imon Lawson didn’t start out as the trainer and fitness instructor you’d want to call if you were looking to transform your life. His routine used to be more desk and silk tie rather than cowbell and stylish athletic wear. After working in corporate America for several years, Simon’s drive led him to transition to the fitness industry. He has since trained and transformed thousands of clients at gyms throughout the city. As an avid obstacle course racer, Simon uses HIIT workouts to train and prepare for the grueling challenges of those races. His company, Personal Best Personal Enhancement, offers the benefit of his experience. He’s an ambassador at the lululemon Flatiron store and teaches his B.E.S.T class at the SoHo Loft location. And he also recently changed his shorts when he tried a pair of lululemon’s newly redesigned AIM men’s boxers.
We spoke with Simon about what it takes to change. Whether your career and life or just finding a more comfortable pair of boxers.
In what area of your life are you most resistant to change?
Simon: I’m most resistant to changing the amount of autonomy I have. As a trainer and business owner I get to set my own schedule. I control when I’m on the clock and dictate my own work-life balance and I’m resistant to give that up.
Who has inspired you to change and what about that person made you want to change?
Simon: I have a fictional character that I’ve created. His name is Barack Goggins. He is a mix of Barack Obama and David Goggins. This character is smart, loyal, disciplined as well as a mental and physical specimen. He has inspired me to be the ultimate go getter and advocate.
What is the biggest obstacle to change?
What’s more difficult, changing your diet or changing your style? Why?
Simon: For me haircut, on a literal level- having shaved my head for 15 years it would be difficult to change. I have lots of will power regarding my diet. I know that small changes can make a huge impact in my performance and physical appearance.
What’s a thing you regularly do that you don’t know why you continue to do it?
Simon: I feel that everything I do consciously, I know why I do it- even my bad habits. There is a method to the madness. So it’s the unconscious things (negative self-talk in particular) that still happens that I’ve yet to get to the root of.
If there was one thing you could change about yourself what would it be?
Simon: Behaviorally, I would procrastinate less. If I could change something physical, I would be 6’1”. At that height, I would’ve most likely had a long NFL career.
The worst thing about wearing underwear?
Simon: It bunching up during a workout—uncomfortable and embarrassing to readjust in public! Clearly the lululemon AIMS don’t do this, so get they get my vote.
An article of clothing you’ve had the longest (if it’s underwear you can tell us something else) and why do you keep it?
Simon: A cream leather aviator jacket (made by Avirex) which was a gift from my college girlfriend. The motif on the back pays homage to the Tuskegee Airmen, an all-black fighter pilot group who were one of the most successful squadrons of WWII. While it no longer fits and the lining has been worn out by excessive wear, I just can’t bear to part with it.
We’re making a change-themed playlist for our friend who has a pair of boxers he’s worn since college. One song we need to include?
Simon: On the basis of trying to inspire him to make a different choice, “So Fresh, So Clean” by OutKast.
Favorite David Bowie era?
Simon: I don’t have one but have the following favorite quote:
Simon: There’s not just one thing, but the following in any order usually do the trick
1. Levain cookie
2. a great sweat session
3. creating (music or poetry)A change you saw in a student that made you feel good about what you do?
Simon: Kira Hersch, the day she landed a 26 inch box jump. When she started she was afraid to do any form of box jump. The limiting factor to success many times is fear, so what made me feel good was how I had supported and empowered her to over come her fear.