Coach Theo and Amber



July 2016

7 Ways to Change Your Perspective, Faith, and Life


I used to have a warped sense of reality.

I used to be scared.

I used to objectify women.

I used to covet.

I used to judge rich people and obese people.

I used to think I knew it all.

I used to be afraid to speak in public.

I used to be a totally different person.

But then I filtered the noise.

People view the world and their place in it in many different ways. Ultimately, this view has a major effect on our behaviors, self-esteem, choices, relationships, and the way we live our life. Once our perspective changes, so will our life. Sometimes it does happen in an instant. Sometimes it takes a long time.

We all have default or automatic thought patterns which are influenced by the way we’ve been conditioned, our upbringings, surroundings, and what’s absorbed by our minds—both directly and indirectly, consciously and subconsciously.

I haven’t always been or thought like I do today. But just like fitness training, I’ve spent a long time training my mind. Much of it just comes down to one simple thing you need to do: #FILTERTHENOISE.

Great minds don’t just let anything infiltrate their brains. With whatever is in your control, you have to filter what you watch, what you read, what you listen to, and who you hang out with. It makes a big difference.

God will do His part to change your life around, but you also have to do yours. There are simple action steps you need to take for total life transformation inside and out.

Here are 7 Practical Steps You Can Take To Change Your Perspective, Faith, & Life:

They may seem somewhat simple, or even unorthodox, but I’m telling you from personal experience, they will totally change your mental game. I have done, do, or will continue to do all of these.  For the sake of time and the lack of time you have to read through in depth information, I will keep the explanations to few liners to simply highlight the main points.

It doesn’t mean you should never watch TV again. But if you haven’t done so yet, you should get away from it for awhile and watch what happens. You can come back to it, but you probably won’t want to for more than small doses.

Again I’m not saying you should never listen to sports talk radio or mainstream music ever again. When you become conscious of how it’s affecting you though, then you can control it better. There are just much better and more productive ways to use your time. For example, during your commute you can be silent and alone with your thoughts or listen to audio books or podcasts that are self-help, educational, and/or faith-based. The nourishment from what then penetrates your ear drums is far more advantageous to your positivity and productivity.

I say it in almost every speech I give, I never read books my entire life. Then one year I set a goal to read one book every week for the entire year, and it made such an impact on me that I still practice this habit every week. Reading keeps my gears turning and if I don’t do it, I feel like a dud. There are four main areas that I purchase books about: Faith, Family, Mindset, and Fitness/Nutrition.

When I changed my life around I had to talk to myself a lot. I know, sounds crazy. But I had a lot of negative cobwebs to get rid of so I had to seep positive messages into my brain to get that garbage out. I wrote up a personal credo that I read and recited every morning until it became such a habit that it actually still pops into my head first thing in the morning every day. It’s essentially a prayer about what I’m grateful for, what I need help with, and a request for God to use me as he should every single day I walk on this earth.

This doesn’t have to look any certain way, just start writing out from the day you were born until now and even envision the future. Plot out the pivotal moments in your life that greatly impacted you both positively and negatively to what you want people to say when they’re standing at your funeral one day. I will say this, writing out my life story was one of the most therapeutic and beneficial things I’ve ever done. Knowing where you were, where you’re at, and where you are going is a crucial road map. And trust me, share it with others. Your story does matter and people want and need to hear it.

For anyone that wants to take it to the next level in life, this step is a must. We’re talking about accountability, relate-ability, checkpoints, support, and major motivation. I meet with a few guys who mentor me and I mentor a few guys one on one. Both are necessary and both will teach you a lot about yourself.  There are all types of impact. Large group impact, small group impact, and one on one impact. Without a doubt, one on one impact has been the most powerful on strengthening my faith.

Obviously a very powerful step on changing our life’s lens is exposure to diverse populations and places. My major life turning point happened in the projects of Youngstown, Oh. I’ve done multiple week long service trips in state, out of state, and in a third world country. And my years as a social worker were invaluable in influencing how I see life today. You don’t have to go global to see that if you live in the U.S., you’re most likely very privileged. And that right there should fire you up to take advantage of all this life has to offer.


  • You’ll stay on track.
  • You’ll be authentic to who you are and who God designed you to be.
  • You’ll adopt an “I care but I don’t care” attitude which is one of the most powerful ways to make the most of life.
  • You’ll be fulfilled.
  • You’ll start making things happen instead of wishing and waiting for them to happen.
  • You’ll start giving and sharing so much love to others and in return, you’ll receive more than you can even handle.

You should probably stop wondering if any of these steps are actually going to work. Try putting one or all of them into practice and watch what starts to unfold. It’s not going to happen overnight and it’s not going to be easy. But I can guarantee you this, if you start filtering the noise today, it will be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.


Coach Theo


FROM 18:30 TO 17:49, HOW I RAN MY FASTEST 5k

Hands down the number one reason why I truly believe that I ran my fastest 5k three weeks ago at Smiles For Sophie Forever was because of THIS.

But first I need say something.

The purpose of this article is not to over simplify my secret to a fastest 5k. There are many variables that contribute to optimal performance. Many times it just comes down to being a really good day. But the purpose of this article is to drill home a really important point about something that so many people often neglect, and underestimate big time. And it’s THIS.

But first you need to hear this story.

Back in February, we were sitting in my living room with our two friends Mark and Natalie, both elite runners. We discussed how to break my goal of an 18:15 5k (the fastest I ever ran since my high school wrestling days at 119lbs was 18:30). Was it possible? What did I need to do to do it? Could it be done in less than 12 weeks with a new training protocol? The general consensus seemed to be that it was possible, but it would be really tough to pull it off.

So I put myself to the test. You can get my actual running plan for FREE right here: #4WeeksOutPlan. My focus was to hit at least three runs each week which consisted of a short sprint day, a tempo day, and a long recovery day. Bonus was to hit another 24-30 minute slow run on a fourth day each week.  Why 24 minutes? Because I’m a parent athlete and when you have kids, you can never predict the amount of time you’ll be able to squeeze in for a workout.  24 minutes just happens to be the minimum time that makes me feel complete. I would say that most weeks I was able to hit that fourth bonus run after one of our FMU workouts. *It’s important to know that outside of running workouts, I hit two bodyweight strength and conditioning workouts each week, two lifting workouts each week, and one athletic non-traditional workout each week.

Here are some other training concepts I had to practice:

  1. S.P.D. (Small performances daily). Hit a good volume of workload during my daily workouts but nothing crazy and over the top.
  2. STAY FRESH. If I don’t feel like it’s my day to do something, don’t do it. If the body says rest, we rest.
  3. DON’T OVER-EXERT DURING WORKOUTS. High one day, low the next. It’s one thing to keep up a challenging intensity, it’s another thing to go full throttle. I rarely go 100% anymore.

And then on top of these simple training rules, I did some other things for my pre-game ritual. In all transparency, here’s what I did for Smiles For Sophie:

  • Drank a glass of red wine the night before.
  • Drank a protein shake the night before.
  • The morning of the race, I had a protein shake 90 minutes before the race and a handful of blueberries.
  • I also had a teaspoon of beet root powder.
  • I rolled out my feet and legs with a lacrosse ball and foam roller.
  • I jogged for four minutes before the race to prime my heart and muscles. I tried to do more, I usually prefer eight, but then I got called over to run the group warm-up.
  • I used mapmyrun during the race. This helped me break up the race into 3 minute intervals.
  • Something that I usually don’t do is listen to music. But for some reason at SFSF, I put my Christian hip-hop and rock playlist on.

Could it have been a combination of all these things that helped me PR? Absolutely. But there was something else that was so different than ever before, and it was THIS.

Before I tell you I also have to tell you something extra special that happened right before the race. We did a massive group prayer before the start line. That was the first time we prayed at SFSF after the warmup. Before we gathered Emily just subtly asked, “are you going to pray?” I was like “sweet, let’s do it.” A minute before I told her I didn’t even feel up to par to run. Body felt tired. Legs felt tight. Same mind games mess me up just like everyone else. But when I prayed something obviously happened. Where three or more gather God tells you He is there. People joined hands—kids with other kids they didn’t even know. Heads bowed. And we opened up the flood gates for the Holy Spirit and immediately you could feel it in the air.

So that was definitely what I would say is the main external force that made me run faster than ever. God was ripping through my veins in full force.

But besides that, the main thing that I changed, the main contributing factor, the main component that I harnessed and buckled down to fix over the last few months to help me reach peak performance was…


Yes. After all my analyzing and processing of my fastest 5k experience, I firmly believe sleep made the biggest difference.

In March I made a major life change. I said I had to start getting adequate, quality, and plenty of sleep and rest! It’s not that I don’t go to bed early. It’s not that I don’t like to sleep. We have two kids though! And when you wake up at 4:30am most days, it’s really hard to get a desired 8 hours each night. I haven’t been at 100% since we had our first son six years ago. But luckily I brought in some awesome coaches to take some of the training load off my plate and I started sleeping again.

And that’s why if I had to switch the Apostle Paul’s words about love from 1 Corinthians 13:13 to a play on about running, it would be this: “Three things will help you run fast forever–training, nutrition, and sleep–and the greatest of these is sleep.”

That is all.

I made you read all that just to emphasize this one main point.

If you want to get serious about your results, with whatever you can do in your control, sleep more. Who knows. It may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.


Coach Theo

Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors as this was typed quickly on my tablet with no desire to edit.


FMU Featured Hitman Athlete of the Week, Connie Rustad!

After reading this interview, it is blatantly obvious why Connie is becoming an FMU favorite and about to move up in the rankings big time in our new rankings report next week.

What I love about things like our Hitman Challenge is they provide an opportunity for people to get out of their shells, rise to the occasion, and SHINE! We have been watching Connie do just that lately. She is determined, dialed in, and unleashing the champ from within!

1. I am the 7th of 11 children (6 boys, 5 girls) and my Mom is the 2nd of 12 children
2. I have a brother named Theo.
3. Mom of 3 boys: Gregory (7), Ethan (4) and William (2); married to my high school sweetheart Greg & just celebrated our 10 year anniversary this past October.
4. I would LOVE to have another child.
5. Stay-at-home-Mom for the past 4 years.
1. What exercise or challenge do you love to do when working out?
I love any and all ab exercises because I really want to build a stronger core and they are challenging for me. Some of the things we do that I feel empower me are battle ropes, sleds, herc hoists, dead lifts, pull-ups and suicides. I’m patiently waiting for FMU to purchase a rowing machine because that is one of my favorite things to do. I really love the dynamic of a group workout. Although I have always played team sports, I always worked out on my own. So walking into FMU 8 months ago was a big, but very positive, change. I love the group dynamic and working out beside so many strong men & women just motivates me that much more.

2. Is there anything you do now at FMU that you would have never imagined yourself doing?
If it wasn’t for FMU, I don’t know that I ever would have signed up for an OCR. I am always up for a challenge and I do like to try new things so I’m very excited for my very 1st Hitman Challenge next month. And I was on such a high after we did the Team Challenge in December so I hope we can do more of those in the future. There’s something special about putting people together and having them figure out how to accomplish each challenge as a team.

3. How do you prepare yourself mentally for something like Hitman?
I am such a planner and organizer. So when it comes to mental preparation for Hitman, I have been visualizing myself on each obstacle. How can I move through it quicker without over exerting effort? How can I shed some time on each obstacle? These questions have been going through my mind ever since the first Hitman training session. When it comes time for race day, I’ll get in the zone with music and also by watching some of the waves before me. I’m seriously so excited to compete and raise money for Roc4NBCure!


Wait ’til you see what Amber caught on camera. It’s so wrong. Plus, see the Big Fat Lie About Success that we have learned from running our own businesses.

#Faith #Family #Fitness

HOW WORK ALMOST DESTROYED THEO from Theo and Amber on Vimeo.




People don’t stay at our gym just because of our workouts. I would like to think that we have awesome workouts, and perhaps this is what initially attracts people to FMU. But ultimately what keeps them, is our rock solid culture.

Culture can be a big word and hard to conceptualize. Webster’s defines it as “a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization.” It can be even more difficult to figure out how to build it. Sometimes it just happens because of who you are. For a long time I didn’t even understand we were designing and constructing an FMU culture.

Are there action steps you can take to build a strong sense of identity, that then results in a strong sense of connection and bond that people never want to leave?

I sat down to think about it and came up with three concepts to reflect on:

#1: Culture is built by what happens on your walls.

#2: Culture is built by what happens inside your walls.

#3: Culture is built by what happens outside your walls. 

Let’s dive into these concepts a little bit more.

When someone walks into your facility what do they see on your walls? I agree, sometimes I don’t have time for it either. But looks matter, and I have to fight to squeeze in extra time to get those decals up, or hang a picture in the lobby, or chalk paint that prayer wall. These little things that people see automatically affect how they feel about your culture. Thankfully, I have amazing people who even help make these little things happen. That’s the tight-knit culture that’s developed at our gym.

Here are some things we have on our walls at FMU:

  • Our life motto right on our wall when you walk in, “Life Is Not About You.”
  • A prayer wall.
  • Some of our favorite scriptures hanging in our bathrooms.
  • Our Be Great 8 principles.
  • Pictures of our family and some events in the lobby.

I recall a powerful moment during an adult workout one time. I downloaded a playlist from itunes right before class and didn’t have time to test it out. During a song the music stopped and the vocalist decided to shout out the loudest swear word imaginable. Some people in the gym stopped and teased, “Oohhhhh Theoooooo!”

The fact that they noticed this was huge. It’s an unsaid but said thing, we play clean music during workouts. We don’t swear at or with our clients. The air is clean and people do notice.

What’s happening inside your walls can encompass a lot of things. Here are some things that we do inside FMU that helps build a strong culture (a lot of this may apply to our kids programs):

  • We have our own “I Will” chant.
  • We do champs of the day.
  • We buy custom apparel with our logo on it regularly.
  • We have #champion wristbands that kids earn.
  • We have a challenge board that kids write their name on after they complete challenges.
  • We have an FMU Records wall, that is currently under construction.
  • We do challenge workouts or partner battles (makes people work together).
  • We do Gamechangers of the month.
  • We occasionally do customer feedback surveys.
  • We play clean music and there’s always Coach Theo’s Christian rock, hip hop, and alternative songs mixed in.
  • The vibe is positive and encouraging.
  • Coaches and clients drop their egos at the door.
  • We keep the gym as clean as possible.


I used to spend 50% of my time in the community either running programs, speaking to groups, and/or participating in charity events. I did not do this as a tactic to build my clientele. I just did this because it’s what we believe in. The result just so happens that it built a huge following. And the progression is that you get people from your community to get involved as well because they love to be a part of things bigger than themselves too.

So whether it’s getting together for service projects, running 5k’s together or organizing fitness events, FMU always has something going on in the community.

Here are some things we do outside our walls:

  • Organize our own charity events like our Youth Ninja Championships and Hitman Challenge.
  • Became the biggest sponsor and supporter of a local 5k race Smiles For Sophie Forever.
  • Run our School Youth Rock The Challenge Obstacle Field Days at 7 local schools for thousands of kids!


I just gave away a lot of secrets to the success of FMU.

I hope that you can take these ideas and concepts and implement them into your own facility.

Who knows, if you change what’s happening on your walls, inside your walls, and outside your walls, it may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.


Coach Theo




You know someone is supposed to be the gamechanger of the month when five people approach you to tell you she does.

“Have you seen her lately?”

“She looks incredible, what is she doing?”

“Theo, dude, she’s got to be the next gamechanger of the month!”

I totally agree and have agreed for many weeks now. This nomination is loooooong overdue.

Mary Jo looks like a completely different person. She has lost 90lbs over the last year. She just ran her third 5k this season. And her determination to keep on going doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon either, if ever.

This mother of four has been in our lives for about seven years. She wasn’t chosen to be the FMU Gamechanger of the month based on this physical accomplishment alone. As in every gamechanger selection, it’s more about the character of the human being behind the accomplishment that we choose to honor. Mary Jo is a gracious human being and if you watch her in class, she’s got a lot of grit too. I often tell her it’s ok to slow down or modify and she responds, “I know.” And then just keeps going. She’s in her zone and isn’t worried about what anyone else is doing.

Check out what Mary Jo has to say about her new life:

I started this journey March of 2015. I started coming back to FMU again, I did work out with FMU all through my pregnancy with my son Gabriel who is now 4, which would have been the year 2011. I decided to get back into the ballgame March of 2015. I simply wrote Amber Theodore a message on Facebook saying I wasn’t working out anymore, I needed to change that and when and how could I come back to the gym?
I was very lazy with everything. It came on me one day that I really needed to do something about it. I have 4 kids. After I had my first 2 kids I had done this before, so I knew I could do it again if I put my mind to it.

Yesterday was my third 5K. Originally I was training for yesterday to be my first, but thanks to a good friend of mine Monica Swords who has also lost a ton of weight on her own and with no gym, and her secret facebook group called fit club that she started it was my third 5K. I ran the first two races with her. A big shout out to Monica she is leading a lot of people online and encouraging them to eat right and stay in shape.

The habit I changed that affected me the most was changing my diet. I started counting all my calories on myfitnesspal. I eat salad every day for lunch and have cut out sweets most of the time.

God gets all the glory in this journey. God brought me to my brother and sister in Christ, Paul and Amber Theo. I try to live my life for Him and to encourage people and inspire them in many different ways. I know life is not about me, and God has brought so many different people of all backgrounds into my life from across the globe. I see needs in people, people hurting, lonely, struggling with depression, needing a friend, needing encouragement, struggling with anxiety, and sometimes just needing to know or see that someone does care about them. All this comes from the Holy Spirit working on my mind and heart and God put the drive in me to start this journey. These are our bodies given to us by God and He was showing me that I need to take care of the gift He has given me.

I think about a mother of four and I think, she could make every excuse in the world if she wanted to. Not enough time. Not enough money. Too tired. It’s just not for me right now. But she’s dropped the excuses and somehow, which she would agree is by the grace of God, she’s persevering and making this happen.

Great job Mary Jo and congratulations on being the FMU July 2016 Gamechanger of the Month!!


Coach Theo


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