Hi I’m Nick and six years ago I made a startling discovery.
As I was approaching my 30th birthday, everything looked “ok” from the outside, but my body was starting to fall apart from the inside. I was getting softer, fatter, and more lethargic – the athlete inside of me was dying a slow death.
I had to make a change.
So I left behind a lucrative and stable career in finance, a boatload of amazing friends, a loving family, all the ‘securities’ of an American life, and I moved to Costa Rica to reawaken my identity of an athlete that had gone missing working in the corporate world.
I now help men in their 30’s and 40’s move, look, and feel better now than they did in their 20’s.
I truly believe that we all have a unique gift to give this world and that there is greatness in us all.
Most of the time it’s simply a matter of finding the right environment for you, being surrounded by the right people, and putting yourself in situations that allow for your superpowers to shine. I’m here to help clear that path for you.
Playing the Master Game
Before Costa Rica, I thought there was only one game in town, the game of life according to our modern culture that went something along these lines:
The only problem – I was playing the game well, but I wasn’t feeling any real benefits. I had a good salary, great benefits, and an amazing office view overlooking the San Francisco Bay.
But I was bored, frustrated, and didn’t give a shit about the meaningless work I was doing. And my body was starting to fall apart.
Growing up as an athlete, my body always provided me so much strength and vitality. I felt so at home on the court, the field, or on the diamond.
Playing and excelling at sports defined who I was as a person.
And it even got me into college as I was recruited to play basketball for Emory University. But something happened to that passion of playing between graduating Emory University with an Economics degree and getting into the work force where I was resigned to sitting at a desk all day.
That inner critic in my head seeking security, certainty, and status kept telling me to suck it up and play the game. Look at all your peers, look at all that success you can have if you just stay the course and play by the rules. Who are you to think you can dream big and play another game. Stay the course and follow along.
But that strong and vital body of mine was starting to breakdown as my stomach grew inches, my muscles weakened, and my joints ached.
I was in pain a lot. The athlete in me, now softer and 20 pounds heavier, was slowly withering away.
That adventurous little kid inside me who loved to play in the dirt and shoot hoops until midnight was nowhere to be found.
I realized that I was essentially spending the vast majority of my existence taking no risks, dropping every dream I ever had, living for the weekends, and dreaming of a life that could have been.
I had to figure out what was going on.There had to be another game. Or at least different rules to play by.
One morning an email came across my desk from a recruiter in NYC titled “Surf Camp in Costa Rica looking to assemble a team”.
Having just returned from a short surf trip in Nicaragua, I was intrigued. I reached out to Joe, the owner of Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, and a few months later we met at a trade show in San Diego.
Joe was playing a different game. Led by an insatiable desire for surfing, 15 years ago Joe drove a school bus down to Costa Rica and started a small little surf camp. Now it’s one of the most famous surf camps in the world.
Joe was playing by his rules, focusing intensely on doing something he loved and building a successful business around it. He wasn’t tied to some number, accumulating stuff along the way.
Joe represented a shift in thinking about playing the game of life I was conditioned to believe. There was another game that could be played. And here was an opportunity to create something for myself and get back to the athlete inside of me.
It was a life inspired by the natural beauty of the environment, and centered around a newly found passion of surfing that lit me up on the inside. It gave me a chance to fall back in love with moving my body and being active outside in nature.
But in those months before the fateful move, I was scared silly.
The “what if’s” flooded my head. What if I fail? What if I run out of the little money that I saved up?
The doubt crept in as my inner critic uttered those same words again, “Who are you to do this?”
This time my gut and heart had a different answer – “Who am I not to do this?”
What I Discovered
After a year working with Joe and the surf camp, I started training surf camp guests on how to get stronger and better prepared for surfing.
Shortly thereafter, I started Nick Holt Fitness that branched out to beach boot camp classes on the beach. With the help of my new love Julie, we built NHF into the #1 attraction in Tamarindo. We have now ventured online with Saltwater Fit to take our message to the people.
Saltwater Fit is the antidote to our sedentary, uninspired, distracted modern life that so many of us are living.
I’ve dedicated the last 6 years of my life to learning everything I could about fitness, training, nutrition, and health. I’ve personally trained and coached 100’s of men and women helping them work to be their best selves.
And in this quest, I’ve uncovered some shocking truths. It turns out most of what we’ve been told about diet and exercise is wrong.
I learned that lifting heavy weights with good form, especially big movements like the deadlift and squat, is actually one of the best things you can do to protect your back and stay strong.
This comes from someone who broke their back in high school football and was told by my doctor to never lift heavy weights again.
I know better now. I’ve worked my way up to deadlifting almost 400 pounds now and my body is stronger, more flexible and more supple at 35 than it has ever been.
I also realized those long boring jogs I thought were necessary for dropping pounds could be replaced by shorter more effective bouts of high intensity training – sprinting, jumping rope, or blasting on the bike for 10 hard-core minutes was all I needed to get the same effect of that 45 minute jog.
I learned that we can’t cheat sleep and that we must prioritize time in our day for rest and recovery.
I’ve learned to listen up to the infinite wisdom of my body and silence the “no pain – no gain” attitude that I had been conditioned to believe growing up as a male athlete.
I learned to fall in love with yoga because yoga is awesome. Yes, yoga is awesome. If you told me 10 years ago that I’d be saying those words about yoga, I’d say you were crazy. But we all evolve, right?
As far as nutrition goes, once I stopped listening to my doctor’s advice, I lost 20 pounds and gained a bunch of muscle in a few months. Once I understood the basics of nutrition and how certain foods affect hunger, cravings, blood sugar, satiety, etc., eating became easy and effortless. I could eat the foods I wanted to eat.
Now I’m still able to stay lean and strong and eat the foods I want because I have a solid nutritional foundation of veggies, lean proteins, and good fats.
With that solid foundation, I get away with Saturday morning pancakes, a monster burrito or an almond croissant when I’m feeling it.
You Ready for You?
Here’s the truth. I’m no guru and I certainly don’t have all the answers. You are your own guru because you know you. But here’s what I can promise – I can be an incredible tour guide – leading you on the most amazing journey possible – to a fitter, healthier you.
I can help you clear the obstacles and help you become more alive and full of vitality.
I can help you explore the potential and the resources that you already have around you and inside you and put that into action, and blast past the limits that you may have inadvertently set for yourself.
Experiencing this transformation in me and now seeing it happen for so many people that I’ve worked with and coached, it excites the hell out of me and gets me out of bed every morning. It’s my mission.
If any of my story touched, moved, or inspired you, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or if you’re ready to get in the best shape of your life right now, fill out this quick form to apply for my online coaching program:
Thanks for reading and have an amazing day.
Credentials: I am a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer, a Level 2 Precision Nutrition Coach, and a Level 2 Functional Movement Screen (FMS) Specialist. I have a Bachelors of Arts (Economics) from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.