Miguel

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My friend, what a journey you have been on… I can relate to much of what you wrote as life continues to present those sprints and hill climbs Sean helped to prepare us for… Thank God that tears and sweat blend well together. I will never forget the words you shared with me after Sean passed. God does work in amazing ways, and you were right, Emma was instrumental in bringing me back after plunging into grief.

After reading your Legacy Story, I sat with it for exactly a month (I just realized that as I re-read your email). I apologize for the delay, however, today feels like the right day to post your story. I have been thinking about you and admiring your resilience as I follow your Facebook page – and even use the translation option! 🙂 #GymLife #Beard

Just in case you needed to hear this: You’ve got this, you do have the ‘eye of the tiger’ — you are an inspiration! You continue to remind me to cherish what I do have and fight for my wellness – body, mind, and spirit. You exemplify Sean’s spirit and compassion. May this year bring you continued wisdom, faith, health, and of course, tremendous love! Thank you for starting (and continuing) with the heart! With gratitude! Colleen

Hi CC family, in 2009 I decided to lose weight and found CC on the web. It really helped me lose weight and motivate me with the amazing workouts. I bought the full series and in 4 months I had lost over 35 pounds. I didn’t know why I needed to do it but I did it (losing weight and getting leaner). I even exchanged a few emails with Sean. In December 2009 I went to my parents’ place for Christmas with my 2 sons and wife and we had 2 wonderful weeks and I stopped training at that time.

Just a few days after we left my father passed away because of a heart attack. I knew then that I had prepared my self without knowing it,for that moment and the difficult times after his passing. Then, the news of Sean’s passing a couple of years later also struck me deep inside and decided to stay away from exercise since it was giving me memories of that 2009-2010 period.

Before / After

Last year my mother had a stroke and our lives changed again. I have been depressed and eating a lot and over Christmas I decided to make a change in my life and I knew coach Sean had to be by my side in this new attempt. I have been working out with the help of Sean the last three weeks. I have managed to do Vol 4 and as he explains in that volume’s coaches’ notes, sweat drops disguised my tears as I feel that I am coming back to life. I feel the presence of Sean through the CC workouts lifting me up. Thank you, Sean, and as I said before for your obituary, I am sure you are organising some kick-butt workouts up there with the angels.

Tanya Laz

Wow where do I start? I’m so grateful for the day I found Cardio Coach and the CC community.   I found it when I went on a health kick before turning 30, I was determined to get fit.  I found a link to download one of Sean’s workouts for free.  Boy did I have no idea at the time where downloading that workout would lead. It didn’t take long until I had all of his workouts (which at the time was only CC 1-3), joined in the CC forum that existed at the time and sent Sean an email telling him what I thought about his workouts (and yes I did change my pants before I emailed him).

Prior to finding CC I used to hate doing cardio of any sort and other than playing a sport I rarely exercised.  Sean changed all that with his workouts.  The workouts really spoke to me.  His positive messages made such a difference and I started to believe in myself.   I started to love cardio and all the huffing and puffing that went with it, including the clear meditative state I’d end up in after the workout.  Using his workouts, I actually turned into a runner!  Something I’d never pictured myself being.  I even entered some fun runs and began doing more and more strength training.  I soon started exercising about five times a week.

That was over ten years ago and I am still a regular exerciser and continue to use the CC workouts when I can and join in with a group of cardio coach lovers who do a workout at the end of each month in dedication to Sean and Jim MacLaren.  Through Cardio Coach I’ve also made some wonderful friendships that continue to this day.  We all share the same love of Sean, his workouts and the rest of the Cardio Coach family.

Even through life’s ups and downs (and there’s been plenty of them) I’ve always kept the love of exercise.  I don’t think anything could change that now.  It’s now such an important part of my life. 

Cardio Coach helped me through some tough times too.  For years I was unable to walk without each and every step being incredibly painful, after developing an uncommon nerve pain condition in my ankle following a trivial injury. At the same time my dad was sick and eventually passed away. They were easily the toughest times of my life.  My life became all about visiting my dad in hospital, dealing with what was happening to him and myself and trying to work (which at times I couldn’t do or could only work up to 20 hours a week). The CC community helped keep me going as did listening to the workouts and visualising myself running to them.  As soon as I was able (which was years later), I was back into my CC workouts.  The calling to return to them after a break is always so strong and at the end of the workout I just feel so much better than when I started.  In 2018 I travelled around Europe and as part of my travels I did a 120km hike in 7 days and a 250km bike ride in 6 days.  Prior to cardio coach I would never have even considered doing something like that, yet with my current fitness levels I managed it easily.  Life is so different for me now compared to before CC.  I’m currently in another phase where I can’t do my CC workouts, but I know they are there waiting for me, beckoning me to get past this next challenge and return to Cardio Coach Land.  I can’t wait!

CC is my stress relief, my me time and my feel good time (mentally and physically) all mixed into one.  I’ve never found another workout that impacts me in this way and to this degree.  I’m not sure words can ever convey how truly grateful I am for finding Sean, his family, the bigger CC family and his workouts.  CC is so much more than just a workout.

And Sean – whenever I see a kanga-dog I always think of you (something Sean used to joke with me about).

As soon as you said Kanga Dog, I was ‘inspired’ to create a Kanga Dog image with Sean. You know how he loved creating whacky images in PhotoShop.

Jilleyn

Jilleyn, I love your story! I know that if Sean were to read this right now, he would do exactly what I am doing – congratulating you, cheering you on, and thanking you for allowing others to share in your journey as we all continue to work toward powerful growth, mentally, emotionally, and beyond! Whether you choose the lion or gazelle, we are so glad you chose to “start with the heart” with Sean and Cardio Coach! All the best! Colleen

I can’t overemphasize the profound and long-term change Sean effected in me. Before starting Cardio Coach, I had never played a sport or belonged to a gym, much less embarked on interval training, but in my mid-30s I found myself wanting to melt off a few pounds and build some muscle. I’ve always had a treadmill, because the one thing I liked to do was walk, but I had never sprinted or even jogged on it. And I don’t even remember what compelled me to download Volume 1–the idea of “working out” was so alien to me! But I do remember bringing it up on my clunky first-generation iPod and sweating my butt off to those volumes night after night–sometimes envisioning myself as the gazelle, sometimes the lion. And how excited I was of course when a new one would come out. I truly loved doing Cardio Coach 4 or 5 times a week at home, and I really gave the workouts all I had.

Thanks to this initial inspiration, in the years following Sean’s death (which I wasn’t aware of for several years), I increased my exercise level to distance outdoor running and even managed to pull off a few sub-4-hour marathons. I also competed at local shorter races and was usually a contender for 1st or 2nd place among females in my age group. This is only because Cardio Coach’s challenge intervals had introduced me to actual speed–which mentally, again thanks to Sean’s inspiration, I was able to stretch out over several miles when I took it out on my own.

As time went on, various physical signs emerged that I am not built for lifelong distance running. So, to save my back and joints, I cut my mileage, joined a gym and have been spinning faithfully there a few days a week for 2 years, in addition to running only about 12 miles/week and power-walking about 10 miles a week. I look and feel more athletic and confident than I’d ever imagined I could, and I don’t suffer from any injuries.

So as you can see, my psychological and physical health, my readiness to take on challenges and so many other meaningful things about myself are forever changed because of Sean. And I wish I could email him right now to let him know how his legacy continues in me to this day. And that as I inch toward age 49, I look fit and attractive, and I am in the best shape of my life–simply because he showed me how to actually ENJOY working out.

Again, thank you for doing this, and thank you for reading!

Shelly

We recently sent the Press Play workout to one of Sean’s and my childhood friends, Shelly.  She wrote me back to share the following:

SHELLY: I cried when I opened these. These workouts helped me get through some really tough times. I hope you know how much of an inspiration Sean continues to be and far exceeds just a fitness workout. They inspire emotional strength ❤️🙏🏻.

I asked Shelly if she would be willing to share her Cardio Coach Legacy Story. Shelly has always been near and dear to Sean and me, so I had no doubt she would contribute her story, I had no idea the challenges and experiences she had after we moved apart as young adults. Nor, that the childhood friend we remember with pigtails and roller-skates had become even more amazing and resilient as she overcame her Level 3 and 4 climbs as an adult.  Shelly, thank you for sharing this story in Sean’s honor.  With such gratitude and love, Colleen

Shelly, bottom left

Getting married at 18 (running away from home essentially) and divorcing young at 27 with four babies in tow; fitness was quite literally my only outlet.   I ended up raising the boys on my own, working long hours and experiencing many sleepless nights. The only time I had to myself for over 20+ years was when I worked out. I could go to the gym at 5am before school and before work and, well, that was my only “me time”.  I still have emails (pep talks) from Sean that he shared with me. His Press Play workout quite literally got me through my Father’s death.   

In 2012, I lost four immediate family members: my brother-in-law to cancer, my step-son to suicide, my father and my aunt, and of course, Sean. I didn’t have the time as a busy divorced mom to go to counseling.  Sean’s Cardio Coach workouts were my counseling. I remember the 45 minutes I spent on the treadmill listening to Sean’s encouragement and Jim’s story.   

“There is always someone going through something worse”, no matter how hard life may seem.  I always tried to live my life that way and hope I have passed that onto my boys.  Jim’s story resonated with that.  Here’s this guy who had his whole life ahead of him and in five minutes everything changed. There’s a part in that interview where Sean asked Jim essentially what or who inspired him; it got me thinking.

Of course, I thanked Sean for his awesome MP3’s, what he didn’t know is that he inspired me and pushed me to “make a choice” more than once. The day my Father died I remember getting on the treadmill and listening to Press Play and thinking to myself – my Father would say “go one more mile”. It was just me, my Dad, Sean and Jim on the treadmill that day and I went one more mile; literally and figuratively. Sean’s MP3’s got me through a divorce, a bad relationship and the loss of the other four people in my life that year at a time when I didn’t think I could physically take that next step.  

That’s just one example of how Sean was there for me. 

It’s funny looking back to when we were kids and Sean was the big strong muscle guy next door lifting his weights (the younger kids idolized him, like ‘wow we want to grow up to be like him!’), and he was deeply kind even back then. I was a very quirky kid, far from popular, never was the all-star of anything (lol!) and I remember Sean was “hosting” roller-skating competitions in the garage. I lost, every time (wasn’t much of an athlete either (lol!) but one time; the other kids had left and I was still skating around the garage. I had one of those “kid” moments and shouted “Shelly is the star, she is the winner of the competition today” (thinking no-one was around)…but Sean was. Not only was he there, he came out and clapped, making a big hurrah about me being the skating champion that day. He made me feel valued, important and that I mattered.  Some people just have good hearts that leave impressions for a lifetime and your brother was certainly one of them.  Even at that young age.

Thanks again Shelly for sharing such amazing memories and your stories with us. Much love, the Cardio Family!

Chuck O’Malley (Cardio Dad) – Legacy Story

When our daughter, Colleen, asked me if I’d be interested in expressing my thoughts about Sean’s commercial life work, the Cardio Coach workout series, in the inaugural issue of SEAN’S LEGACY, I readily agreed.

However, when I took my mouse in hand, I began to realize just how complex this assignment is. Yes, my wife/Sean’s Mom, Nancy Marie and I worked out to his Cardio Coach CDs / MP3s – both during the volumes’ development and upon their completion. Yes, we – along with Colleen – shared to varying degrees Sean’s anguish as he worked to get “just the right” music and tempo needed to complete his work of art.

We suffered with him and assisted where we could as he sought to market the Cardio Coach volumes – his “ups & downs”.

We watched in amazement and with pride as our son – who we didn’t think would finish high school – utilize the education he received as an ALL-SEC Academic Team student at Ole’ Miss in developing business plans and working with the many facets of the personal training and music world as he pioneered in the integral training mode of cardio-related fitness.  We rejoiced in reading the wonderful reviews Cardio Coach was receiving in major publications, but we rejoiced even more when we started reading reviews on how his workouts and his personal efforts seemed to help so many people (a trait shared by his sister).

The direct impact of Cardio Coach really hit me after I messed up my left knee (2006) and had to prepare for knee replacement surgery. Fortunately, I had been working out to his CDs on our treadmill so there was some strength in that leg which enabled me to come through the operation and rehab pretty well. Of course, it helped when he, Mr. Cardio Coach, expedited my rehab by tying my foot to the stationary bike pedal and working the knee pretty actively. He also (cruelly?) had me walk three flight of stairs the day I got home from rehab.

Earlier, I had referred to the complexity of the assignment. His Mom and I would frequently participate in his spin classes at the local LA Fitness club, watching and marveling with a great deal of parental pride how he would draw maximum effort from his filled-to-the-rafters classes while he quietly and effectively encouraged each biker.

I believe the Cardio Coach CD workouts were a means to an end for Sean. They provided him with the opportunity to really help people – an activity he carried out both as the Cardio Coach and as Sean Michael O’Malley. Stories told by his classmates, teammates, clients and friends after his death exemplified that.  With him, it both started with his heart and continued with his heart.