Yes Folks, I’m Human

Coach Izzy

Baah-haa-haa! Was my reaction to the commotion created by the post A Mermaid or A Whale Exposed. I received emails categorizing me as insensitive and misogynistic, many unfriended me on Facebook, and many opted-out my mailing list.

Just as I expected!

I knew exactly what I getting into as soon as I finished writing my post. I knew it would test the thickness of my skin and my ability to keep a cool demeanor. It is the price for exposing politically incorrect or taboo topics. I touched a nerve in a subject where we – health professionals – are supposed to be huggy-touchy and dare not say what is boiling inside us.

But it needed to be done and I was the one who stepped up to face the firing squad. And what a vicious volley they delivered. The angry voices spoke in colorfully creative invectives … Just as I expected.

There was no sense in holding back but why did I pick such a time to rattle the cage?

It all started October 2011, after reconnecting with Mr. Carlos Lopez Valderrama, AKA El Profe Lopez, the high school teacher who encouraged me to write with passion about the topics that bothered me but others dared not touch.

I was reminded of how my first published article ever at the age of 16 created controversy and landed me and El Profe Lopez in hot water. We almost got thrown out of the school but since he was an exemplary teacher and I was an exemplary student involved in the community, they could not find a feasible reason.

And it is not that I was being controversial for the sake of it!

Frankly, I detest the type of writing done purely to offend and create a reaction. It is hollow, bitter, and worst of all; it ruins the chance of taking the reader through some soul-searching.

My article was controversial because it exposed a truth many talked about quietly but feared bringing up lest the severe repercussions. It questioned the validity of certain disciplinary approaches and whether they accomplished what they intended. It got wheels turning, and in doing so, it provoked discontent with the system. I discuss it briefly in my review of the events of the year 2011.

As hard as the experience was, it was essential as the number of friends and allies I made far outnumbered those who declared me a bad influence. I learned the power of the written word is immeasurable.

I cannot be more grateful for the timing of the re-encounter.

I had been thinking deeply about my writing and as happy as I was with my productivity and the quality of my work, I felt I was hitting the wall more frequently than before. And it is not that I lacked topics to write about, I had plenty. However, I was keeping them in the back burner concerned about the hullabaloo they would stir.

But hearing again from El Profe Lopez and learning from the wisdom of many business coaches, reminded me why a message whose essence does not create controversy is close to worthless.

A message that does not create controversy:

  • Is weak and conformist.
  • Tries to please everyone.
  • Hides in cowardice fearing criticism.
  • Will be soon forgotten and never produce the change intended.

Remember, there is a difference between being controversial for pure shock value and being controversial as a natural consequence of addressing objectionable topics. My strength has always been for the latter and that’s how I was writing up until a couple of years ago when well-intentioned – but poor – advice made think I had to tame it.

The combination of the reminder of why I started writing plus the hollowness of the post A Mermaid or a Whale is what prompted me to ditch the unnecessary correctness and once again, face what others fear.

The reaction was all too familiar and I was ready for it.

Fifteen minutes after the publication I started receiving the hate messages and removal from Facebook networks. Some wanted to know why “such a nice guy” could write something that offensive. About a dozen declared me insensitive and swore-off my mailing lists and further contact.


Small price to pay for what came next. I received over forty friend requests on Facebook, gained new fans in my Facebook page, and a boatload of new subscribers to my mailing list. Many fitness colleagues thanked me for saying what they had in mind but could not express for fear of losing clients. It was the reassurance I needed.

Folks, the truth will always offend.

Those hiding from it will feel the pain when exposed and run for cover. Truth alone is shocking enough and adding expletives, callousness, and manipulation is like adding ketchup to prime rib. Not only is it unnecessary –and tacky- it also strips it of its soul! If you feel you are alienating those you are trying to enlighten, it’s time to check your message. As painful as it may be, you may realize that after all, you were the one who had “the facts” all mixed up.

As to me, I have always been a nice guy, I am a nice guy, and I will always be. But that does not mean I am not human and devoid of the inherent flaws of human character, and incapable of making mistakes.

I will confess that I have low to no tolerance for those who promise but never deliver, for those who allow fear to rule their decisions, for those who talk but never take action, and for those who prefer to hold-on to a damaging but comfortable reality instead of making the stomach-wrenching effort of change it.

It is my opinion they choose to live blind to their weaknesses and are more interested in being correct than in facing the possibility of being wrong. No, I do not hate them, such an ugly word and wasteful feeling. I have no tolerance for them because they destroy my energy, interfere with my productivity, and want me to be as afraid as they are.

I hope my message is clear and if any of my previous posts offended you…

Well, that was never the purpose but it is what it is!

What I write may be interpreted as offensive by some, reassuring by some, liberating by others, or have no impact in a few. It’s a subjective experience and thus, requires no apology. I make no apologies for confronting overdone political correctness. I am compassionate and I feel your struggle but I won’t be one who allows you to settle for mediocre and won’t stand idly as you destroy your life with noxious half-truths.

Please don’t expect me to be perfect. Nobody is. Life is a constant pursuit of improvement and excellence and I’m always learning from my mistakes. I am human and trying hard to become a better person.

Thank you for time. I truly appreciate it!

I’ll see you on the exercise floor!

About The Author


Coach Izzy has been part of the Strength and Conditioning field for over 25 years. He speaks of the advantages of self-sufficiency and the drawbacks of relying on the liner approaches the health world seems fond of.