The WolfPack Impact
Guest post written by: Luke Robinson
‘“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
How did I go from growing up on a farm in Maine to the brink of becoming a WWE professional wrestler (yes, the Hulk Hogan kind) to becoming the leader of a primal-inspired fitness community that won Robb’s Farm to Gym Challenge this year? Well, as the man himself would say, “buckle up buttercups” because I’m going to take you on a little ride through my life and let you know how I believe we can change the world.
So Who Am I?
My name is Luke Robinson- personal trainer, nutritionist, and owner/founder of WolfPack Fitness in Auburn, Maine –But before I tell you more about that, I think it’s important to tell you what led me here (you can skip this part if you want but at least look at all the pretty pictures).
In 2011, I came in second place on WWE Tough Enough, a reality show hosted by Stone Cold Steve Austin where the winner got a contract with the company. After having my boyhood dream crushed on live national television (and I didn’t even make a dramatic post about it on FaceBook!), I went home physically and mentally defeated.
Sick of the 2-3 hour gym sessions and “7 small meals a day” regimen that I thought was necessary to be fit, I went on a 2 month binge consisting mostly of beer and Doritos (not exactly Paleo/Primal fare). After gaining 13 lbs of fat and losing a considerable amount of muscle mass, I finally decided I needed to do something about it. But the thought of returning to the marathon gym sessions and days that needed to be meticulously planned around my next meal was daunting. I needed a better way. After a chance sighting of a John Kiefer (of Carb Back-Loading fame) magazine article in an airport bookstore, I began to delve deeper into “alternative” nutrition and fitness.
I found my “better way” from incredible men like Robb Wolf, Kiefer, John Meadows and extraordinary women like Stefanie Ruper, Amy Kubal, and Eva T.
As I learned more and more about the simple beauty behind primal fitness and nutrition, I said goodbye to the days of marathon gym sessions and regimented meal planning. In its place, a new lifestyle was created. A lifestyle that included lots of real food, efficient and effective movement, and a humble appreciation for our ancestral heritage. I began to enjoy eating again and cut my workout time from 3 hours/day to just 3 hours per WEEK (while looking better than ever). Over the course of the next several months, I shared my discoveries with friends and family who were more than willing to be my “test subjects” as I worked towards my nutrition and fitness certifications. The results were extraordinary.
With my dreams of becoming a professional wrestler behind me, I had a new ambition. I had found my raison d’être – my purpose for existence: To help others find health and happiness without the torturous workouts or imprisoning diets that I went through. Like Katy Perry says in her song “Firework” (yes I’m going there), “Maybe a reason why all the doors are closed/So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road/Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow/And when it’s time you’ll know.” For me, that moment came when I saw a revitalized strength, confidence, and happiness in my mom, Linda. After 3 years of living this lifestyle, she can do more at 59 than most 21 year olds. My life’s mission became to give as many ordinary people this same opportunity to be extraordinary and WolfPack Fitness was born.
Today, WolfPack Fitness has become a community-based wellness company that teaches the benefit of eating real food, the beauty of movement, and the power of the mind. We help our clients cast off the spoiled, entitlement of modern life in favor of becoming an appreciative, selfless, and loving human being. Our “solutions over excuses” mantra drives our wolves and she*wolves to live with a passion for innovation, creativity, and positivity. Why the name “WolfPack?” Because a wolf is a beautiful yet fierce and strong creature who can survive just fine on its own but thrives in a pack.
I Told You That Story to Tell You This Story…
In September, WolfPack Fitness won Robb’s “Farm to Gym Challenge.” As many of you already know, this contest encouraged gyms around America to find creative ways to promote local farming and the host of wonderful benefits – nutritionally, socially, and economically – that come with it.
We got to work organizing a month of events that featured topical podcasts, entry into a local food coop, farm themed fitness classes, and our personal favorite– “A Blue Collar Affair” – an evening on a local farm with a full tour, meet the farmer seminar, and a beautiful farm-fresh meal!
So how does a non-CrossFit, upstart nutrition and fitness company from Auburn, Maine win a national competition put on Robb Wolf himself? The same reason we have upwards of 40 men, women, and children at our outdoor Primal Fitness class in the middle of a frigid New England winter… the power of community.
So What Are We Gonna Do With All That Meat?
First, we wanted to reward the incredible folks who made this possible. Without our clients, friends, and family who whole-heartedly believe in the message we’re teaching, WolfPack Fitness could not exist. So after our latest Primal Fitness class, we held a WolfPack Ice Fishing Social for our community, complete with LOTS of bun-less grass-fed burgers and homemade guacamole (Lunch on Robb!).
Next, we wanted to make a statement to our local community that sourcing and quality of meat matters so we donated an entire box of grass-fed ground beef to the St. Mary’s Food Pantry – an organization that provides food to homeless youth, daycares, school-based health centers, and to those in need during emergency situations (http://www.stmarysmaine.com/Nutrition-Center-of-Maine/st-marys-food-pantry.html). Will one box of grass-fed beef immediately change the world? No. But it’s one more “butterfly wing flap” that has the potential to bring about drastic change. Already, we’ve been approached by several teachers in our surrounding area to present at their schools after seeing the incredible changes in our clients who are eating MORE than ever but have made the switch to buying local, high quality protein sources. The message to the kids is always the same, “Eat better, not less. Work smarter, not harder.” Hundreds of years of medical research and learning should be able to yield a better prescription than “eat less and do more.” Folks like you who are reading this blog will be the ones to help shift the paradigm in our country towards real food solutions and not more prescription drugs.
The rest of the meat will be kept in large storage refrigerators in “The Wolves Den” - our converted barn fitness studio. We’ll be selling it to clients with a caveat: all the money will go towards funding an on-premises community garden this spring/summer! We’ll be using the garden to grow fresh vegetables – especially things like cabbage, carrots, and ginger to make our own fermented, gut healing foods like sauerkraut and kimchi!
What Has the Farm-to-Gym Challenge Meant to Us?
With the Farm-to-Gym Challenge as our catalyst, our eyes began to open to all the opportunities we had to positively (and creatively) impact the lives of the people around us.
Since September we’ve gone on to organize lots more incredible events such as:
- Group Fitness classes where 100% of profits were used to buy a gift card to a local farm which we donated to a local soup kitchen so they could buy farm-fresh ingredients
- “She*Wolf Clothes Swap Party.” Our ladies got to “raid” each other’s closets to find clothes in their new sizes. We donated all the additional clothes to Safe Voices – a women’s abuse shelter & resource center.
- Group volunteer days at our local soup kitchens. Many of our clients bring their kids to volunteer as well. We teach them that eating healthy is a privilege, not a chore and that many children wake up not knowing if they will eat at all.
- “Den Up Your Dinner” cooking nights. During the holidays and before the Super Bowl we’ve held community cooking nights to teach people how to make healthier variations of their favorites foods – especially for those with autoimmune conditions that require gluten- and dairy-free nutrition.
- “WolfPack in the Wild” Restaurant Night: we worked with Marco’s, a local Italian restaurant, to organize a community dinner that taught people how to make best choices while dining out. The owners were more than accommodating- providing us with spaghetti squash in place of pasta, real butter in place of vegetable oils, and of course plenty of bacon for our scallop appetizer!
- Group volunteer days at our local farms.
- Free Fitness events for kids and teens who haven’t had the luxury of growing up in supportive households; teaching them the beauty and importance of play.
- Visits to Central Maine Medical Center with Gunner, our on-site Therapy Dog.
We tell you this not for your adoration or compliments but in hopes that it will inspire you – much like the Farm to Gym Challenge inspired us – to use your resources to spread love and positivity through your communities. If we, a group of ordinary folks from Auburn, Maine can do this, then so can you!
How Can You Change the World?
It all starts with one simple question. “Why not us?” I learned this lesson early in my professional wrestling career. If you don’t believe in yourself then no one else is going to do it for you. You have two choices: 1) try or 2) live with the anguish of “what if?”. Every day we hear stories about a celebrity or professional athlete who grew up in a small town and made it big, yet so many of us still talk ourselves out of even trying to do something extraordinary with our own lives. Well I promise you that the “what if?” on your deathbed will be far more painful than anything you tried and failed at during your lifetime. Even though our goal isn’t to become rich or famous like an actor or the latest YouTube sensation, the common denominator is that it starts with getting out there and taking action. I’m talking to YOU!
Now, if you’re anything like me, then you want to know more. You know, the type of questions you asked your mom as a kid.
“I know, but how mumma?”
So right now, I’m going to give you the three-step strategy and mindset I’ve cultivated to generate more community action in the past 4 months than I have in the previous 29 years of my life.
1. Find something your passionate about; something that makes you feel. Simply sending out your “thoughts or prayers” is not enough. If something moves you deep in your heart and you want to make a change then you must get out there and do it! Maybe you were raised by a single mom and remember how difficult Christmas time was for you and your family. So you decide you’d like to help give a Christmas to families in need. Use Google to find out if there any existing charity organizations in your area that assist with programs like this and find out what it takes to provide for a family.
2. Inspire a shared a vision and encourage the heart. This is where you can use social media for all the right reasons in all the right ways! If you don’t have one already, make a FaceBook page for your gym and pitch your idea. Despite what the 6 o’clock news will have you believe, there are still lots of good people left in this world who want to selflessly help others. Sometimes, all they need is a little spark. This is where YOU come in. Share your experience and what it means to you. This is your chance to tug on some heart strings and get people ready to act. Let’s run with our Christmas example: some of your peers may be shocked to learn that most of these children just want something as simple as a basketball for Christmas – an item that the rest of us would just skip over to WalMart to pick up any time of year. Once people realize they don’t need a million dollars or 10,000 hours to help change a child’s life, they’ll be far more likely to jump on board. Again, sometimes they just need a little nudge in the right direction.
3. Think of creative ways to raise money that engage the community and provide mutual benefit for everyone involved. This is where you’ll challenge the typical fund raising process by empowering others to act. Let me give you an example. Suppose you learn that it costs $50 to provide a family with a hot meal and 2 toys for Christmas. For the entire month of December, you could hold a weekly $5 fitness class consisting of fun and creative relay races called “Reindeer Games” with 100% of the profits going towards supporting families in need. The more people that come to class, the more families you can help! The key is to get people excited about the idea of celebrating fitness with their peers while simultaneously helping others in their community. It’s this beautiful loop of reciprocation that will get WAY MORE people to take action than just asking for a donation. And remember, the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t the only times people need help so be thinking about ways you can contribute year round.
That’s it! It’s that simple. Inspire a shared vision, encourage the heart, challenge the process, empower others to act, but most importantly model the way! Remember, videos of kittens and twerking aren’t the only things that can go viral – love and passion are pretty good at that to.
My Challenge To You
We live in the greatest country in the world. We have the freedom to do more things, meet more people, see more places, learn more stuff than any other time in human history. But with enough freedom also comes enough rope with which to hang yourself. Unfortunately, we have done just that. The state of health in our country is declining at an alarming rate with more than enough misinformation to keep even “health conscious” people fat, sick, and pouring money into low-fat crap, refined grains, and pharmaceuticals. That’s where our communities can help turn this whole thing around.
“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
That’s from the Declaration of Independence. It means if there’s something wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action. Once again, that means YOU. If you’re reading this you likely have already been touched by the power of the paleo/primal lifestyle. I don’t care what gym you belong to or what religion you subscribe to. Now is not the time for a no holds barred cage match between paleo, primal, powerlifting, CrossFit, yoga, and bodybuilding…
The fact is, we’re all a part of the same community; a community that believes in the power of humanity. A community that must stand up to the lies, myths, and half-truths in the health & fitness world and let people know that a better way exists. A community whose ultimate goal is to leave the world a better place than when we found it.
Collectively, we are more than just trainers and trainees, gyms and business, places and buildings- we are the seeds of a revolution. A revolution that will reclaim our health, hearts, bodies, and souls.
But remember, if you want to change a country, it’s not enough to talk about it, “we must be the change we want to see”. We must be in the trenches every day, fighting for what we know is right. You CAN make a difference in this world and (win or lose) the fight is worth it! What are we fighting for? The day where we stop calling real food and natural movement “alternative medicine” and start calling it “the way.”