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Overcoming All Odds

Overcoming All Odds
By Todd Durkin, MA, C.S.C.S.

I want to tell you a story of someone extremely special. Her name is Meg Kruse. She’s a trainer at Fitness Quest 10 who just accomplished something really incredible at the age of 55. And she overcame a ton of adversity in life to fulfill a dream come true.

But before I tell you Meg’s story, it’s critical that you read one of my favorite stories of all-time on hard-work, consistent effort, and persistence. It’s called “The Stonecutter” (excerpt from Tony Robbins’ book “Awaken the Giant Within”) and it will help you understand the magnitude and depth of Meg’s story.

The Stonecutter:
A Stonecutter starts out with a big hammer and hits a large rock as hard as he can trying to split a large boulder. The first time he hits it, there’s not even a scratch, not as much as a chip–absolutely nothing. He pulls back the hammer and unleashes another blow to the mighty stone again and again–100, 200, 500 times…and still nothing.

 After all this effort, the boulder does not show even the slightest crack, but he keeps on hitting it any way. People sometimes pass by and laugh at him for persisting when obviously his actions are having NO effect. But the Stonecutter is very wise. He doesn’t concern himself of what other people think. He knows that just because you don’t see immediate results from your current actions, it doesn’t mean that you’re not making any progress.  He keeps hitting at different points in the stone, over and over again -relentless in his pursuit.  At some point, possibly on the 800th  or 900th hit, or quite possibly the 2,000th strike–the massive stone doesn’t just chip, but literally SPLITS IN TWO.

Was it this one final single hit that broke the stone in half? No. It was the constant focus and consistent effort over time that created the ultimate result. The stonecutter accomplished his mission.

 Here is the moral of the story:  It takes daily discipline, consistent effort, constant improvement, and an unrelenting pursuit of a goal to reach success. And the consistent swinging of the hammer, despite other’s rebukes, proves that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

So keep swinging those hammers!

Now let me give you a real, live example of a “Stonecutter” I know.

5 years ago, one of the local gyms in my community of Scripps Ranch, San Diego (CA) was closing. And several trainers from that facility wanted to come over and get hired as trainers at Fitness Quest 10. And out of the handful of trainers that we actually interviewed, I hired only 2 of them.

One of them was a gal named Meg Kruse. The other trainer was Craig Valency.

And while both of them are still with our world-class team of trainers at “FQ10,” I want to share a recent major feat that trainer Meg Kruse accomplished. It reminds me of that of the Stonecutter.

The story of Meg Kruse.

In 2008, at the ripe age of 50, Meg started to compete in “figure competitions.”

A friend of hers encouraged her to do it and she gave it a shot.

19 competitions and 5 years later, Meg just earned her PRO CARD by the IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilders) in figure competitions at the North American Championships in Pittsburgh, PA, on August 31, 2013.

(Note: You may be wondering “what is a figure competition?” And while figure competitions bear a close resemblance to female bodybuilding, figure competitors emphasize muscle definition over muscle size. Symmetry and physique are critical to winning.)

So I recently caught up with Meg on her amazing accomplishment and asked her a few questions about her motivation, what it takes to compete at such a high-level (and at the age of 55) and a few of her tricks/tips to maintain peak conditioning.

Here are a few powerful excerpts from her interview:

TD: “Meg, What motivates you to compete?”

Meg:  “I love to win!  But even more, I love working towards a difficult goal. I get a lot of satisfaction out of driving myself and working hard over time especially if this requires a certain amount of suffering and sacrifice.  Plus, I am a big show off and love going onstage at age 55 in a tiny little sparkly bikini and high heels (Haha)!  I also LOVE the fact that my path is an inspiration to others.”

TD: “What are a few of your best practices that have allowed you to win or place in most of your 19 competitions, yet still be “drug-free?”

“The things that I absolutely need to do every day are NOT optional. I am very disciplined and consistent with my practices. Here are a few:
•    If I need to do cardio, I do it. I do cardio 6x per week in contest preparation.
•    If I need to train, I train. I lift weights 6x per week in contest preparation.
•    I prepare my own food… and nothing gets in the way.
•    When I am dieting for a show, I take my own weighed and measured meal in a Tupperware container to a holiday party, birthday party, or any event involving a meal.  That is hard, but not impossible. You just have to do it. It’s been 5 years since I’ve actually had birthday cake on my birthday… and I’m going to be just fine!
•    Hire a coach. I have a trainer that trains me, and I’m a trainer. We all need accountability, motivation, and expertise. I am a sugar addict and needed a strict meal plan to keep me on track and make sure that I was getting the proper nutrition for building muscle. She keeps me on point.
•    Procrastination is my enemy – I can ruin my day putting off doing what I know I need to do. I am very organized and methodical with my approach to eating and exercise because I realize ultimately how it will make me feel AND help me attain my goals.”

TD:  “Is there anything else you would like to share about your journey, your life, your accomplishments, or what you had to overcome to achieve this monumental goal?”

Meg:  “Yes, there are several things and these are probably most important. Because they drive me everyday.

You see, the woman you see and interact with…the pretty woman with the great body… the confident, friendly, and outgoing woman… she is totally different than the woman inside.

My insides have NEVER matched my outsides. I had a horrific childhood that left me with no self-worth, no self-confidence and no self-esteem. It ultimately resulted in anorexia, bulimia, alcoholism, drug addiction…and…I’m sure I forgot something… (voice fades off).

And as a result of a near death experience, I found my way to recovery and have been clean and sober since September 29, 1993. Since then I have been active in recovery and had a LOT of mainstream and complimentary healing modalities to assist me on my slow and steady healing path.

And while I have tried many different activities and hobbies in the past 20 years of being sober, nothing has quite consumed me like that of Figure Competitions.”

TD: “What inspires you today?”

Meg: “Life inspires me. People inspire me. Fitness Quest 10 inspires me. Being a trainer inspires me. My clients inspire me.

I think the bottom line is this. I love inspiring people (especially women) to work towards being their best self.  Being a trainer puts me in a position to touch many lives every day.  It is my personal quest that every single person that I interact with feels better about themselves as a result of my support, encouragement, acceptance and love.  It is my goal that every person walks away from a session feeling better… physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.”

(To read the complete interview with Meg Kruse, you can click here).


For several years, I have talked about “Living a Life Worth Telling a Story About.” And we all have a special and unique story. Whether it was from the depths of despair or from having to hurdle over several major hurdles and obstacles in our lives, every ONE has a STORY.

Meg Kruse, your journey, what you have overcome, what you are doing now with your life is simply amazing… you truly are living a life worth telling a story about. And I thank you for sharing your STORY.

You see folks, it’s not just about Meg achieving her PRO CARD. I have told her many, many times over that what I find most impressive is the work she does every single day.
The cardio sessions when she doesn’t feel like it.
The uber-clean meals in the Tupperware that she has meticulously weighed-out.
The day-in, day-out discipline and consistency to do the things that most people don’t do.
Her being vulnerable and willing to share her “inner” feelings, her fears, and what scares her.

That’s what makes Meg a champion in my book.

In so many ways, Meg is just like a Stonecutter. Chipping and cutting away to create her masterpiece. In life. Regardless of the past. And regardless of the obstacles. She just kept chipping away at what she set out to do.

How about you? Where are you at in your life? Are you stuck in a quagmire of complacency or apathy?

Are you bored with your life and don’t feel inspired?

Do you need to rid yourself of any poor habits or possibly even overcome  addiction?

Do you have any goals that IGNITE your spirit with energy and excitement?

If so, then it’s time to be like the Stonecutter, or Meg Kruse, and set some BHAGS (big hairy audacious goals).  And then start chipping away at them.

Remember, we all have a life worth telling a story about. What’s your story?

Much love… and much IMPACT!


P.S. To read Meg’s complete interview, you can click here.

PPS. To comment on this blog, please post below. Meg will be perusing it and answering any of your questions/comments.

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