Friday, May 23, 2008


Telling your family and friends that you’re traveling to Arkansas to meet a bunch of dudes that you communicate via the internet every day with is both incriminating and oddly liberating.

Sure, you open yourself up to the inevitable “OMG! You’re gay!” jokes—but remember, this is Arkansas; Mike Huckabee would have us hung from the capitol if he found out we were a gay convention—and those jokes take on an added dimension when you tell people that it’s a “fitness retreat.”

Thankfully, 2006 was the first year that JP used “Summit” instead of “Retreat,” so there was only one word in the official title that could be code word for “things you don’t want your family to know why you’re traveling to Arkansas.”

And Summit sounds more manly anyway. What gym-going dudes go on a retreat anyway? (OK, you get the point. I’ll stop)

But also, it takes a special type of confidence—ok, not confidence, just brass balls—to tell your loved ones that A) you talk fitness on a message board, B) you want to meet them, C) you are meeting them, D) you’re doing it in Little Rock, Arkansas, and E) that there is no hidden agenda.

The stigma of meeting people on the internet has certainly lessened as the internet has become a part of our daily lives, but it’s still weird, and the looks and reactions that you receive are priceless. But fuck it, we like each other and fitness so much that we’re willing to travel from all over to have a weekend of debauchery. Once you’re there, you completely understand, and wonder why you would ever miss out.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out how I got to the hotel from the airport. I guess I took the shuttle in, but it’s escaping me. But that’s not important anyway.

The 2006 Summit was a one day affair featuring the incredibly smaht Ahnold Hahtman. Ahnold, err, Bill, was fantastic. I learned that I was incredibly fucked up (physically. I’ve known for quite some time that not every screw is tightened properly upstairs) and I’m still working to fix those problems today. (Isn’t fitness great? By working out, I kept screwing up my body. I’ll stop with the parentheticals. I promise)

Until then, I had no idea that the shoulder and the hip were interconnected, and that a shoulder injury could be an indicator of a problem in your lower body.

Besides all the fantastic information that I learned during the 2006 Summit, including the ways the scapula functions and the numerous ways that you can test yourself for imbalances, the Summit was a turning point of sorts for me.

As a former fatty, fitness until then had been a hobby. Sure, I wanted to look good nekkid and I wanted to lift a lot of weight. Did I know how to do that? I mean, sure; the stuff that I had been doing since I was 17 had worked until then, so why wouldn’t it continue to work? But as Bill told me that I had glutes that couldn’t fire, hip flexors that were tight and shortened, shoulders that were screwed up because of the two aforementioned problems plus my tendency to want to keep playing baseball, something clicked in my head.

I learned more about my body that weekend than I ever had until that point. Fitness stopped becoming a hobby and it became a passion. Since then, I’ve soaked up every bit of information that I have been able to, learned that there are very few absolutes when it comes to training, just broad outlines. (What I love to use as an analogy—and I’m claiming it as my own until I find that I stole it from someone—is that fitness is a map of the US in which the border is the only thing outlined. Inside the continental US are the 48 states, but those state borders aren’t present because they’re constantly being tweaked and redrawn. Yeah, that was a parenthetical. Blow me)

But, I would be completely remiss to talk about the 2006 Summit and neglect to talk about the people that made it so great. Most importantly and sadly, it was the last time that the Summit had people strictly from North America, so we had to make sure to have as much fun as we could before we were invaded by Europeans. Don’t get me started about how much of a drag those stupid Europeans are. Talking about how weak the dollar is; how jetlagged they are; how much better Europe is than North America. I just want them to shut up and go back across the pond.

(If you thought that preceding paragraph was in any part serious, please stop reading and go see a doctor)

In fact, despite all the fantastic information that you learn, the extracurricular activities outside of the Summit are the best part of the weekend.

Our first night, Friday night, we all went to the Flying Saucer, a bar in Little Rock that boasts 400some beers from all over the world, and their famous “Beer Goddesses,” which are basically stupid waitresses dressed up in slutty school girl outfits wearing way too much makeup. (I apologize for offending any Beer Goddesses, but if anyone has a better and more apt description, I’d love to hear it.)

We were served by a good-looking waitress who had an anatomical problem; she had the appearance of a gut, yet was by no means fat. No one had any idea what her problem was (although many offers were made to correct it) until Saturday, when Bill told us what an anterior pelvic tilt was. AHA! The looks on our faces said it all. That’s what the Beer Goddess had. Sadly, we didn’t go back to the Flying Saucer Saturday night, so we couldn’t offer our newly found expertise in case she wanted to correct her APT.

Instead, we had a private party in a suite at the top of the La Quinta. The suite will forever live in infamy as the site of the Spooge Towel incident, which might be the most laughter inducing evening in the history of the Summit. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you must, and even if you have, you must read it again. It doesn’t sound nearly as funny without being there, but it was soda-out-of-the-nose and scotch-spilling inducing.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “I just wasted five minutes of my life reading that and I still don’t want to go.” Trust me, yes, you do.

Nothing ever sounds as informative or funny unless you’re there. The JPFitness Summit is no exception. If you enjoy the chatter on the message boards, or simply enjoy fitness, the Summit is for you. Odds are, you’ll learn some great information, and more importantly, gain friends for life from around the globe.

You owe it to yourself. Come join us.

Nick, a.k.a Ninja

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