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Expecting the unexpected

17 Unexpected Life-Changing Outcomes of a Developing a Fitness Habit

You thought the best thing about fitness was losing weight and getting a six-pack? Think again…

What you’re about to read changed my life. And I hope it changes yours.

When most men take on a fitness regimen of any kind, their goal is usually physical.

  • They want to look good in the mirror.
  • They want to lose some weight.
  • They want to develop some muscles.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Yet, after coaching guys literally around the world, I’ve come to a rather profound conclusion.

Dad and Boys being fit
My Name is Darren Kirby and I’m a personal coach

My clients are usually busy Dads who don’t have the time but know they somehow need to find the time.

What I’ve discovered is…

“Fitness has rather than less to do with what you look like and more to do with who you BECOME in the process.” – Darren Kirby

In other words, you don’t just look different, YOU ARE DIFFERENT.

Inside as well as outside. Fitness is the vehicle to become that person you always wanted to be. The one you were destined to be.Time after time, guy after guy, after coaching a guy for a year or two… I’ll get off from a Skype call and think

“Wow, that guy’s a different person than the one I talked to six months ago.”

It’s a different persona, a different demeanour. A different attitude. The changes were so startling because they dwarfed changes to their physicality and attractiveness, which in and of themselves were significant. In my own life, after years of being unkind to my body, I decided to train for my first triathlon.

It was a life-changing experience in at least 17 different ways–besides just becoming more fit. Over the course of a year, in my diary, I would write down how I was feeling, performing, dreaming.

Who Else Wants Superpowers?

It was like in one of those Marvel Comics superhero movies where I was the one gaining superpowers.

I look back now and I’m amazed at the transformation.

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I feel different. I look different. Wow, I *AM* different!


Well, according to my diary, I can list 17 specific ways. 17 Totally unexpected ways of living, being and succeeding in this life.

I never realized life could be so… fulfilling. I never realized there was so much joy to life. You can, too. All it takes is to get yourself to workout a few times a week. It doesn’t have to be in a gym. It could be anywhere or any exercise.

Onto the 17 Unexpected Outcomes…

Unexpected Outcome #1: You Learn to Give Best Efforts Always 

So you’re at the gym and you’re doing your bench presses. You’re doing your sets, and you start to feel tired. Do you quit?

No. Why?

Because you know muscle growth and strength only come when you give best efforts, when you totally exhaust the muscle.

Mohammed Ali used to say he didn’t start counting reps until AFTER he had hit his point of exhaustion.

That’s the attitude! Now imagine taking that mindset into other areas of your life, especially work.

Imagine what would happen if regardless of circumstances such as an upset client or an SOB for a boss, you always gave best efforts.

Your life would transform, THAT’S what would happen.

Unexpected Outcome #2: Energy That Seems To Comes Out of Nowhere 

The next expected outcome is ENERGY.

I submit when you’re working out regularly, you have more energy. Simple as that.

Now I have a confession. I used to think I’d have less energy if I worked out. I seriously thought exerting myself would drain my reserves.

I mean I was already at the end of my energy rope. How could I even think about spending an hour a day on a bike, or treadmill or at the gym?

Yet, I did it anyway. What I told myself at the time was I’d give it my best for three solid months.

Why three months?

Well, many of the before and after photos you see on the Internet are the results of usually less than three months.

So I gave it three months, 90 days, was my goal, and then I’d take stock.

Well, I must admit the first week was pretty rough.

But then something amazing happened. About two weeks in, my body started to adapt.

I wasn’t dying at the end of an exhausting session. Now, I wasn’t an energizer bunny either. But I didn’t crash anymore.


Well, one reason is the way your metabolism is built. You see, your mitochondria, your cellular power plant is literally where energy is made.

And guess where the densest mitochondria are located?

Your muscles!

When you build new muscle, you’re literally creating new mitochondria. And it’s these new mitochondria that are adding new energy reserves to your body.

The more muscle, the more dense the muscle fibers, the more mitochondria you have.

And that’s just your mitochondria. Imagine what happens when your body starts getting more oxygen and other nutrients into your cells.

Your body adapts. It’s literally morphs!. What’s better is YOU start to morph… into someone amazing.

So when you start your fitness program, I encourage you… stick with it. Give your body a bit of time to adapt to the new behavior.

You’ll be shocked at what your body is capable of.

Unexpected Outcome #3: Your Family Becomes Closer

If you’re a Dad and you’re reading this, you’re probably a pretty busy man. My hat’s off to you. Same, here.

However, maybe you’re so busy at work, you’re neglecting your family (and I’ll bet you’re silently hating every moment of that.)

If that’s the case, now’s the perfect time to start a fitness program.


Because it’s the perfect bonding experience. There’s NOTHING more exhilarating for your family to see you visibly commit to something physical.

Something that isn’t “work.”

For me, it was my first triathlon. I can still remember the looks of excitement on my sons faces as I crossed the finish line.

I’ll carry that memory to my grave.

They saw me start. They saw me sweat. They saw me struggle. They saw me quit. Then they saw me re-commitment, And they cheered me on. They were proud of me.

Prior to that day, them having pride in me was RARE.

They knew the triathlon challenged me. It tested my mettle, that’s for sure.

But I discovered afterwards, not only was I a changed man. They had changed, too.

We were closer. I saw a level of admiration in them that I had never seen before. It’s hard to explain, but the triathlon brought us closer together.

And if there’s any reason to start a training program, that would be it. Yeah, the weight loss is nice. And feeling strong in your body, there’s no comparison.

But those are BONUSES, compared to a closer, more loving family.

If you’ve been on the fence regarding a fitness program, this unexpected outcome will also become a defining driver in your life.

Unexpected Outcome #4: Unabashed Optimism

Ok, there is one unexpected outcome which comes to guys which totally blows them away. It’s that they see the good in everything.

That optimism kinda sneaks up on you. At least it did me.

You wake up one morning and instead of being “Dad’s grumpy. Don’t talk to him until he’s had a cup of coffee,” you take the initiative to say “Good morning”.

And you do it without thought or effort. It’s almost unconscious. Now maybe you’re not Mr. Optimistic.

But you can’t deny it. The future does look brighter.

Yes, you’re happier when you workout regularly as opposed to not working out at all. The science behind this phenomena has been known for decades.

When you work out regularly, your brain unleashes hormones. Yes, steroids like testosterone are released, but also happy hormones like endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin.

These hormones flood your brain during a workout and linger long afterwards. Sometimes as long as three days. This is why you see guys who are jacked. 

When you work out regularly, you have noticeably happier attitude and this rubs off on everybody else at work and at home.

Optimism osmosis, I call it.

I’m telling you, if working out was a drug, they would have made it illegal. Over time, happiness is just a natural way of life. No Zoloft or Xanax required.

You owe it to yourself to at least try this. I tried it for 90 days and it changed my perspective forever. I couldn’t go back. Even if I wanted to.


Unexpected Outcome #5: Commitment & Willpower of David Blaine

When I say the word “commitment”, it sounds hard, doesn’t it?

Well, what if I told you it doesn’t have to be? I discovered this quite by accident. I had made the decision to work out every day for three months straight.

I just mentally “switched off” any other outcome. And I never wavered. Not once.

Now I’m not anyone special. 

Yet today, when it comes to making something happen, I have the willpower of magician David Blaine. All because I decided to workout every day.

You can, too.

How does this happen?

Well, what I didn’t know is all making commitments requires is practice. If you practice making commitments, even small ones, pretty soon committing to something becomes a natural part of you.

Here’s the formula: Have an outcome in mind. Something that you want to have happen.

1. Mentally turn the outcome into ”A MUST”.
2. Then, go for it!
3. The key is to turn something into a must. Like brushing your teeth. 

You don’t have to brush your teeth but every day, you do. Why? Because you don’t want to lose your teeth.

Obviously there’s a long turn consequence, but it really doesn’t matter in the moment, because you’ve made the commitment to brush your teeth twice a day.

You just do it.

But the cool thing I’ve discovered is making a commitment to work out bleeds over into other areas of your life. You make a commitment to spend more time with your kids. You make a weekly commitment to your partner for date night.

Now let’s say an unexpected opportunity comes up and you are challenged doing two things at once. What do you do?

Well, it depends, doesn’t it?

But odds are you’ll reschedule the potential interruption. Why? Because keeping that particular commitment is important to you. It’s important to your kids as well as your partner.

The other thing? Well, as a friend of mine says

“Opportunities are like a bus stop. There’s another one coming in 15 minutes.”

Making commitments is great if you’re a dad. What happens is it naturally forces you to prioritize your life into what’s most important. Once you see that, making the right choice becomes EASY.

Unexpected Outcome #6: Persistence

Now what happens when you run into obstacles, hurdles, speed bumps and setbacks along the way? What do you do then?

Obviously, you persist. You keep going. You try something new. Something different. But some guys let it get to them, too often, to early. Then they quit.

I’m not saying working out solves the problem, but it can sure help remedy it. What I’ve discovered is when you’re working out, you get away from the problem a bit, mentally speaking.

You can breathe for a while. Look at the problem from a different perspective or not at all, if you don’t want to. In that hour of working out, your mind will generate lots of ideas or it may suddenly come up with the perfect solution.

It’s the “I-had-an-idea-in-the-shower” kind of feeling. This will not only allow you to persist, but to have a BREAKTHROUGH And this changes your life.

But you gotta show up and you gotta work out. Doing so, will give you such personal satisfaction wouldn’t believe.

I encourage you to start thinking of working out like having to brush your teeth, something you gotta do no matter what.

And that’s the key to persistence. Having that “no matter what” attitude. Yes, I know it can be challenging. Yes, I know at times, it can be inconvenient And that’s kinda the point, isn’t it?

If everyone could do it, everyone would. But if you’re reading this right now, I submit you’re different.

Unexpected Outcome #7: Personal Improvement – Seek to improve and every day you can get just a little bit better`

Sometimes, we all fall into a rut. While consistency is important, sometimes we need to shake things up a bit. Keep things fresh and different.

And the way to do that is to commit to improvement, every day, every week, every year. Years ago, there was a training program called P90X. You may have heard of it.

It’s goal was to have you blast through workout plateaus. How did they do that?They do that was through a strategy called “muscle confusion.”

Basically, the idea was doing the same exercises, the same way, in the same order causes muscles to quickly plateau. You never get the gains you were expecting. So P90X addressed this by shaking things up and doing things differently.

Now when it comes to your life, the solution to getting out of a rut isn’t to make things confusing.

The answer is to commit to improving. Constant neverending improvement is what will change your life and working out every week is the way to implement it.

I mean what would happen if you could improve your life 17 different ways with every workout?

What if with each and every workout you became just a little more persistent? Just a little more energetic? Just a little more committed to the things you have and want in your life?

Things would change radically, in a very short period of time. At least that’s what my clients have discovered.

Improving just a little bit every day, even in the smallest of increments, radically changes your life for the better.

You owe to yourself to try it and see what kind of effect working out regularly can make in your life. Most guys in initially notice changes in strength and physical attributes.

The get a little muscle and they drop a little weight. Over time, they build a lot of muscle and drop a lot of weight. But the changes don’t end there.

They start trying to eat healthier. Eating more of the good stuff, and less of the bad.Next thing you know, their mindset starts to shift. Their self-confidence, self-worth, self-esteem all start to trend upwards.

Just by starting to work out regularly.

Unexpected Outcome #8: Breakthrough Self-imposed Ceiling in Your Life

There’s a certain stage in our lives where we have a pretty good idea what we can and can’t do.

“I can play guitar.”

“I can’t do calculus.”

“I can’t play golf.”

And on and on and on.

In our brains, we have these two big, mental file cabinets. One labelled “Can’t” and another labelled “Can”.

But it gets worse.

We’ve got another set cabinets. The “Should’s” and Shouldn’t

“I should approach that beautiful woman.”

“I should be more nice to my kids.”

“I should do a date night with my wife.”

And you know what? Working out is great for eliminating those self restrive, self-imposed beliefs that don’t support us.

Here’s why.

When we first start working out, after each session the truth is we feel like a truck hit us. We hurt. We ache. We silently think to ourselves “I can’t do this.”

And then we power through it. We do it again the next day and the next.

And at some point, our belief shifts and we start to think “Yeah, I CAN do this!”.

And then later one, you want to know what happens?

We start to think “Wow, I LOVE doing this!” And you can imagine life without doing it.

The same applies to anything else in life.

For instance, once shy, nerdy guys have built entire YouTube channels based upon them approaching beautiful women.

At some point, they actually get good at approaching beautiful women and now they can’t see themselves not doing it.

And that’s the point, isn’t it?

We embrace the change we want in our life and then we ultimately become the change we want. It’s wonderful to look back on yourself 3, 6 or 12 months later and see how far you’ve progressed.

Unexpected Outcome #9: Tougher – Physically and mentally

“Suck it up.” “Man up.” “Grow a pair.”

As men, we hear those words or something similar constantly growing up. The message is received crystal clear. Get tough. Be tough.

And you know what? Working out is GREAT at increasing toughness both physically and mentally.

As you already know, just getting yourself in the gym is an act of toughness.But you overcome it. And then the next thing is breaking a sweat. And you overcome that.

Over time, like a muscle, you build inner and outside toughness that impacts over aspects of your life.

You’re about to not just endure, BUT APPRECIATE the value of the negative things that occasionally come into your orbit.

When I say appreciate, I mean at some level, you actually look forward to them. Kind of how I look at running a triathlon.

Will the triathlon be hard? Yeah.

Will I hurt the next day? Yeah.

Do I care? No. I’m going to do it anyway?

Why? Because of the man I’ll become in the process. Working out IS that process. And it gives me the ability to say “I don’t care.” And especially, in my most solemn voice…

“Bring it on.”

Unexpected Outcome #10: Clarity – The Mental Fog Lifts

There’s something nobody ever told me about working out. You actually thinking more clearly over time.

Blood flow is increased. The brain gets oxygenated.

It’s almost like your brain is getting a workout, too. The reason?

Can this happen with sets of deep diaphragmatic breathing instead? Yes, but it’s not as much fun. Quickly, the fog that you may have been in lifts and you feel mentally rejuvenated.

You feel like you can take on the world. It’s an amazing experience. One that you can enjoy every day if you want. 

Thinking clearly allows you to make better, more high quality decisions.

You’ll start thinking about things like leaving a legacy. Creating long term health and wealth. Becoming a real father to your kids.

That newfound ability will change your life dramatically over time.

And of course, you’ll be making better decisions about your body.

In your own way, you’ll start treating it more kindly and with respect. All because you pushed more blood, oxygen and nutrients into your brain.

Unexpected Outcome #11: You Appreciate Challenge

Something opens up after you’ve been working out for a while. It’s like when started, you had trouble bench pressing two hundred pounds.

Now you can bench press 300 pounds with ease. There’s no challenge to 200 pounds anymore. It’s not overwhelming. Because you’re far more capable. You can take on more of a challenge.

At some point, the same thing happens in life. You somehow feel far more capable to take on more of life’s challenges.

Whether their financial, relationship or health-related, the problems don’t look so big anymore.

It gets better.

At some point, you start proactively looking for challenges. For me it was doing a triathlon. It was such a breakthrough for me. Not just finishing it.

But starting it!

Yeah, I would have never even thought of doing a triathlon, unless I had been working out AND I had the desire to take on a real challenge.

Again, you feel more capable and rather than squandering the excess energy, you want to invest it in something that will pay dividends.

Maybe it’s to build your business.

Maybe it’s to deepen your relationships.

Or maybe your want to test your mettle fitness-wise and enter some kind of competition. You wouldn’t be the first.

And the cool thing is, it doesn’t matter how old you are or what kind of shape you’re in. This experience is so unlike being thrust into a sink or swim situation.

What I’m talking about is actively seeking out things that will define you as a man, as a father or as a husband.

That’s what happens when you start working out regularly.

You start seeing a challenge like set of dumbells. You think to yourself “let’s see what I can do…”

Unexpected Outcome #12: Motivation Comes Naturally… 

Some people I know are natural born procrastinators. Always waiting till they HAVE to do something to take action. Here’s the thing though.

You can’t be a procrastinator AND want to work out regularly at the same time.

You need to be motivated. You need to WANT to work out.

Being motivated to work out will feed other areas of your life positively. For instance, if you’re motivated to work out, you’re probably doing it for a reason.

Maybe it’s to get in shape.

Maybe it’s to get your health back.

Maybe it’s to attract the opposite sex.

Whatever the reason, it’s the true source of your power.

Yes, I said power. Because you can draw strength from it that will affect other areas of your life.

When I started working out, maybe like you, I was overweight. I wasn’t healthy.

And my family knew it.

I thought they somehow thought less of me as a man. As a father.

No, they never came right out and said it. But when I couldn’t keep up with my kids, could tell they thought something was wrong.

So my kids were my motivation.

Here’s what fascinating.

The more you stay in this state of motivation, the more your want to stay in it.

It feels SO good!

I can understand how people go to seminars and workshops to listen to a motivational speaker. Being in a motivated state, one where you can accomplish anything is euphoric And you can accomplish so much being motivated.

And just because you’re working out regularly, you already ARE motivated.

Now the question is “How else can you apply this life-changing motivation?”

Be prepared for some very eye-opening answers.

Unexpected Outcome #13: Responsibility

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill

Responsibility can be such a heavy word.

So let’s try a less burdensome word…


For the most part, people don’t take responsibility for things they don’t love.

That’s why when you work out what you’re doing is loving yourself. You’re implicitly taking responsibility for your health and fitness.

And you realize at some point, responsibility isn’t THAT hard or difficult.

And in fact, what you’re really saying is you love your body enough to take care of it.

And then you start to dig in and really make your body perform, enjoying every minute of it along the way. This happens in other areas of your life as well.

For instance, let’s say you have a dog. Well yes, having a dog requires responsibility. But you would never frame it that way.

Because dog owners love their dogs, first and foremost.

Same thing can be said of your relationship to your family, the things you own or communities you are a part of. Your friends, for example. You would never want to see harm done to your friends. You love them too much.

If they ever got into trouble, you’d help them out in an instant. As you start working out, and especially as you start seeing results, you begin to realize one foundational principle:

What you pay attention to… what you love… grows.

Your body starts to respond. Your family feels the love and returns it. Your friends adore having you in their lives.

All because of the desire to take responsibility for them, to love them. That’s what happens you take responsibility. This also translates into the work environment.

Again, when it comes to responsibility, most people just stick to things they are directly responsible for. They don’t want to step on other people’s toes. They don’t want to look like their taking undue credit.

But again, call responsibility love and the same thing happens. The company does better, your co-workers appreciate you and your work product shows the love you’ve given it.

So go ahead, take responsibility for your body, for health, first. Then start to see what happens when you do the same with other parts of your life.

I think you’ll be amazed.

I know I was.

What I discovered is it pays dividends to treat another person with love as opposed to being neutral or negative. I received way more than I gave in the moment. Try it for a day or two and see.

I bet you’ll never go back.

Unexpected Outcome #14: Incredible Self-Discipline 

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle  

Until I did my first triathlon, I never valued self-discipline before.

I just never “got it.”

Of course, for whatever the reason, there were times when I didn’t want to work out.

And then, I realized the value.

And then it turned into a habit.

And it changed my life.

Having self-discipline is probably one of the best things you’ll get out of a regular exercise regimen.

Obviously, it doesn’t have to be training for a triathlon, although if you’re considering a workout regimen, I would say triathlon training is one of the best when it comes to self-discipline.

Why? Despite how hard it looks, it is easier to commit to. The self-discipline required is not as much because it’s so much fun.

The second reason is it’s never boring.

That means you’re less liking to opt-out of a given session. You’ll actually come to look forward to working out. That means less self-discipline is required.

Here’s what else I’ve discovered. As you take on more and more challenges, you’ll find you start developing “a self-discipline muscle.”

This amazed me. And this changed my life in very fast, and very dramatically.

  • Procrastination stopped.

  • I committed to long term relationships.

  • My kids noticed and followed in my footsteps when it came to chores around the house.

The best part is with the combined physical and mental strength, I felt almost superhuman. I could do anything–if I set my mind to it.

Imagine if you had that in your life.

Imagine what you could have. What you could do. Who you could become.

All because you’re exercising the self-discipline muscle.

Unexpected Outcome #15: Joyful Enthusiasm

You know what else I discovered as a result of working out regularly?

I had more passion.

I had more enthusiasm for the things in my life. My kids. My wife. My job.

My enthusiasm for working out leaked into those other areas so much so, my life changed dramatically.

My enthusiasm also leaked over into the attitudes of the people around me. Especially my colleagues at work.

Today, I have my own business and I’ve discovered people feed off my enthusiasm and energy.

It’s quite remarkable.

I mean have you ever stayed up all night and it’s about 4am and you start to get a second wind? That second wind feels so good, doesn’t it?

That’s kinda like how enthusiasm is. It inspires the people around you. You get the best out of them.

And the best part? You get the best out of yourself.

Unexpected Outcome #16: Vibrant Health 

When I started working out regularly, I expected my fitness, strength and physique would all improve. But what I didn’t expect was how much my overall health would improve as well.

But it gets better, there’s an anti-aging element to working out regularly.

Mentally and physically, I felt better than I had in years. I felt like I was 21 again.

Studies all show, working out regularly helps not just your muscles, but all your organs. 

When I started doing triathlons, this was all so unexpected. But today, not only does my fitness support my health, but also my diet.

When you get these three things together… your mental state… your fitness… and your diet… your life becomes almost magical.

And what’s cool is working out regularly is the catalyst.

Unexpected Outcome #17: The Happiness Reset

When you work out, certain hormones are released in your brain called endorphins.

Simply put, endorphins make you feel good. You’re happy.

Marathon runners call this euphoric feeling “the runners’ high.” But other exercises experience pretty much the same thing.

The cool thing is endorphins can last as long as 72 hours afterwards.

But you know what happens eventually? Your brain because permanently rewired for happiness! 

It’s true. With your brain constantly flooded with endorphins, it develops synapses aligned with this permanent shift in mental state.

You’re a happy man, at a neurological level.

Bonus Unexpected Outcome #18: You Leave a Legacy

I don’t know about you, but my kids are my legacy.

They’re the things I’m going to leave behind.

And in a time when overall people’s health is declining, I want my kids to have the skills they need to be healthy and fit.

And so I’ve discovered that the best way to do that is to be an example, a role model.

Once you develop the fitness habit, I’m telling you–THEY NOTICE.

The key is for them to always know THEY COME FIRST, over your workouts.

You’re an inspiration. And their memory of you will inspire them later in their own lives. And when they grow up and have kids of their own, in their kids’ lives.

Whether it’s training for a triathlon… bodybuilding… yoga… or anything else.

It’s who you become in the process. 

And your transformation ultimately leaves a legacy for everyone around you.


For whatever your initial reason, I hope I’ve given you 17 perhaps even more important reasons, to stick with it.

The pay-off long term is limitless.

Working out regularly can give you the vehicle to become the man you ultimately want to become.

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