Jen Widerstrom’s resume will tell you that she is a celebrity fitness trainer, Coach on the NBC show The Biggest Loser, former American Gladiator, model, best selling author of the book Diet Right for Your Personality Type, entrepreneur, and Fitness Director for Shape Magazine. But as we know on this show, sometimes: “Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; and everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.”
If there is anything in her bio that stands out and shows her heart, it is that Jen was rated the nations most authentic trainer. To me, she is a girl from Illinois trying to help others to embrace their true selves while pursuing a lifestyle that better suits their wellness goals. In this process she herself is repeatedly growing, learning, and healing. You see folks, we are all humans, going in and out of our own suffering, its just that some of us have learned to use those obstacles as opportunities. The strongest have learned to use compassion to bring others up in the process. What we do with our pain and our love defines our character, and Jen continues to prove she is not only a gladiator, but she is an unconquerable soul.
I hope you enjoy the insight, humanity, and compassion in this episode. It will raise your awareness in the power of service and dedication to helping others become strong, from the inside out.
Erik Swoope is an NFL Tight End with a humble spirit who was with the Indianapolis Colts the past 5 seasons. He is 6’5”, 250 lbs, athletic, fast, and moves with the mass of a truck and coordination of a gymnast. The impressive part is this: He’s never played football before playing in the NFL. The more impressive part is that for as big and strong as Erik is, his character is more powerful. If perseverance, depth, gratitude, humility, and grit were measurable statistical categories, Erik would not only be an All-Pro amongst the NFL, he would be in the Pro Bowl of humans.
This episode is dedicated to understanding where Erik’s grit and gratitude come from, his upbringing, and the importance and meaning of family. We look at his accomplishments in the classroom, community, and on the court/field. We learn what it’s like to go from playing ACC basketball at the University of Miami to playing football for the first time (ever) in the NFL.
Want to know what it feels like to score a touchdown in the NFL? This episode is for you. Want to know how to overcome setbacks with a growth mindset and perseverance? This episode is for you. How you handle yourself when everything is great is one thing, but the best of us excel in the face of adversity. That struggle is where true strength is forged.
Into: Keep Your Dream
Don’t let your own will be the reason you fail. Keep that will strong and unconquerable. There are too many dreams buried in the cemetery of collapsed wills. Not yours. Be unconquerable. -Scott McGee
8:30 Where does Erik’s grit come from? What does it mean to be a Swoope man?
18:30 Family and upbringing. “If you start something you have to finish it.”
25:50 Athletic background as a kid. First dunk at 12 years old.
Lake Elsinore to Harvard Westalke (Los Angeles)
36:20 What are some of highlights from high school? “My struggle.”
One of my fondest memories. I found out how to do something the right way. I knew how to put in the effort, but are you doing it in a way that benefits you.
39:30 More proud of academics or sports?
The school work was where I had to prove to myself that I’m willing to go through something with no one else’s help. I had to find a way.
41:05 When did Erik figure out he was really good at sports?
48:00 How went from high school in SoCal to Miami to play basketball. What was it like leaving family?
56:22 Train Keeps Moving: No matter what happens in your life the train keeps moving and it doesn’t stop for anyone. If you think that life is going to hold up because you hit something… that train is going to keep moving.
59:00 Post college – The interest from the NFL Scouts. They want to see if Erik had “football traits.”
Learning football and drills. Try outs. 4.57 40 on first try.
1:01:40 Jimmy Graham – Mentor – First advice from former basketball player turned football player. “Football is not fun”. Ha.
1:10:40 Workout with NFL scout to the Indianapolis Colts
1:17:45 Learning the basics of football.
1:24:34 First time getting hit really hard in practice and a game. First Catch.
1:30:30 What it was like playing with Andrew Luck.
1:34:40 What it feels like to score a touchdown in the NFL.
1:39:40 The hardest part of playing football in the NFL… Handling stress
1:41:11 Where does Erik find the fun?
1:49:00 Purchases with NFL money.
1:51:50 NFL journey through being undrafted, injuries, practice squad, active roster.
In game experiences…
Responding from injuries, surgery, and learning to recover stronger than before.
2:07:18 Where does he go from here? Restricted Free Agent
2:09:16 What do you do with your doubts? I try and take that energy and put it into my training. My journey is not like anyone else’s.
What happens after an injury, loss, or major change? How do you adapt to this new normal state? How do you find strength in the face of adversity? How do you accept this new change without always wishing to be like before? My guest, Dr. Theresa Larson, helps me answer these questions. She says our minds are a war zone and adaptation will occur no matter what, but there is a choice to to optimally adapt or maladapt.
Dr. Larson (DPT) is a mom, wife, sister, friend, and TEDx Speaker who happens to be a former Marine Corps Engineer Officer, combat veteran, and professional softball player. While that sounds like a resume of a strong person, it was the other moments where she developed her strength. Dr. T made it through the death of her mother at the age of 10, the loss of her father, and learned to suffer skillfully while battling an internal war with bulimia in the middle of an actual war. It’s here she learned strength, positive adaption, and her call to help others.
You see, her greatest strength isn’t in which she has done. Her greatest strength was in asking for help. Our stories are unique, but the struggle is universal. The mission of this episode is to deliver info to people who need it. To those who have gone through loss, trauma, or a major change in their life and needs to find their new normal again, this episode is dedicated to you.
In life, things happen around us, and things happen to us. The only thing that truly matters is your choice of how you respond to it. You can learn, adapt, and choose to make the best of each experience. Pain is inevitable and inescapable, but suffering is optional.
Emotional progress is made through confronting grief, pain, and calamity. Instead of avoiding the painful events of life, face them squarely and lean into them. By facing the realities of death, loss, and disappointment, you free yourself of illusions and false hopes and learn your truth.
Every difficulty in life presents us with an opportunity to turn inward and to invoke our inner strength. An opportunity to practice your growth. Like core stability, it starts from within. Regardless of our trials, we all possess incredible strength. We have strength we don’t even realize we have. Its not other people that heal us…its you. Happiness does not depend on external sources. You are your own souls doctor. This episode will help guide you.
My special guest is Dr. Jen Esquer. She is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, creator of The Mobility Method and The Optimal Body. Recently, Jen announced via her Instagram that she walked away from manipulation, infidelity, and an unfaithful relationship. This emotional violation prompted her to have the courage to share her truth. To be a voice in this space for others who feel like they don’t have one. To fight/heal for herself and others. To recognize that Vulnerability is Strength.
This episode is not about what happened to her. It’s about her inner strength and decision to inspire in the face of emotional adversity.
4:45 Jen’s Mission: To HEAL the world the best way she can, and that is through empowering you to learn how to heal yourself!
9:20 Core Stability – The first step towards regulating your emotions is stabilizing your emotions.
11:08 Awareness of the body helps detect where you have been neglecting.
12:45 You cannot change the past, but by choosing to forgive you open up your possibilities for the future. -SM
14:30 What you resists, persists. Pain x Resistance = Suffering
18:00 The only cure for grief is grieving.
20:00 Revisiting infidelity – Owning the high road
30:41 I am just choosing to align myself with the values and the morals that I appreciate and I admire and the people that are going to uphold those same kind of values.
31:00 The Instagram announcement
31:24-32:03* I am so determined to be a voice in this space for people who don’t feel they have a voice and that is my want, my drive, my power behind this is truly coming from this place of wanting to help… and rise as one.
37:17 The hindsight of the relationship – Clues and Signs
49:00 The 7 wonders of the world – Gratitude
53:30 What is it about you that you are not listening to. Ownership.