Christopher Drozd is the author of FITNESS, Straight-Up: How to be a better athlete, or at least look like one. He is a fitness coach, as well as a freelance journalist and hypnotherapist.

Drozd shares his reasons for writing the book, as well as his process, in this Author Q&A.

Why did you write Fitness, Straight Up?
As I describe in the first section “Why You Need to Read This Book,” fitness is our birthright. Problem is we’re conditioned to believe otherwise, so our expectation is that we’re in a constant process of degradation, as a matter of course. There are some who prove otherwise, well into their senior years. In fact, Fauja Singh broke the world record for the oldest runner (100 yrs) to complete a marathon. The same week, he broke eight other track records in events between 100 and 5000 meters. My point is that fitness is ours to lose … or use.

What was your process for writing it?
Once I completed my hypnotherapist training (12 months worth) I immediately set to work on writing. I treated it like a job, paid myself an “advance,” and wrote and rewrote daily. If I were on a roll, I stayed up all night writing. I was motivated. I had something to say.

What was your favorite part of writing it?
I loved wrestling and re-wrestling even a single sentence into expressing exactly what I wanted to say. Then, sometimes months later, restating that same thought again, making it better still. It’s a stylistic thing.

The greatest challenge?
The hardest part of writing Fitness, Straight-Up was to stop writing. For a couple of months four of my friends had been saying, “You’re done!” But, I’d could still be re-writing now.

What are your three favorite tips from the book?
Fitness is our birthright. Because we live in this modern world of convenience where our culturally ingrained expectation has us buying into the errant notion that exercise should be quick and easy, as a society, we now tend toward being a bit too corpulent, soft, and weak. What if we were to realize that our health, fitness, and well-being are intrinsic to our humanity, instead of being dependent on some device, diet, or deceit in pill form?

Eat like your life depends on it. I presuppose that those reading my book are at least as smart as I am. So, aren’t we all intelligent individuals capable of making rational decisions about the foods we consume, rather than giving in to, or being controlled by juvenile or emotional impulses?

Align action with intent. Since we go into and out of hypnotic trance all day, why not use the self-hypnosis process to specifically harness it to get the fitness results we want?

What do fitness writers need to know about writing in this genre?
Quite a few fitness books are compilations of others’ research and some are ghostwritten. I think a personal account of fitness experience, successes and failures, can be a more authentic representation of the state of real-world health and fitness.

It took quite a while for me to gain the perspective that allowed me to write Fitness, Straight-Up, but it’s genuine. Fitness, Straight-Up is what I know to be true because I’ve done it, and because I’ve taught it. Find what you know to be true, and start writing.

Advice for non-fiction writers?
When I do a reading at a booksigning, I make sure to read the entertaining anecdotes. Reciting the nuts and bolts of strength training or aerobic conditioning is treacherous in mixed company. It’s not much better reading it. It’s probably useful to punctuate the dry information with humor, cynicism, and irony if you can.

I always say that writing is like exercise. Do you agree?
Yes, exactly, Debra. I came off of a year of study and had written about eighty essays on various aspects of hypnosis. I was “in-shape” so to speak, and was already in the routine. As well, last spring I had several adventure travel articles to write, and again, because I was already in the groove, I could just knock them out in a week. But, I recall, back in late 2007 or 2008, when I hadn’t been writing near as much, it took a couple of weeks to even get a passable draft of a single surfing story.

By maintaining a base level of writing fitness, that is, writing something—anything—every week it’ll be a much less jarring experience when the intensity is turned up.

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