Colin, You’re Amazing

In the wake of the events at Sandy Hook elementary so many people have asked many of the same questions. One that I have seen the most online has been of the “what can I do now” variety? Of course each situation is different but the larger issue (as it pertains to guns/violence/schools) is the children, their safety, their voices.  I am a bit hesitant to use this as a platform of sorts because I sort of detest self promotion without effort but in this case it might just spark something in someone else.  It seems about now we can all do a little more and so this is what I have done.

About 2 weeks ago, two close friends of mine, who happen to be openly gay and engaged and after having won The Amazing Race received this letter amongst thousands:

“I’m sure you guys are way too busy to read this, but I want you to know how inspirational you two are to my 12 year old son. He is gay and is dealing with bullying and harassment in middle school. It’s so hard to see him going through this, and sometimes the “It Gets Better” message is lost on a 12 year old who feels that middle school will never end…We cheered you on every Sunday night and agonized every time you had difficulties. My son was so incredibly thrilled when you two won last night (as was I!). Thank you for helping him see that not only DOES it get better, it gets AMAZING.”

In response my friends, aka The Fabulous Beekman boys, sent out a message to all Amazing Racers and asked for our help in making Colin feel better. The call to action was simple, take a picture of yourself (or with your Race partner) holding a sign that says “Colin, You’re Amazing” and those pictures would then be passed along to Colin’s mom and Colin. Nearly everyone participated and the response from Colin’s mom was as appreciative as you would imagine – even sharing with us that this was a life changing moment for Colin. And normally that would be the happy ending to a wonderful story.

But as luck would have it Colin and his mom were from San Diego. So I reached out because in the aftermath of Sandy Hook it seemed like there was more I could do than just send along a picture. So we set up a time to meet at a local shopping mall. I didn’t know what to expect. I had never met anyone under those circumstances and to be honest, I’m not sure who would want to meet me anyways. So Abbie and I made our way to the mall. Sure enough Colin and his mom approached us and no sooner than the words “hello” came out of our mouths, Colin was in full bear hug with Abbie and then with me.  We hadn’t so much as introduced ourselves and you could feel the warmth and appreciation emanating from his small frame.

We spent the better part of 30 minutes talking about The Amazing Race (mom is a big fan), and school life for Colin. I won’t share the details of his school life, but suffice to say that junior high kids are the meanest people on the planet. And per Colin, the girls can be worse than the boys. When we wound down our chat Colin went in for a hug again and this time he held on a little tighter and a little longer.  Of course mom was emotional, Abbie and I were emotional and Colin was still in full bear hug and no one wanted to let go.

When I arrived home later that night I got this note from Colin’s mom in my inbox:

“Thanks, Ryan and Abbie, for meeting up with us and for the picture. Colin told me on the way home that “I will remember this day my entire life up until my death bed.” LOL It really meant a lot to him.”

I’m confident Colin has a tremendous support system in place to help guide him through these difficult years while he is attacked, harassed and otherwise outcasted merely because of his coming out. This isn’t the place for me to soapbox about understanding and coming to terms and all of those things that we wish people that oppose a gay lifestyle would understand. Instead this is meant to serve as a reminder to myself and hopefully a spark of sorts to others that are like me and wonder what they can do to make a difference in a child’s life. The child need not be battling bullies because of their sexuality. Children are hurting every day for many reasons. Sometimes a hug and little bit of your time goes a lot longer than any of us think.


New Opportunities

In most cases I would say in order to achieve anything, you must take it upon yourself to seek out that which you are attempting to achieve.  But once in a while, someone will knock on your door.  It’s at that moment you should be prepared, equipped to act and react.

Forgive the ensuing vagueness, but until there is clearance to discuss more I must remain ambiguous.

Recently I was approached, out of the blue, by someone in a very high position in a given medium that was interested in my unique perspective on a platform of given topics.  Let’s call him “Jon” for now.  I did not envision ever crossing paths or even reaching out to someone like Jon. I just didn’t think myself worthy, on many levels.  But nonetheless the introductory email came in and then a phone call followed.  Jon expressed interest in my perspective and shared with me his broader offering. It made perfect sense.  I was immediately interested.  In the following weeks we went back and forth, sharing ideas, formulating a plan, and generally just connecting.  Before I go further, let me point out how important personal connections can be even beyond the substance of the topics at hand.  In any space I operate, whether it be my financial services company, my Jiu Jitsu training/competing, my legal consulting or just my fantasy football friends community, I always maintain a positive and hopefully endearing connection. I thrive on those connections because of what they can afford.  A great personal connection in a business or work environment can afford latitudes and luxuries otherwise not attainable.  People do business deals with people they like.  It’s just a fact. Bids and quotes are not always won by the lowest price or easiest contract to sign off on.  Deals can happen over dinner and drinks at steakhouse or after the last putt on the 18th green.

Back to my situation with Jon. An opportunity presented itself, I wasn’t really prepared because how can you really be prepared for an unforeseeable unknown?  So I did the next best thing. I was responsive in my communication. I was diligent in my responses.  I was thorough in my preparation for each communication. I made sure when I emailed there were no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.  I made sure I was prepared for each telephone call, preparing questions beforehand and making sure to make myself available for any questions or vetting. I was also punctual with call in times and ‘deliverables.’  This has been instilled in me for a long time.  I once had a baseball coach in college who passed along a very simple mantra: “Be there. And be on time.”  Seems so simple, but often deals and opportunities are won/lost by ignoring such basic rules.  Real life example: A couple of years ago, my financial services company was being vetted by a large, well known private equity firm for acquisition.  We had calendared introductory calls with the principal of the PE firm.  Those calls were calendared via MS Outlook and all participants received/acknowledged the call in times via the calendar with email notifications. On two separate occasions we waited on the conference call for over 20 minutes each time.  We reached out via email each time to see if we had messed up the times, knowing that was highly unlikely.  Word got back to us via an intermediary that we never sent out the calendar notifications and that we had lied when we said we made the call ins.  It left a very bad taste in our mouth.  Without going into too much detail, the mood was set in those early moments. In later conversations we discussed M&A terms that were favorable but because of a bad personal connection we walked away from the deal because there was no personal synergy.

Let me wrap this up by saying that yes, always be aggressive and assertive in your desires, professionally and personally. But when the figurative knock on the door comes, be prepared, or at least be responsive, professional, and thorough.  It can go a long way.


Looking forward to sharing more specifics as they come in. For now, happy holidays. A time to be thankful for sure.


Extreme Travel

Recently I embarked on a month long excursion that took me to some of the most extreme places on earth, Like Tuscany, and by the way, I wen to a website where they help me plan A return to Tuscany with Frances Mayes, since I went there last year.  It might be slightly exaggerated, but I did travel to parts of the world that topped temperatures of 120 degrees.  As part of that travel I was engaged in activities that were high in exertion, for hours on end. At the same time I was limited in the fuel (food, nutrients, supplements) that I could travel with and/or acquire along the way.  Since my return home (approximately 4 months as of the writing of this article) I have still not regained my pre-travel form.  In this article I will share my pre-travel workout and diet regimen and discuss what I have had to do to get back to that level, which is still a work in progress.

Pre Travel

I was notified of my departure date approximately 1 month prior to leaving.  In that month I radically adjusted my diet, workout / fitness and supplement plan.

Body Weight prior to date of notification of upcoming travel: 189lbs.

Body Fat %: 12%






Weight Workout: Mon-Fri (alternating Chest/Shoulders/Tri and Back/Bi’s; 4 sets; Reps: 8-6-4-1)

Cardio: Jiu Jitsu M, Tu, Wed, Thur, Sat

The weight workout generally involved compound weight movements (bench, squat, military bench, etc), using free weights (bars/dumbbells). This type of workout is best for building muscle. Pure and simple.  And there was a reason for this.  My weight classes for jiu jitsu tournaments (all weigh ins include gi, which is 4-5lbs depending on type of tournament) range from either 181lbs or 195lbs.  This means I cannot weigh more than either 176lbs or 190lbs. For someone that has ‘walked around’ since college at about 182lbs this put me smack dab in the middle of the medium and medium heavy weight classes.  In jiu jitsu technique is paramount to speed and strength.  But if you had to pick one, and I did, to compliment technique, I chose strength.  So my aim was to compete in the 195 class. And there are some big boys at that level.  Most guys drop weight to get to 195 before fights. I decided to add weight.  That meant for my workouts, heavier weights, lower reps, and compound exercises as  the best way to add that bulk. Coupled with 3000+ calories a day, I was packing on pounds and the jiu jitsu training cardio was the only way to make sure it was evenly distributed.

Supplements: Creatine loads 1x / month.  L Glutamine, Carnitine and 180g-200g of protein daily.

That was my regimen and had been for the better part of 12 years. And for the most part it worked.  The downsides have been the injuries.  Carrying around that much muscle meant added stress on joints, ligaments and tendons.  Prior to my world adventure, I had a torn labrum (shoulder) and torn meniscus (knee).  The world adventure was a blessing in disguise as it would force me to adjust my workout regimen, adjust my body design and balance my muscle mass to better fit my frame.


Pre Excursion

When I learned I would be taking part of this world travel adventure I had 39 days to adjust my workout, diet and supplement plan.  I knew that racing with added weight (pack, travel gear, etc) would add another 20-25lbs to my already overloaded frame.  I knew that racing in extreme temperatures or through unknown and precarious terrain would only exacerbate the need for more cardio, less muscle, and better agility and flexibility. This is what I did.

Weight workout:

Exercise Sets Reps
Flat Bench Press 3 4 to 6
Incline Dumbbell Press 3 4 to 6
Decline Barbell Bench Press 3 4 to 6
Flat Bench Dumbbell Fly’s 3 4 to 6
Lat Pull-Downs 3 4 to 6
Dumbbell Shrugs 3 4 to 6
Seated Cable Rows 3 4 to 6
Exercise Sets Reps
skull crushers funny bar 3 4 to 6
Barbell Bicep Curls 3 4 to 6
over head dumbell tri extensions 3 4 to 6
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 4 to 6
Lateral Dumbbell Raises 3 4 to 6
Upright Rows 3 4 to 6
Tricep Dips 3 Failure
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 3 4 to 6
Standing Calf Raises 3 4 to 6
Leg Extensions 3 4 to 6
Weighted Crunch 3 14-16
Cable Crunches 3 14-16
Knee Raises 3 Failure
Reverse Curls 3 8 to 10


Cardio:  Jiu Jitsu 4x / week

Hybrid: Cross fit 3-4x / week

Other: Pilates 2x/week, spin 1x/week, swimming 1x/week, surfing 1x/week

Diet: Green vegetables breakfast, lunch and dinner. No meat. No dairy. No sugar.  I think the diet had the biggest impact on my overall physical transformation as it was the first time I had cut out three of the notorious food pyramid groups; meat, dairy and sugars.

(2 days before departing)

Body Weight: 176lbs

Body Fat %: 7.5%







Mid Excursion

During the excursion and within the first week I could feel my body changing. I could see my clothes fitting differently.  My food was limited to usually a breakfast consisting of a sugary croissant or similar pastry, an equally high in sugar fruit juice and either a piece of chocolate or a piece of fruit.  That was it.  During my time traveling I equipped myself with the Hammer series electrolytes and sodium tabs.  I weighed myself approximately at the 2 week mark.  I had dropped to 172lbs while noticing a dramatic visual difference in my body tone.  Additionally, there was no opportunity for fitness (weight lifting, training, etc.) The only exercise was I was getting was from strapping on a 25lb pack and running various distances, in various terrains, in various temperatures.








Post Excursion

By the end of my first week at home I weighed 168lbs.  By the end of the second week my weight dropped to 162lbs. That would be the lightest I have ever weighed since my senior year of high school when I wrestled at 158lbs weight class (although my walking around weight was probably closer to 165lbs).  Even though I had begun eating properly again and restarted my various fitness programs, I believe the ongoing weight drop was due to me contracting some moderate level intestinal infection along the excursion route.  Due to that infection, the bacteria continued to deprive my body of the nutrients I was ingesting.

Approximately one month after returning home my weight started climbing back up to 170-172lbs.



Today, 4 months from my arrival home date, I weigh 172lbs. My body fat is 9.5%.  I am still off 5-8lbs from my ideal walking around weight.


My diet is slightly less restrictive then before I left for the excursion. I have amended my workout routine to include:

M: Cross Fit / BJJ

Tu: Cross Fit / BJJ

Wed: Rest

Thurs: Cross Fit / BJJ

Fri: Pilates / Cross Fit

Sat: BJJ

Sun: Rest

My diet looks like this:

Meal 1: Grande Americano / Hot Soy 2″ / 1 pump Pumpkin Spice.  Whole wheat flour tortilla, egg white, spinach/feta wrap.

Snack 1: 1 piece of fruit. handful of almonds/walnuts.

Meal 2: Lentils / chopped chicken. Carrots / Celery sticks.

Snack 2: 6 egg whites. 1 piece of fruit.

Meal 3: Protein (chicken/fish) spinach salad with arugula/feta, vegetables, avocado.

Snack 3: Tuna fish on crackers. Dried fruit.

Dessert: York Peppermint Patty.

Throughout the day I drink 2-4  Nalgene 32oz of water.


This is me today.