Nick Conn is one of my favorite people in Santa Barbara. I met him about five years ago when I decided to try CrossFit and take my fitness routine to the next level. What I love about Nick is his honesty, his direct and keen way of motivating and pushing you harder, but in a very safe way.
I also have to admit that when I first met him I was guilty of judging a book by its cover. Yes, Nick’s muscular and good-looking, but he’s also the smartest person in the room. Nick’s spews out wisdom while he trains you. I also greatly envy the fact he’s in his 20s and has great understanding of who he is. I’ve learned a lot about self-confidence from him.
He took time from running his gym, Santa Barbara Strength, to answer the Proust Questionnaire.
What do you like most about your job?
I run a gym and I love to help people realize that they are capable well beyond what they think. It is consistently rewarding to witness people do things they have never been able to do before. There is a lot of bullshit and misinformation out there in the media and interwebs. I like to help people wade through it all to find a real path to fitness and health.
What is your idea of prefect happiness?
Perfect happiness is a myth. Without stress, sadness, anger, etc., there would be no happiness in the first place. I guess the important thing is to realize this even when life isn’t so happy. We cannot control what happens to us, but we can always control how we react to and internalize things. We each create our own reality.
What is your greatest fear?
Who do you most admire?
Nick Diez, my grandpa. He grew up a poor kid with an abusive father in Mexico, but still became one of the most loving and successful people I have known in all arenas: he was a Golden Gloves boxer, upper management for Del Monte after using the GI bill to go to college, and, on top of it all, he was one of the best fathers/grandfathers ever. His example is not only inspiring, but also the reason I have everything that I do in my life.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Food and alcohol. I usually eat enough for two people.
What is your current state of mind?
Happy, but I have a lot of work to get done today before I can rest. Pretty much the norm for me.
What is the quality you most like in people?
Confidence. Confident people are beautiful and more enjoyable to be around in general.
What is the quality you most dislike in people?
Mental weakness and/or flakiness. I can’t stand either and I think they tend to be pretty closely related.
What do you most value in friends?
My friends are amazing people. They work hard and lead dynamic lives, but still make time for fun. Usually my friends don’t take things too seriously and make a joke out of life, but on the occasions when I do need some real help they are always there for me.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Strength: both mental and physical. I am physically one of the strongest athletes in the country, but physical strength is derived from the mind. I can handle a lot of weight.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
The f- word and its “inappropriate” relatives. My grandma hates my colorful language, but I just tell her it’s because I’m honest and I don’t give a shit.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Instant healing like Wolverine. After years of contact sports and generally being an idiot my body is a bit beaten up.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to be a bit less selfish with my time and energy. That or just have more of both.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Hopefully it hasn’t happened yet. Up to this point in my life I think it has to be opening a successful gym at the age of 23 right after graduating UCSB. At first I was working three other jobs and didn’t even have a car. It wasn’t/isn’t easy, but I truly love what I do and it is completely worth the effort.
Where would you most like to live?
Santa Barbara. This place is paradise.
What is your most treasured possession?
I have three: my dog, truck, and gym. I am a simple man and it doesn’t take much to make me happy. Someday I wouldn’t mind owning a house though…
What makes you laugh the most?
South Park. Most intelligent potty humor ever. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are genius.
What is your motto?
I never really thought of myself as having a motto, but often while I am training weightlifting I tell myself to “Commit and don’t be a pussy.” So that’s probably the closest thing to a motto I have.