I’m Drew Friesen, founder and Strength Coach at Dynamis Performance.
I started Dynamis because of a passion for helping guys like me discover their true physical potential.
The reality is, I spent most of my life being average. I’m moderately athletic, moderately intelligent, moderately cool. Okay, maybe a little less than moderately cool if I’m boring enough to talk about it!
That said, I didn’t grow up dreaming about average. My parents tell me that the first time I saw Space Jam as a kid, I immediately wished I would grow up to be six-six and black. I remember running up my driveway countless times with a basketball, launching off one foot, thinking that finally, maybe, this time would be the time I magically soared up to our nine-and-a-half foot garage rim and dunked. Never happened.
At least I got really good at lay-ups.
It was pretty much the same story for Wayne Gretzky and ball hockey. Never could perfect that driveway slap shot. Just put a lot of dents in the garage door.
Swimming and martial arts were things I was actually, truly gifted at. Unfortunately, I quit those things early on for different reasons. In both cases, I just got in my own head. Too bad, too. I had real potential.
My point is, I didn’t grow up dreaming about average. I dreamed about awesome. And I’m betting if you’ve read this far, you did too.
Fast-forwarding to my university “career”, I found myself still in search of awesomeness, but not quite sure where to go. I knew I loved the body, loved exploring the limits of human potential, so I enrolled in Kinesiology at the University of Windsor. During that time I had a brief stint where I flirted with a change into philosophy (thank God I didn’t do that!), then took a year abroad where I studied upper-year psychology at Coventry University in the UK. Little did I know that my academic meanderings were actually building to something awesome.
In grad school (still at the University of Windsor, where I obtained my Master’s degree in Applied Human Performance), I explored both the extremes of human dysfunction and high-level sport performance. I thought I fell in love with high-performance sport, but I was wrong.
It wasn’t until about four years after graduation, having worked with hundreds of people including athletes right up to the highest level, that I realized it was never about the sports at all.
No, I was still in pursuit of the high-performance life – not for someone else, but for me. The dream was still alive.
See, what I’ve discovered in working with hundreds of people from all walks of life over the past 10 years is that people are struggling. Every day, people deal with stressors, self-doubt, family demands, and a culture that encourages self-indulgence and instant gratification instead of the pursuit of long-term goals. It’s tough out there, and in the midst of it all, it’s too easy to fall into complacency, covering over our general sense of malaise with on-hand “solutions” like alcohol or TV. In an odd way, the difficulties of life have made us seek out things that are easy – and sadly, empty.
When I realized that, I realized something else. The high-performance lifestyle doesn’t have to be done on the world stage. It doesn’t have to be on the floor of an NBA court. It doesn’t mean lots of money. It doesn’t even mean being among the best.
The high-performance lifestyle means doing what you’re meant to do the best you can possibly do it, even when it’s hard. It’s not about reaching the limits of human potential. It’s about reaching, and maybe even surpassing, the limits of your potential.
For me, that pursuit comes to life in the gym.
Movement is powerfully expressive. It’s more than just a means to an end. Movement is language. It’s communication. It’s an embodiment of our reality in the here and now. The mind and body are so intrinsically interwoven that what one does, the other expresses.
If that’s the case, then is it possible that the prolonged, thoughtful pursuit of physical prowess might also improve our brains, behaviour, and, by extension, performance in all of life?
It is this that I’m after. This excellence, this focus, this achievement. Not to prove to myself or anyone else that I can do it. Not even to give myself a sense of personal value.
No, I want to do it because I can – men don’t do tough things just because they can anymore – and the world’s worse off for it.
Obviously, there are more important things than the gym. Like love. Family. Relationships. People. But here’s the beauty of the gym: In there, it’s just me and the weights. It’s not moral, it’s not immoral. It’s simply a place to practice doing something difficult for the sake of becoming better. And if that doesn’t apply in all those other areas, I don’t know what does.
That’s why I do what I do. Because through the years, I’ve found I can help other guys with that exact same thing. I can help them rediscover the value of embracing challenges. I can help them find the worth of doing hard things. And I can help them live an awesome life of purpose instead of a life of mediocrity and regret.
If you’re like me – if you’ve wasted years procrastinating, meandering, wandering, wishing, being average – I’m inviting you to stop. I’m inviting you to take stock of your life. Be honest with yourself about where you’re headed and how you’re getting there. And if you don’t like what you find, why don’t you come join me on this journey, this pursuit of personal and physical strength? I’d love to share what I’ve learned and help you get to where you really want to be!
Thanks for being here, and for being awesome.