Hello. I'm Daniel Johnson. I currently live in Nashville, TN...but my family and I are pondering a relocation abroad...somewhere in Europe, most likely.
My wife and I got married about 7 years ago, and our son is about to turn 5. We've always wanted to travel, and since we got married a little later in life (I just turned 47, and she's 44), we decided...well, I don't buy into that astoundingly American myth that you have to work like a dog until you retire, and then do what you want to...so as traveling goes, if we don't do it now, when will we?
So I'll let you know how that turns out.
Anyway, as with most things, my journey started with me recognizing my own struggles and seeing how those struggles kept recurring and present in the health bottlenecks of my clients. It began with more physically motivated stuff...a fascination with the communication of the body through movement and has evolved over more than two decades into a greater depth of awareness of the many emotional, mental and physical factors that affect the way a body communicates it's in distress. And as I've grown more into a "fully grown man," I feel called to help more men be unabashedly who they are, rather than some tamped-down version of that person, in order to "succeed."
That's the short story.
But more specifically, while I'd always been into sports as the oldest of 12 kids growing up in New Orleans, I began a more formal relationship with fitness and exercise after college, when I worked as an entertainer on cruise ships.
Mostly trying to stay out of trouble, I decided to do pushups in my cabin, a lonely little place with one porthole over my fairly, but not forever-uncomfortable cot. At the time, I had a girlfriend to whom I was trying to prove my loyalty, so I vowed to stay in and not have any fun.
I know. So dumb.
Anyway, about two months and a breakup worth of pushups and crunches later (I stayed loyal, but she--did not), I eventually ventured up to the ship gym, which was on the top deck.
I started with the machines, but being a musician and creative at my soul level, the gym just didn't have enough to hold my attention for long. My imagination stretched so much further than the chest-press could go.
After a few contracts at sea, I moved to Nashville, where amidst road and studio gigs as a background and touring vocalist...not to mention server jobs at multiple restaurants, odd temp jobs (like boxing up cheap watches--yeah, I didn't know that was a thing, either...but somebody has to put things in the boxes they come in when you get em) that lasted for a day, working one summer driving around town bothering people in their homes on behalf of the US census bureau...and other things I've probably by now forgotten I did to keep the lights on and Gatorade on the table...I began getting multiple certifications. Yoga, fitness, trainer, functional nutrition, etc.
Over time, I parlayed all that into my own private practice, working with people on a one-on-one basis, helping them through their health challenges, while I continued to evolve in my own relationship with my own health. From freelancer to staff trainer to pro-athlete trainer, corporate fitness event organizer to youth fitness instructor to senior fitness instructor...and also, in some cases concurrently, a private studio and gym owner...well, my humility and realizing you never know what you don't know, make me hesitate to say I've done it all, but I definitely did a bunch of it.
My journey as a singer and my relationship with my voice though, has been the most transformative partner in my life.
Years ago, I started struggling with a voice condition, for which the most learned medical voice professionals couldn't figure out. It wasn't until years later I began to realize so much of my struggles with my voice weren't because I'd lost it, but because I'd given it away...in pieces, a little at a time, over even more moments than the many years.
It was then that I started working on recovering my own voice, both physically--literally--and metaphorically--spiritually...more spiritually.
Most of my coaching is a mix of straight ahead approaches and somehwat unorthodox ones...because, like my approach to making music (I still love making music and singing is my first love--so I do that as often as I can) and anything artistic, and the book I'm currently writing...or even my approach to private personal coaching, which isn't built so much around fitness and exericse as it used to be...I try to take everything I've battled through and bled over, all my pain and inconvenience and victory and verve and struggle-acquired skill, and give the condensed lessons I've learned, to my clients.
Including you, if you decide to become one.
In terms of the fitness programs I have available here, they could be described similarly. And as I've learned in terms of my voice to allow my passion to bleed through and not worry about who may not like it, or may not like me because of it, my approach to fitness is also...direct. Granted, I'm not a one-size-fits-all kind of coach...but these days, no coaches ever brag that they are.
It's a pretty popular thing to say.
What I'll tell you is that I learned long ago that fitness is options. The more "fit" you are, the more options you have. And while I believe there are certain baselines of physical capacity that behoove any man or woman to at least hover above, I really do believe in the autonomy of every person in their relationships with their own health.
Meaning, I won't force you to do anything. Your goals are my goals. And it's been my experience that people's goals evolve as they go...as they grow.
Which brings me to the title of this article.
Those three words, "engage," "explore" and "effect"...they each describe to me, a place in every person's journey with his/her health. In fact, I think they could describe places in our relationships with a lot of things.
Engage: it's what we have to do first in order to start. Anything. "The journey of a thousand miles starts when we take the first step," kind of thing. That girl you asked out who one day became your wife...started with that first step of engaging her in a conversation. Or whatever you engaged in first. I'm not judging. But seriously, even the *engagement* that presumably followed...think about that word...we say, "We're engaged." What does that mean? It communicates intention. The intention to do something you weren't already doing. Probably something big. But maybe not. Engaging in an introduction. A relationship. A process. A process we're ready to start to explore...
Explore: this is where we spend most of our hardest time in our health...and on earth, I think. It's where we have to examine not just our goals as they shift, but we have to accept that it's cool when they do shift, and that it's necessary to continue to *explore* processes in order to determine what our needs at a given time in a given season might be. It's where we hopefully and finally get comfortable asking questions, instead of obsessing over answers.
Effect: and once we've been able to do all that up there, we can actually impact...*EFFECT* our own, individual fitness.
These words all described my own journey with fitness and health, and I honestly think we move and meander back and forth between and among all three of them, depending on where we are in our lives.
Anyway, speaking of meandering, I'm going to cut this right here.
If you're interested in registering for a program, you can do so on my profile. I have a couple listed here, and another private option for continuation of fitness support for clients who've completed those programs with me.
I also have one in another post which is a great one to just dip your toes in the water, or challenge your body for a shorter amount of time...mix it up with less commitment.
Hope to see you in my client portal soon. Regardless, take it light.