Coach Theo and Amber






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



How do we raise our boys to be men? It’s probably the toughest task of our life, but will also be the most rewarding. I know this, we can’t do it alone. Number one, our boys will need other positive men in their life besides us. They need to hear affirmations and guidance from other positive Christian men other than their fathers who are “supposed” to say these things. And number two, we all need direction and wisdom from God. You know if we try to say something without first surrendering to Him, it just ain’t going to come out the same.

You need to hear this story from my good friend Joe. Joe is on fire for Christ and on this amazing journey of following when called. How many times have you walked into church on Sunday morning, or into a social gathering or event, or somehow into the presence of others and you had to put your game face on after just being in a tussle with your spouse or kids?  You don’t know how many times I had to give a speech to hundreds of people and just minutes earlier I was in an argument with my wife over something silly. It’s real though and it happens to all of us.

When Joe walked into our gym’s Ninja Club on Wednesday night with his family, I could see something was weighing heavy on his heart. After briefly talking about it, he shared with me how his son was upset about a decision Joe and his wife made about not hanging around a certain friend of bad influence. You can tell they were both a little bit fried.

Later that night, the story unfolds, and here’s what happened…..

[In Joe’s Words, with permission]

“It’s pretty amazing how God works. Obviously you could tell I was a little distracted last night. Being a Dad is the greatest gift/responsibility God has given us. From one Dad to another, and men seeking their faith, I thought I’d share this with you. We had a pretty cool father son moment last night. One of those moments when you can see the light bulb click.

Michael has been giving us a run for our money lately. He’s a great kid but stubborn as a mule (just like his parents). Lately I’ve been questioning my ability as a dad. I feel like I have no patience and I’m too quick to get on the kid and yell. It’s not who I want to be, but damn, kid can push my last nerve. (They all can lol). It’s seems like 10 is the age to talk back, push the boundaries and really challenge mom and dad’s authority. I get it. I was the same way. All of his friends are the same way. It’s a pattern. And the challenge is how do you change it and raise them right?

I want to raise him to be a good Christian man. To put God’s calling before all else and to truly follow the teachings of Jesus. I have to admit it’s not easy for kids these days. They are constantly bombarded by the world. Influenced and told to want more, to “get yours”, to be boastful and be the center of the universe.
So every day we have to reprogram them to understand how Jesus calls us to live. To be humble, thoughtful, caring, and to put others needs before your own. Not easy for a 10yr old to grasp.

Last night I prayed, and prayed, and prayed to God. Please Jesus, just guide my words when I talk to him. Show me how to raise my boy, how to guide your son to be the man “YOU” want him to be.
I sat with Michael last night and I simply asked him. “Michael, what do you think it means to be a man?”
He said “to be kind, not to hit women, to go to church and be charitable sometimes.”
Not a bad start I thought. (Maybe he really does listen to us lol)
So I asked him.
“What does it mean to be a “good” man?”
He thought for a minute and repeated the same stuff, and added to “work hard and treat people right”.
I responded.
“You are right about all that stuff. But it’s more than that. It’s doing the little things right. Even when nobody is watching. It’s being respectful, even to those people you might not want to be respectful or kind to. It’s being a gentleman. It’s loving people and truly following what God is asking us to do”

He simply agreed. And I asked.
“Do you think you have been a good man lately”
He got a little upset and said no.
I hugged him and told him that he is the only one that can change that.
That he might feel like I’m yelling at him and on him all the time. But I wanted him to understand I do that for a reason. It’s my job to raise him to be a “good man”and I was the same way at his age.
I told him that I see greatness in him and that I know what a good man he is. But I need to see more than just flashes of it. He needs to truly live it. That God has big plans for him. That it won’t be easy and he is going to have to work at it.
I said believe it or not the times that I am yelling at him is when I love him the most. Because being a dad is hard and I don’t want to yell but I love him to much not to help him find that greatness inside of him. And if I didn’t hold him accountable I wasn’t doing my job as a dad. I explained there is nothing more important to me in the world than being “his” dad and I love him more than he will ever know and I believed in him.
I wish I had a picture of his smile when we were done talking. Priceless.

I wanted to share that not because I think I’ve got it all figured out. It’s quite the opposite. As a dad I screw up more times then I get it right. It’s he hardest task God has given us, to raise them right.

I’m learning when I surrender it to him, when I ask God what he wants me to do, then it all seems to work out. It’s a hard balancing act to guide our kids and give them freedom to live their lives and be themselves. The key, is to never give up. To constantly stay connected with them and lean on God to guide us right so we can guide them. To constantly tell them we love them no matter what.

As Dads If we can do that, then hopefully they will come to know him and be good men. Keep doing what you are doing Theo.

All the Glory to God. The ultimate “good man”.







What Many Motivators Leave Out

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” (Romans 7:15-20 NIV)

Sometimes when I read Paul’s scripture above I think, why’s he messing with me? I’m not good at riddles. Or is my learning disability kicking in again because I can’t figure out what he’s trying to say.

But there’s a lot of truth here. We say one thing but we do another. We mean well but we keep falling back to our default mindset and behaviors. The more you grow in your faith, the more you learn that there is no ultimate escape. Sin dwells so deep within us that we never fully escape it. In fact, it may only get harder at times. Being aware and accepting this is what helps us awaken from it. Then constantly and consistently guarding up with #TRUTH is what helps us to continually fight against it.

See that’s one thing we as motivational speakers/coaches can’t leave out. We may do a phenomenal job with sharing great insight and wisdom about life, but we can’t leave people hanging and holding onto fluff. Without the importance of understanding that true power does not come from within, it comes from God, the change we may help create becomes temporary not everlasting.

I love reading about Paul’s drastic life change. He went from killing Christians to being the most powerful promoter of the faith, next to Jesus. Did he do it on his own accord? No. It was Divine Intervention the flipped his world upside down on his trip to Damascus.

And what kept that change going for him? Here’s what I just read and I love it…..

In Paul, A Man of Grace and Grit, Charles Swindoll writes, “The man, who tormented and killed the saints of God, understood and explained grace better than any of his contemporaries. Why? Because he never got over his own gratitude as a recipient of it.”

Change is hard. But maybe if like Paul we never get over the gratitude of what we received, it will become a little bit easier, and we’ll stay motivated to keep striving for it.


Coach Theo




3 Reasons Why You’re Not Doing It, 1 Easy Fix

I have found that when I’m not doing something that I said I would do, I also find that it’s because of one of three reasons:

I don’t want it bad enough.

I don’t have someone in my corner.

I haven’t signed up for something.

Let’s break these three things down and I’ll tell you what I think is the most important to get YOURSELF MOVING ALREADY.

Look, this is ok. Sometimes it’s just not something you’re passionate about. Just admit it and move on. I don’t have a twelve pack because I don’t want it bad enough. I don’t want to put forth the discipline and nutrition regimen it takes to see every ab muscle in my stomach. So I’ll take my two-pack and enjoy my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every now and then. But don’t say you want to lose weight, or improve your marriage, or save up money, then allow your actions to completely show otherwise.  Because then, I’ll say you don’t want it bad enough.

Ok, ok, let’s give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you do want it bad enough, but you’re recognizing that willpower is not enough. So here are the next two things you need to look at.

In one of the chapters in my book, Conversations With Gio, I talk about the success tip of Being A Coach and Being Coachable. God has placed people in our lives, like our kids, that we are an example for and need to coach. He’s also challenged us to keep pursuing personal development from Him and each other. “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,” (Prov 1:5).

No matter where we are at in life, we all  need coaches. This doesn’t have to be a professional. Just someone that believes in us, knows we can do it, and voices their encouragement. Almost without a doubt you have somebody in your life that wants you to succeed at whatever it is your heart desires. Enlist that family member, friend, fitness coach, whoever it is, to hold you accountable and more than anything, push you along your journey. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

You need someone in your corner. So if you don’t have someone, start looking around. But even if you want something bad enough, or have others rooting you on, there still may be something else you haven’t done yet.

A huge motivator for every human being is to SIGN UP FOR SOMETHING. For me, even if I sign up for something as simple as a 5k run every few months, my motivation stays high in the gym to prepare for my best. None of us want to do less than what we expect of ourselves.

Maybe you have been talking about starting your own business for years.  It’s time to sign up for that entrepreneur’s workshop to get you moving in the right direction.

Maybe you want to write your own book.  It’s time to sign up for that author’s club.

Maybe you’re stagnant in your faith and need rejuvenated.  It’s time to sign up for that Life Group at church.

In my opinion, out of these three things I think the easiest fix is to just sign up for something already. Get online, go to that website, access that membership, join that network, sign up for that race, join that Facebook group, email that pastor, call that place.  Whether you’re ready or not. Just sign up.  It’s one of the easiest action steps for you to take.

Then watch what happens.

You better believe you’ll put the next two steps in place to help you succeed. You’ll find that person or multiple people to get in your corner, and if you didn’t want it bad enough before, you definitely will now.

Here, need a fitness related goal to sign up for:

SMILES FOR SOPHIE FOREVER 5K JULY 4 (registration open)
HITMAN CHALLENGE AUG 13 (registration open soon)


Coach Theo



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