Nick Powills: How Burn Boot Camp Kicked My Butt and Taught Me Lessons
Nick Powills: How Burn Boot Camp Kicked My Butt and Taught Me Lessons

No Limit Agency CEO and 1851 Publisher Nick Powills explains the self-discovery that came from one workout and a pancake eating contest.

In May, I traveled to Charlotte to film a podcast with a friend/client of mine, Devan Kline. If you haven’t listened to Devan’s story, you should – as I featured him on my podcast, Life Drives Success.

My expectations going into our conversation were quite simple. Talk about my book “Sticks & Stones,” talk about my life, talk about my business and talk about my family. Fairly simple, yet in line with the expectations set by other interviewers.

The mistake in assuming was that I didn’t know I was about to make an ass out of myself and my, well, ass.

The agenda was sent to me. It included participating in a Burn Boot Camp workout, heading to another client, Famous Toastery, to have a meal and then filming the podcast. In reality, we did all three, but, not in the way I assumed.


I had never done a Camp before. I saw one of my colleagues do one. She got her butt burned. I, however, figured I was ready for it – including the fact that this was all going to be recorded on video. Here are the lessons I learned:

  1. Nothing that is worthwhile comes easy: It was a brutally hard workout, even for someone who runs about 60 miles a week. Although it was a cardio day, it still crushed me. After the Camp, I was dripping sweat on top of my already sweat-covered self. But, I felt emotionally positive. I felt like I accomplished something.
  2. It’s not easy to do a Camp solo, but wow, a high five can do a lot for your motivation and comfort: We arrived three minutes late. I was intimidated. Yet, immediately, the trainer welcomed me – in essence showing me that she had my back. I went with Devan, who was ready to motivate, too – and even though he owns the business, he struggled at points, making me feel as if the workout is tough for anyone. And then, as an amazing booster, in between activities, people high fived. What an awesome way to create community, support and confidence.
  3. There are two types of emotions, pleasure and pain. This had both: Devan spoke of this. It is true. There is pain in pushing yourself, yet, with an “anything is possible” attitude, accomplishing a Camp can bring you great pleasure.


When we went to lunch, the filming continued. This time, a challenge was presented. A pancake eating challenge. Me versus Devan. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Don’t eat hot pancakes: It will burn your mouth. It will hurt. It will be tough to take them down. But, in a world of competitiveness, you fight through the pain for a chance at victory.
  2. Don’t underestimate your competition: I was the fat kid. I should have destroyed Devan. He beat me. I still protest, as I got apple pancakes and he got chocolate chip. Hot, molten apples are hard to swallow.
  3. When in a bind, improvise: The hot pancakes were tough to eat. So, I dumped my glass of water on them to cool them down. Despite the losing effort, I found a way to gain an edge under the rules provided. It made the competition closer in the end.
  4. Have fun: In business and life, smile and laugh. We did both.
  5. Sometimes the toughest things in life are only tough in perception. You are your own biggest obstacle. Attitude and mental focus counts a ton.

After experiencing Burn, I understand why people love it. It is an emotional and sticky product with a fascinating community-based culture and members who care. Devan, I am impressed by a multitude of things that happened throughout the day, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this brand goes.