at Perkins and Walnut Grove.



If you’d like to pay using VENMO, you may! I’m Tony Ludlow on VENMO!

If you’re unfamiliar with VENMO, it’s a payment app for your phone (or computer) owned by PayPal and functions like a check. You can LITERALLY make a payment on your phone in less time than it takes to fill out a check! Click, click, click, done! All done!


by First Sergeant Ashley Holloway, MS, RD, LDN,
(An Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.” You could follow the nutrition advice of some Facebook friend of a friend … or you could follow the advice of a scientist.)

Ashley recommends that you read this excellent article from the New York Times.







What you get out of the workouts is determined by you.

How much do you work? How much effort you put into trying to do all of the repetitions with proper form and how much weight you’re using will determine what you get out of each workout.


It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!






Have a GREAT Thursday!

Yours in good health and fitness!

Sgt. Tony

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And Oh, So Many Startlements … 7/26/2017

Jul. 26th 2017

Screenshot 2017-07-26 15.32.07

Esquire magazine’s, “What I’ve Learned,” is one of my favorite features.

The piece isn’t written by magazine staffers. Instead it’s written by famous non-staffers, guys like Robert De Nero, Bruce Springsteen, Brad Pitt, and Colin Powell.

I’m expecting Esquire to call me soon for my contribution since I’ve reached the “Sage Age.” But until that happens I’m going to update and republish my own feature on my birthday, which was yesterday! So here’s the 2017 installment of …

“What I’ve Learned So Far, “ by Tony Ludlow, Sage.

“Son, you can do anything or be anything you want,” my mother said, “if you put your mind to it. Study hard! They can never take away your education.” I didn’t understand at the time who “they” were and why “they” would or could take anything away from me. Until I discovered that my parents grew up in the Great Depression when “they” took everything from everyone.

Education, like art, is for its own sake. Education, formal and self-styled, isn’t for employment, though employment may come because of it. Education is for learning. Learning how to think, how to appreciate, how to understand, how to process the world around us, and how to advance the human race forward. Now, more than at any time in my life, has the lack of education been more obviously detrimental to our Republic.

I’d rather spend money on experiences than things.

My grandfather—my “Big Dad”—told me that it was unnecessary to tell others “how smart you are or how much money you have.” People will know without you telling them. I was only 12 years old when he said this. At the time, I was managing my vast fortune of $8.75 in a passbook savings account at the First National Bank of Fort Smith, Arkansas. After Big Dad taught me this, I kept my portfolio information as secret as Donald Trump’s tax returns!

What he told me about money:
– The love of it is ridiculous.
– Obsession over it will ruin you.
– It can’t compensate for a lack of character.
– Opulence and extravagance are misguided behaviors, like Christian fishes on $80,000 automobiles.
– Live below your means. Even though Oscar Wilde said, “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” But I’ve outlived him by almost 15 years. So I’ll take my lack of imagination, thank you very much.
– Pay off your credit card bill at the end of the month.
– Be a good tipper.

Helping others reach their goals and ignite their ambitions is the best way to make a difference in the world.

More than what you believe, or claim to believe, more than what creeds you espouse, dogma you declare, things you consider true, or political views you hold, it’s what you do that defines you. It’s what you do that defines you. It’s what you do … that defines you. Everything else is just talk, pleasant parlor conversation, proud boasting in Sunday School, cheap talk at a cocktail party, pontificating in a Sunday sermon, chit-chat at the country club, bragging over beers, ranting on Facebook, or taking to Twitter in the middle of the night. It’s what you DO that defines you.

The universe rewards action, not intention.

Have a plan and a contingency plan and a contingency plan to the contingency plan. Be flexible. “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy,” it’s said. Sun Tzu wrote, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Women who are confident, kind, and clever are the most attractive women I know! And if they like to smile and if they have a great laugh … well, that’s the best! (Remind you of anyone in my life? Maybe … Ashley Holloway? lol) Party girls are a dime a dozen. Head cases, manipulators, and drama queens stir the pot, but they don’t represent a foundation for anything stable. They make for poor companions and even lesser friends. Same thing applies to men.

I don’t trust extremes, political, religious, or social activist.

I don’t trust people with agendas.

I have little respect for people who label others. It’s the hallmark of bullies. Calling multidimensional people by one dimensional names is lazy and stupid at best and insolent and disrespectful at worst. Most people are too complex for one label. When someone only knows one small part, maybe only 3% of who you are, but assign you a label based on that 3%, you know how shortsighted and wrong labeling others is.

Those whose friends all come from one gene pool, one interest group, one religious affiliation, one political party, or one ethnicity make me suspicious.

I don’t trust people who don’t like dogs and I don’t trust the people dogs don’t like.
How someone treats the wait staff, hotel clerks, airline representatives, anyone in the service industry for that matter … that’s who they really are.

There’s no accounting for taste.

The true measure of a man has little to do with what you can see.

Happiness is an inside job. Money can’t buy it; stuff won’t provide it; vacations won’t alter it. Who you are on Monday morning is who you are.

I admire people who live by a code, who value honor, who are discerning, who won’t suffer a fool.
I think everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, a second opportunity, and a chance to be forgiven. There are two sides to every story and every situation. No matter how flat you make the pancake, it still has two sides.

One of the hardest things to do in life is establishing boundaries to keep toxic people, and even careless people, at a safe distance. Removing people from your life is tough, it’s like a coach cutting players from the team.

I’ve learned the difference between style and substance.

Defining “enough” is the most liberating thing I’ve ever done.

Getting along with others is an essential skill. More people get fired because they’re unpleasant, hard to get along with, or just jerks with no social skills than because they’re incompetent.
When I meet someone for the first time, I fully expect to like them. New people start out with an “A” in my book.

I’ve learned that someone’s attitude, the way they process the world around them, the spirit and enthusiasm that they use to engage life, and the energy they exude everyday are more important than looks, money, beauty, or education. A good attitude will compensate for a lack in those four things.

Everyone has these three things in limited supply and they must be respected and treated with care: time, energy, and money. Don’t waste anyone’s or your own.

Not even God can change the past, so forgive yourself and move on, as best as you can … and purpose to do better. And distance yourself from anyone who prefers to shackle you to a past that you can’t change.

Find out what the right thing is to do, and then do it.

When you quit laughing it’s over.

When you quit physically moving, it’s over.

I know what I know and it’s not enough.

I’ll try and do better this year!

— 30 —




If you’d like to pay using VENMO, you may! I’m Tony Ludlow on VENMO!
If you’re unfamiliar with VENMO, it’s a payment app for your phone (or computer) owned by PayPal and functions like a check. You can LITERALLY make a payment on your phone in less time than it takes to fill out a check! Click, click, click, done! All done!

by First Sergeant Ashley Holloway, MS, Registered Dietitian, LDN

(A Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.”)

Two Common Nutrition Myths

#1: Thinking that all organic foods are healthy. Organic cookies and ice cream are still cookies and ice cream. An organic foods (or their ingredients) are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. That may be admirable, but it doesn’t automatically make it a health food or lower in calories or higher in nutrients. Read your labels! Every year the Environmental Working a Group puts out a list of 12 foods that they encourage consumers to purchase the organic varieties of.
The list for 2017 includes:
Sweet bell peppers
Cherry tomatoes

#2: Thinking that certain types of foods will help boost your metabolism. The whole idea of metabolism boosting foods is generally a myth perpetuated by hype and the excellent marketing teams of different diet products and services. Your metabolic rate is determined by your gender, height, weight, body composition, and age. While there are a few foods that may very temporarily increase your calorie burn such as hot peppers and cold water, these effects are so very small that they should be secondary weight loss strategies, not primary. The best way to increase your calorie burn is through exercise. My recommendation is USMC Fitness Boot Camp! A really awesome Marine runs it!


With the heat rising, know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.…


What you get out of the workouts is determined by you.
How much do you work? How much effort you put into trying to do all of the repetitions with proper form and how much weight you’re using will determine what you get out of each workout.
It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!



Have a GREAT day!
Yours in good health and fitness!
Sgt. Tony

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Do You Know Joe?

May. 20th 2017

Let’s make some money!
We’ll have to be a little unethical, white lies mostly, maybe a little slight of hand.
It won’t hurt anyone. Not really.
In fact, it might actually be kind of good for them.

Here’s what we’ll do.
We’ll develop a nutritional supplement.
Maybe a pill or a drink or something to eat.
It’ll have healthy ingredients.
Or at least the kind of ingredients we think of as healthy.

We’ll give our product a cool name.
We’ll make some pretty bold claims about it.
It’ll make you faster.
It’ll make you stronger.
It’ll help you recover quicker.
It’ll help you lose weight.
The claims may or may not be true.
Some people will feel better.
Some people will be faster.
Or at least they’ll think so.
More than likely it’ll be the placebo effect.

We’ll market our cool product and get well-known people to endorse it.
We’ll make a lot of money.

I don’t know if this is how the shelves get filled with the latest snake oil. (It may be worse than this.) Or the process may be slightly less benign. It depends on the product and the people.

What’s the consumer to do?

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of products sold by drug stores, vitamin shops, online stores, and friends selling stuff through hundreds of multi-level marketing companies that don’t measure up. The majority of those products are nothing more than the same kind of vitamins and minerals and other health foods that have been around for years. Some products are good sources of vitamins and minerals, to be sure. But some products just produce expensive urine. The vast majority of those products are grossly overpriced and unnecessary.

I bought my first plastic bottle of snake oil in 1977 and have been studying the claims and effects of those things ever since. What was in that bottle I bought in ‘77, you ask? The label said, “predigested protein” and was sold by a company owned by the legendary Joe Weider. (I was a young Corporal in the Marine Corps, lifting heavy and running 6 days a week, and was looking for nutrition to help me recover quickly.) If you were involved in health, fitness, weight training, and bodybuilding in the 70s and 80s, you knew about Joe Weider. He was a master marketeer, entrepreneur, salesman, businessman, publisher, and “father” of modern body building. His name was on everything you could think of in fitness and exercise. Trump probably took branding advice from Joe. But Joe wasn’t a scientist and the products that bore his name were usually little more than repackaged products already available from other sales people. But you were buying the Joe Weider name.


What exactly was in that bottle of “predigested protein”?

No one really knew. I certainly didn’t. I was no food scientist. But I CAN verify that it tasted NASTY! And I CAN verify that I couldn’t say with any degree of assurance that the product did what it said that it did. It might have worked. I couldn’t be sure. And the FDA was no help.

The FDA isn’t involved in dietary supplements. Period. Let that sink in.

There’s no requirement for the supplement industry to publish the ingredients of their product nor to prove their claims. Anyone can sell anything and call it whatever they want and make any claim they want. The companies are left to police themselves. Let the buyer beware. It truly is the Wild West in the supplement business. Snake oil in the modern world.

Every week, it seems, I see a new product introduced on social media or someone tells me about some something they’re taking or selling. It’s almost impossible to keep up. And so MANY people want me to sell it. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve told a friend or acquaintance “no” when they asked me to represent some product they stumbled on.

So, what is the consumer to do?

First of all, and this applies to everything, not just dietary supplements: get out a copy of your resume and check your areas of expertise. What does your formal higher education and experience say about what you’re an expert in? What subjects do you have a graduate or terminal degree in (a masters or doctorate)? What skill, trade, or area of research do you have 10,000 hours or more in? That is what you’re an expert in. Everything else is outside of your “wheelhouse,” not inside your “silo.” Everything else will require the consultation of those people who ARE experts. If I have a toothache, I don’t Google “toothache” to see what I should do. I go to the dentist. If I’m considering vaccinating my children, I don’t ask a Hollywood starlet for advice.

Since the FDA isn’t involved in dietary supplements, the consumer has to rely on the experts. The consumer has to do their homework and research the work of experts in the field. We have to depend on science, demand proof, and expect transparency.

Imagine that you and I want to develop a product, but we’re going to operate above board and are going to produce a genuine and effective supplement. We want to produce a product as effective as Gatorade or GU. These are some of the steps an honest developer might go through.

1) Research what the needs are in athletic performance and endurance, general health, or recovery from workouts or illness.

2) Gather experts: Registered Dietitians, PhDs in Food Science, PhDs in Exercise Science, PhDs in Human Performance, etc.

3) Secure research funding through grants and other science investments. Receiving a grant requires a lot of work and details related to your project. About 99% of all grants are intended to advance the human race forward, not make a profit for unnamed investors or stock holders. (I recently took a grant writing class and wrote two grants and can tell you that an organization or individual who receives a grant has done their homework and have convinced a panel of evaluators of the merit of their project.)

4) Develop and test the product. Over and over and over again.

5) Conduct double-blind comparison and contrast research of the product.

6) Seek out peer review research into the product.

7) Make necessary adjustments to the product.

8) Repeat #4, 5, and 6 until satisfied with the results.

9) Secure additional funding. Step 1: Apply for grants, Step 2: Ask the experts from step 2, Step 3: Seek investments from those who fund evidence-based research and science.

10) Secure patent and legal ownership of the proprietary intellectual rights.

11) Seek FDA approval.

12) Manufacture finished product.

13) Promote product through advertising and marketing that relies on science and field success, depending on the testimonials of those involved in the research, development, and assessment of the product. Since the product is designed for athletes, the testimonials would include athletes, coaches, trainers, and other sports professionals. Think Gatorade.

Anything that doesn’t rely on science and research, and doesn’t promote those things with expert testimonials is, AT BEST, suspicious. (I’m obviously impressed by products that were initially funded through grant money.) And you can almost certainly bet that a supplement or product that is as good as the claims isn’t going to be marketed and sold by a multi-level marketing company. Gatorade, developed in 1965 by members of the faculty of the University of Florida (Dr. Robert Cade, Dr. Dana Shires, Dr. John Lloyd, Dr. Harry James Free and Dr. Alejandro de Quesada), isn’t being sold by the University of Florida. In 1969, the developers entered into an agreement with Stokely-Van Camp, a canned food packaging company, to produce and distribute Gatorade. After being acquired and sold a few times since then, Gatorade is now owned by Pepsi-Co and accounts for 75% of all sports drink sales world-wide.

In my experience, if a product designed for health, fitness, and athletic performance is, after 3 to 5 years of its development and introduction to the market, still being distributed by people selling products out of their garage or in booths at expos, there’s every reason to believe that that product doesn’t do anything significant in the area of health, fitness, and athletic performance. Every pro athlete and pro sports team in the world, every college team and athlete are ALL looking for an edge and will quickly adopt any legal drink, paste, pill, ointment, bar, supplement, meal substitute, or piece of equipment that will give them that edge. Think Gatorade.

The internet has made “experts” out of people with no expertise. When you go to their websites, their education deficiencies are hidden behind adjectives and claims that mean nothing. “Life Style Expert” isn’t a real thing. Neither is “Food Enthusiast.” Nor is “Exercise Guru.” Look for graduate level degrees, earned doctorates, and post-doctorate research and experience from accredited colleges and universities. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve researched the claims of someone only to find their education is bogus and their “degrees” come from a paper-mill and not a legitimate accredited university. (There is a well-known “celebrity trainer” whose only certification was from a paper-mill in Dyersburg, Tennessee.)

Look at your resume.
If you aren’t an expert, ask one. Do your research.
Demand evidence!

Caveat Emptor!

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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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Feb. 5th 2017

It’s half-time of the Super Bowl and a good time to remind you that we’ll be working off the wings, the pizza, the Rotel dip, the pigs-in-a-blanket, and Moon Pies tomorrow on the Quarterdeck!

This week is a NO WEIGHTS WEEK on the Quarterdeck. You won’t need any dumbbells this week. All of our exercises will be body weight exercises!

February is also Heart Health month. More women die of heart related illnesses than ALL cancers COMBINED and so many of them are preventable with exercise and proper diet.

In recognition of this, you can bring a friend to Boot Camp for a week for FREE! No strings attached and no one will contact your friend. I won’t. Ashley won’t. If your friend is interested in joining, they’ll have to shoot me a message and say so! All are welcome!

See you on Monday!

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Jan. 15th 2017

Tomorrow, Dr. King’s celebration day, all classes meet! That’s me doing something for you! You’re welcome! See you on The Quarterdeck!

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SNOW DAY! 1/6/2017

Jan. 6th 2017

Memphis city schools (Shelby Co.) have just now closed. We will be standing down today. My apologies if you’ve already left your house. So very sorry. Y’all be safe out there!

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