My name is Sarah Loogman - I’m a "Functional Fitness" athlete, outdoor hobbyist, cat lover, early riser and the most recent addition to the StrongFit entourage. May of you, surely, are curious to learn more about Julien Pineau and get into the wirings of the movement mastermind himself so this is my summary of my time on the European seminar tour. Here are the 5 things that I learned:
1. Drink good coffee. Espresso, that is. I’ve never met a man who drinks more espresso or is more particular about it than Julien, but perhaps that’s because I’ve never spent much time with a European. But, it must be done right. I’m not kidding that one morning it took a trip to three different coffee shops to get the right cup of joe. Julien knows a good thing and he’s dedicated to it, just as he is to the principles that he teaches. The sacrifices made or money spent does not matter as much as it does that goodness and quality
are delivered and that the people looking to him get the very best. The price of knowledge is incalculable and it is a fine thing that is worth the effort. In a culture diluted by cheap solutions and quick fixes, there is better if you seek it. Don’t settle.
2. Don’t be a pu**y. If you’ve been to one of Julien’s seminars, you’ve been forced to face the hurdles of intensity and anaerobic threshold… probably with the sled. When you’ve taken away all skill and all risk, the only thing stopping you is you. If you quit, it’s you. If you complain, that’s on you. If you make excuses, that’s only you. Danger is real, fear is not. So when danger has been taken away, it is only the fear that we have created in our minds to justify when we quit, give up, or never even begin the thing we set after. Pushing or pulling the sled and getting from point A to point B isn’t even about your fitness…on the other side of your destination is a better version of yourself, a better human being. Burn your fears.
3. Always train. Within just a few hours of my arriving in Belfast and severely jet lagged, Julien asked “are you ready to train?”. Despite my readiness to be in vacation-mode, we showed up to the gym everyday. We ran seminars, we shopped, we did tourist things and we generally enjoyed our day to day, but we always made time to train. This really is not a new habit to my everyday lifestyle but it made me realize the nature of commitment. I’m not saying you need to make a career of exercise, but having the ability to commit to any craft or devotion is an imperative skill and fortitude to have. If you can commit yourself to something, you can commit yourself to anything.
4. Eat mac ’n’ cheese. If there’s someone who knows how to wine and dine, Julien is a master. Well, a large part of the credit should go to his sidekick Richard who is the biggest “foodie” I’ve ever met - truly, it’s an art. For someone who rarely goes out to eat, the more extravagant lifestyle of dining in some of Europe’s finest restaurants was not only a culture shock but created a serious dilemma in my diet. For someone who preps every meal and counts macros incessantly, to say I was initially in a state of panic would be an understatement. My usual MO is to pick the blandest meal on the menu that best fits the macronutrient ratios I need. Rarely do I pick out the thing that actually sounds/looks good. Much to my initial horror, my diet was thoroughly corrupted by Julien and Richard and yes, I ordered the mac ’n’ cheese. I ordered dessert and beer, too, and more than once. No, I’m not saying that I learned I should give up on my diet and yes, after Europe I cleaned things up again and I’m back to counting clean macros. But what I did learn is to also enjoy things that I have earned. Life is too short to eat only brown rice and chicken and it’s also too short not to gift yourself when you’ve worked hard. You don’t have to be perfect.
5. Play chess. Julien is addicted to chess the way teenage boys are addicted to video games, but it’s the intellect and learning he’s seemingly obsessed by. I’ll admit, I have yet to actually study the game of chess despite his recommendation but what he did convince me of is to read a book on quantum mechanics - a subject, quite frankly, I have almost no interest in. Did I understand most of it? Not exactly…that’s some serious stuff. But I did read it and I did learn some things. It’s likely that I’ll never directly use my new, rudimentary knowledge of black holes, however, it does make me a greater part of the universe simply to know things. The more information I have learned in my life and the greater breadth of “things” I have studied, the more I have realized the interconnectivity of it all and ironically, the greater mass of information I have yet to learn. That realization is important lest I become a self-serving, self-important, self-absorbed human being in a tiny, know-it-all world. Learn and experience new things.
Julien didn’t set out to teach me the lessons that he did. In fact, he doesn’t really give up much. What he does do is he lives well and lives with passion for the things he knows to be true and the very way he lives his life reflects the principles he believes in and we, as those who look up to him, discover the true lessons for ourselves