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  • Nathanael Littauer, CSCS

...Out of the Woods

Updated: Jan 31

Two months ago, I left my coaching job to work at a Christian wilderness boys camp to assume the role of a “Sous Chef” (the camp’s title for it, not mine, as I served as more of a manager). While it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in quite some time, it was a necessary thing for me both mentally and spiritually to step away. I’ve already written about my decision to leave (which you can read about here), but as I return to the “real world” it felt fitting to share some life lessons that can be derived from spending time away from society.


Photo Courtesy of Jason Hulbert

Keeping in mind that I try to write about training and not personal matters, I’ve come to realize that they are not separate but parallels. Coaching and training is what God called me to do, so life lessons can also be training lessons as well. I will keep most of these things vague, however, as they can and at some point will be explained further in other blog posts about how they correlate to life and training.

The kitchen I worked in was merely a renovated 28 foot trailer. We served up to 130 people 3x per day out of this space

The first one, however, I will explain since when I wrote about leaving people thanked me for my honesty, which is a lesson that bears repeating. Honesty is something that I have struggled with both with myself and others for years, and something that needs to be present in life and training. On a personal level, I have hidden my own struggles with depression and anger for some 15 years, which played a large role in having to make an exodus from coaching. It is something I kept lying to myself about and pushing down inside, and when asked how I was I would give the obligatory “I’m fine.” When I finally stopped giving the lying answer of “I’m fine” to people, I found that it allowed me to be honest with myself about other things. I don’t push myself the hardest when I train. I haven’t done everything I can to develop as a coach. I am not a victim of life but of the choices I have made leading up to this point.

The view from the back door to the kitchen, which was a common view at 6:30am everyday

In training, especially, being honest about things is crucial. Telling a coach you don’t understand or admitting you need help is a strength rather than a weakness. Being honest about your own effort levels (especially for those of you who use the RPE scale in training) is a must for getting stronger. Being honest about the quantity or quality of the food you eat on a daily basis is crucial to gaining mass or leaning out. And being honest about what your goals are and how realistic achieving them is will be crucial to achieving them.



Now let’s get on to a list of other lessons that will be expanded on later:

· Take some rest, daggumit! It really is that important.

· Figure out what you like to do and then spend time doing it

· Fresh is better! Timing is of the essence

· “Never judge a man’s decision when the green tracers are flying.”

· Make your initial plans with no constraints, then add the constraints after. This helps you prioritize things better

· Be patient. If you rush a process, you’re bound to miss something.

· Keep an open mind. Sometimes you’re not right

· Slow cooking can produce great results.

· Put your freaking phone down. You’d be surprised how creative you can be when you stop trying to be creative with your captions.


It seems like a weird list, but that’s the fun in it all. The cool thing about life is that sometimes it doesn’t have to make sense, and you just have to go with the flow. Regardless, I’m excited to see where that flow takes me, and hopefully you’ll join me for a fun ride.

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Photos by Kelly Knowles Photography and LiftingLife Photography