IMG_0941I would like to tell you a story of my ups and downs with my friend the mini spatula. Mini, as we call him was given to us as a gift, for what occasion I cannot remember; as part of some larger package that also escapes me. I do remember my initial reaction when seeing the pint sized kitchen utensil for the first time, “Are you kidding me. What the hell am I supposed to do with this?” To top it off Mary Beth (my wife) found the sight of me (6’2”, 215lbs) holding the spatula to be a laugh out loud experience. Being a gift I would have felt terrible throwing it away so into the utensils drawer it went, banished to the back region of the drawer (which is the kitchen equivalent of the land of forgotten toys) never again to see the light of day. Until one faithful day months later, when I was faced with a kitchen crisis with nowhere to turn for salvation.
I had just pulled a baked egg dish out of the oven for a family weekend breakfast gathering, it was thick and hearty filled with sausage and tons of vegetables and baked in a high walled square glass baking dish. The best way to describe each piece was “good heavy”, that dense and filling consistency that comes with recipes that are overflowing with deliciousness. Quickly I realized I had a serious problem, the combination of the high wall of the baking dish and the thickness of the entre combined with the small size of each piece left me scrambling for the proper tool to use to remove the first piece. I was on the clock, each second the dish lost heat and the longer I waited the smaller the window became to enjoy the awesomeness that is a piping hot egg dish right out of the oven. In a frantic exploration for the utensil drawer I saw him, alone in the back waiting in the darkness, Mini was the man for the job. He performed well that day and has become a staple in my kitchen use since then. He now has a spot at the front of the drawer and also gets to visit the dishwasher amusement park often (kitchen stuff loves taking rides in the dishwasher)
There are 2 valuable lessons to be learned from my experience with Mini that can be applied to fitness.

Understanding the benefits will help you get the most out of your tools.

When I first revived the spatula I had no idea WHAT it was good at or when it would come in handy. I did not take the time learn why it was a unique tool or how others used it therefor I saw no value in it. In fitness we are quick to put down pieces of equipment or methods of training that we are not familiar with or do not directly align to our own personal knowledge and experiences. Taking the time to learn some of the benefits of various fitness practices and how others similar to us use them in their practices will help you discover new and impactful tools or new benefits for those you already use with your clients.

You don’t always know what you are missing until you find it.

I had no idea I was looking for a mini spatula, I would have never bought one on my own but now I use it all the time. When I was introduced to TRX Training I did not know I was looking for movement based training and that it was a huge missing piece in my client’s workouts but once I found it the void became obvious and apparent. As always there is a catch to this path of discovery and growth. All new ideas, endeavors and equipment must be approached with an open mind and a desire to understand. Often when we encounter ideas different that our core beliefs the initial reaction is to create the list of cons and reasons why it is wrong or won’t work. What if you put that same energy into looking for the unique benefits? Where we get stuck is we assume it has to be an all or nothing approach, if I want to study Yoga I have to transform into a Yogi when the reality is I can pick and choose what I can take away from Yoga and mold it to fit into what I already do. Even if the benefits are not obvious right away what is the harm in learning a little more, experiencing it and digging a little deeper? Worst case you decide it’s not for you and walk away richer from a new experience and with increased confidence to explore the next idea you encounter.

Always be on the lookout for your next Mini Spatula.

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About caseystutzman

Casey Stutzman is an AFAA certified trainer and has been actively involved in the fitness industry since 2004. Since 2006 he has acted as the Head Trainer at the Bay Athletic Club in Alpena Michigan. Casey’s love of athletics and competition drove him in to the fitness industry. He uses his experience as a division 1 college football player, amateur bodybuilding competitor, strongman competitor to help others reach their goals in all areas of fitness. Casey spends his time at Bay Athletic Club teaching Boot Camps, small group training sessions, training clients and working with participants in Bay Athletic Club’s Corporate Fit Challenge program. He also develops strength and conditioning programs and does performance training for a number of local athletic organizations and high school teams. As an Ignite Performance Master trainer and Master Instructor for TRX Casey travels North America to educate and connect with fitness professionals to help them offer more to their clients and athletes. Time outside of fitness is occupied with reading, travel, indoor rock climbing, snow sports and being an active outdoorsman. He enjoys spending free time with his wife Mary Beth, his daughter Vesper, son Indiana and Turkish the family dog.

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