Day 20 After Biggest Loser Malibu


04/30/11 the-definition-of-an-indomitable-spirit

When I left for California some time ago, I went on a mission, the proverbial “man on a mission”.  I had set in my mind that I wouldn’t let anyone or anything get in the way of my success, further I wasn’t going to California to make friends.  People, who needs them, and fuck it if I rub people the wrong way I’m fighting for my fucking life. 


After my second day and my first hike up Zuma ridge I realized how important the assistance of other people would be in order to overcome this seemingly insurmountable task I had set myself on, Mary the self described Irish Bulldog was my inspiration for making it up Zuma Ridge, and probably the hikes the rest of the week. 


Clearly my plan of being an iceberg was not going to work.  In retrospect had I not reached out and created these relationships I know I would not have been able to survive my time at the Biggest Loser Resort. 


Laughter was such a fundamental element to waging the war against your own body.  Without the laughter and I know it’s corny but it was our “good clean fun”, no alcohol induced stupidity, or social hierarchy dictating what is appropriate or not appropriate.  Just people bonding through a common ground found in our senses of humor. 


With the place being 70% women, it was not uncommon to be apart of the girl talk.  I’m just surprised I never got my troll like toes painted by another guest.


I don’t know if it was being one of the few testosterone producing mammals at the resort that helped play a part in the closeness that develops with all the men there, or if it’s just the overall struggle to push yourself, or if we are somehow a way pf relieving our younger days of playing team sports, but a unique closeness develops with the men at Fitness Ridge. 


I was fortunate enough to develop a friendship with a guy who embodies everything that is to be good.  I’m sure if given enough time I would find something about him that would drive me insane (my own psychotic thought process), but for the three weeks that we shared the same air, he taught me many things that he is not even aware. 

This person is intelligent, has a great sense of humor, is genuinely magnanimous and has a signature gesture that would be to lower his head slightly, focus his eyes somewhere in the distances, and in a swift yet smooth ninja like fashion throw you two thumbs up.  It’s a gesture that I had seen so many times in my three weeks in Malibu so much so that it is permanently etched in my brain, like a fossil in a piece of driftwood.  Even after the ass kicking Sam had given us on the beach, a quick question of me asking how he was doing would garnered a response with his comfort gesture.  Somehow I found my own reassurance in his reflexive response.

When not giving you this constant reassurance, his sense of humor helped to electrify any given setting, whether it was the ride back from a tough hike, or the start of another fucking cardio class, or even just creating laughter around a crowded dinner table.  This is a guy who could choose to be the center of the attention yet isn’t starved for it. 

His wit is lightening quick, I especially remember one moment when another new friend of ours was talking about a man she had started dating back home who was a carnivore, this woman is a vegan, in asking about her new love interest, he started with a sly grin and asked if it was against being a vegan to kiss a meat eater, and then asked if she needed protection to kiss anyone non-vegan, because of possible cross contamination.  The dinner table erupted with laughter, as the vegan woman blushed and tried to collect herself from her own laughter. 

When it came time to work this guy was an intense as anyone else, in fact he constantly delivered a quiet intensity.  He was never very boisterous about his effort, but moved with a determination a hidden sense of purpose.  There is a fight to him, a desire to push, and a yearning to overcome.  It’s an innate drive that exists in some people, who knows where it comes from but when someone has it, it is unmistakable, like a sharks tooth found a beach, you know not what type or what part of the ocean its owner came from but you do know exactly what type of animal it came from.

The time I got to spend with this person was unmistakable, and the mark left on me was significant.  It is possible to be successful, to be determined, and to be driven with a bit of flair, but ultimately with a personal humility. 

I got to spend a bit of time with this person individually, as he and I took ample opportunity to test our newly found health consciousness in the real world, we tried a few meals off the reservation, and used our smart phones to help pick items off of a restaurants menu. 

To watch the constant joy he experienced on with his progress was a pleasure to watch.  It often would help me keep my mind in a positive light, and look at my own progress in a positive mindset, as opposed to being pissed about what the weight I hadn’t’ lost.    

During our first weekend of freedom we went to an outlet center near the resort, we both happened to end up at the Columbia Store.  He started trying on jackets and fleeces and was as giddy as a teenager trying on sizes that had eluded him for years.  I actually picked some jackets out for him to try on, living vicariously through his progress.  What’s funny is if someone had watched us they would have thought we were a gay couple. 

At the start of our second week, we came to a similar conclusion that after the first day of the second week, that in order for both of us to maintain the current level of weight loss we would both have to work twice as hard as the previous week.  Had it not been for a mutual intuitive feeling that we discussed who knows how my second week would have gone.

I had asked him while I was there about his family and his wife, I found out his wife was a fitness lover, who happened to be a runner.  I remember him telling me that it would be nice to go for a run with her, without slowing her down, and actually keep up with her the entire time.  With this bit of knowledge I put it in my mind, that his weight loss goals beyond just the health benefits, was rooted in wanting to re-attain some part of him he had lost sometime ago.  From a time and place before children, when life was simpler and it was about just him and his wife. 

Little did I know that his motivations for losing weight were larger than my impressions, and far more dire than fitting into clothes.  The previous summer he had a diagnosis of having Prostate Cancer.  How fucking selfish was my thinking that I was only person fighting for my life.  I may have been metaphorically been fighting for my life, but he literally was.  I didn’t find this out until this last week.  He is scheduled to have his prostate removed next week, and I pray that the cancer will be removed completely. 

Even after having not seen him for two weeks he’s still teaching me about life.  What I’ve learned ultimately from this person who was a stranger two months ago, I have learned the definition of courage.  In the three weeks I shared with this guy, never once did I hear him bitch about anything worse than the occasional comment about the food.  After the first week we all bitched about little things here and there, yet with all things that could go through a persons mind in that circumstance never once did he bitch.  In fact the subject matter never came up at all, I didn’t even learn about the cancer until we all returned home. 


Now that I think about it it’s unfucking believable how much effort he put forth during our time at the resort.  So the guy, who intended to be a social pariah at the resort, learned from the social butterfly you can embody what it means to be a warrior and still tell a few jokes along the way.  For this I am grateful, and thankful to have met you.  Thanks for helping me find my way, and I will forever be indebted to you.  Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.  When we meet up again next May with the Wild Doobie Brother, this will all be a ripple in our minds as we hike up a new Buzzards Roost. 


  1. Wow. Isn’t it wonderful how we come across random people who have such an impact in such a short amount of time??
    I know this man of whom you speak and agree his positivity, humor and humility are — hopefully — contagious.
    I wonder, Louis, if you are aware of the folks YOU inspire???? There is a reason I frequent your blog. Your tenacity and brutal honesty inspire me. My best wishes for the health and happiness of all Van 5ers.

  2. Steph,
    Thank you those types of comments really help power me forward when i want to just stop moving. I guess it doesn’t matter what age, peer pressure is powerful. I wish all the same for Van5, and hope everything in NYC is going well, I know the world in which you work can be tough to stay on point…too many temptations.
    Hopefully we will all meet up for a 5k or even a half marathon at some point.

  3. I agree that the bonds we created were amazing! While I needed some alone time and got a little burned out on the kool-aid at times, the laughter, small words of encouragement, and seeing the freakish determination of a few people there pushed me to work harder.
    What continues to inspire me is your blog and the Van 5 blog. If not for these two things, I would be slipping back into old habits much more quickly.

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