Chris Kidawski is a fitness coach that has spent the last 20 years training everyone from Navy SEALs to professional athletes to busy professionals.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in a beautiful neighborhood in Western New York. My Dad worked really hard to provide for us and my Mom was always around helping to contain the chaos of 3 boys. I had developed really great friends that are still with me to this day. They all taught me something that when I reflect upon it shaped me into who I am today. My friend Steve steered me away from Drugs and Alcohol. My friend Justin taught me humility, a hard work ethic, and how to have incredible inner strength. My friend Sidney taught me the importance of being present, always having fun, and never taking anything too seriously. My friend Scott taught me the power of loyalty and passion in one’s job and relationships. I never had one defining moment or experience. Rather I believe it was the culmination of having the right friends around me that shaped who I am today.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

To never be sad for too long. I struggled with lightweight depression when I was younger. I didn’t like the weather in Buffalo New York and most of the people were miserable, and that affected my mood more often than not. I wish I had a mentor who helped me keep my mind right. Ultimately it was books that did that for me so I guess that was my path.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Too many to list! But let’s first start with icing injuries. I ask my clients if they think they or their Doctor are smarter than 4 million years of evolution. A bump/sprain/strain that generates inflammation should almost never be iced. The inflammation is there to help the body heal! Ice constricts. Ice slows things down. Why do we want to slow progress in the body? Whoever looked at inflammation and said that’s bad! We need to stop it!! Nonsense. If you want to do something use heat and move around as safely and pain-free as possible. Movement heals! Heat dilates and opens allowing for more blood flow and lymph flow to assist the body in healing.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

After two years of owning a CrossFit gym, I found out my Wife was cheating on me with one of my members. That’s pretty much the definition of a wake-up call. Rather than blaming her as she was pointing the finger at me, I looked inside myself to see what I could have done better. I took a meditation vacation. Found my own sense of peace, and as things did not improve over the following 10 months I hired a mediator and divorced her. This violated several principles and values I hold dear to my life’s operation. The front runner is commitment. I’m in anything for the long haul. The good, the bad, the ugly. But she was headed down a path I just could not follow so I broke my vows and divorced her. It was the best business and life decision I ever made. I sold my gym shortly after, met a more mature/attractive woman. Traveled to South Africa, and all through Europe for 3 months. Came back home and reinvented myself, and my business, and the rest is history. As much as it hurt to separate my former wife was holding me back in my life in more ways than I can even explain. Today I have an amazing relationship with my wife. She’s my best friend and the best damn partner anyone could ask for. People say that but I truly mean it. We have a daughter that lights up the room when she walks in, and she is the sweetest, most beautiful thing I have ever set my eyes on.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

The relentless pursuit to learn. I have an EXTREME passion for helping people with their health. I have a tattoo on my arm that says, “Never tire to study and teach others.” From Confucius. It’s what I live by.

What is your morning routine?

I wake up between 5-5:30. I meditate for one hour. Make the bed, then start making my coffee. I sit down and write my affirmations for 10 minutes. These include goals, or achievements I am pursuing. Then it’s time to exercise. I have a full garage gym and a rig in my backyard. I train all different facets of exercise. CrossFit. Powerlifting. Olympic Lifting. Gymnastics. Lots of cardio. Then I usually start my day at 10 am seeing clients.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Meditation – hands down. The ability to be calm, and reflect on your actions, or the actions of others, and make peace with where you are today, or to project where you would like to be in the future has been the most valuable skill set I have developed in the past 10 years.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

Put it on the schedule! If I do not schedule it on my phone it doesn’t get done. Even though I don’t like to, I will also close the door to my office. That’s the signal I’m busy and would not like to be disturbed.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

Howard Zinn – A People’s History of the United States.

This book was the first book I ever read cover to cover not because I was forced to in school, but because I WANTED to. To date, I have read this book 3 times and each time I discover more compelling information. It has influenced my life in ways I could have never imagined primary by forcing me to take a stance of integrity in every encounter I have had in my life. This book shredded the traditional knowledge I grew up learning in school, which caused me to feel lied to. I lost all trust in the traditional American scholastic system and it sent me on a tirade to always find what was true to me as I learned more about life, my body, and this world we live in.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

“Work is love made visible.” – Khalil Gibran