What My Fitness Coach Taught Me about Hard Work

And it had nothing to do with fitness…

Michael J. Mehlberg
4 min readApr 12, 2021


Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

I spent the last day in agony.

Sitting down hurt. Getting up hurt. Every time I tried to lower myself onto the toilet, I’d come crashing down on the plastic seat like a seal belly-flopping on concrete. It’s a wonder the damn thing hasn’t snapped in half under my ass and scattered shattered chunks of porcelain over the bathroom floor.

I knew exactly why.

Just a day earlier, my fitness coach was whispering sweet corrections in my ear while watching me perform back squats through Facetime.

“Squeeze your back. Slow down. Slower! Push your big toes into the ground.”

He wasn’t yelling at me to push harder. He wasn’t telling me to hustle. In fact, he had me lifting half my usual weight.

But his adjustments were making me work both hard and smart. He was helping me engage every muscle in my body. As such, I was sweating like a pig on a spit. My entire body was fired up and working harder than the dredger that freed the Ever Given freighter from the Suez Canal.

He doesn’t do these one-on-one Facetime coaching sessions with me often. Most of the time, he programs 12-weeks of workouts and sets me off on my own. The last time we worked together live was six months prior when he was making the exact same corrections.

Had I learned nothing?

As I slowly sunk under the weight of the bar, I began to realize that I had slipped back into my old ways.

My ego had crept back in over the past few months, driving me to add more weight, push harder, grind, and hustle. My desire to add more reps in less time pushed me to move faster and take shorter breaks.

Granted, hustle is important in the gym. You can’t just nap on a bench and hope to build big man titties. But just like six months ago, under the tutelage of my trainer, I was (re)learning today that form was better hustle, quality was better than quantity, and how I perform a workout is more important than how much I can jam into one.

I walked out of my gym energized, feeling the burn, sensing the pump, and knowing that I’d just had a far better…



Michael J. Mehlberg

Thinker | Writer | Bestselling Author — Subscribe and read 10 Ways to Massively and Immediately Improve Your Life (www.michaelmehlberg.com/subscribe).