My name is Leo Frincu and I’m the 1994 Greco-Roman wrestling Junior World Champion. I’ve been a member of the Romanian National Wrestling Team for over 10 years. During my wrestling career, I competed in several world and European championships and I’m currently working as a professional trainer in Los Angeles, California.

Have you ever wondered what the benefits of being an athlete are?

Growing up, whether in kindergarten or high school, we’ve all had a favorite class or activity, teacher or coach. When asked, I’ve heard kids telling teachers that they want to become doctors or astronauts or be just like mom and dad. I didn’t want to become any of those things. Instead, when I was six, I wanted to grow up to become unemployed. “Unemployed?  Where did you get that from?” my dad asked me.

In my “little boy” mind, I believed that being unemployed was like having the ability to choose your own destiny as opposed to being a grown-up in a communist country where you were told who to be and what to do. I just wanted to be free. Wrestling helped me achieve that. How many of us have had the opportunity to discover our passion or to turn hobbies into a career?

How many of us feel truly free? I’ve discovered my passion; and while I’m enjoying where I’m at, I’m still working on expanding my freedom.

I started practicing wrestling when I was six and a half years old. It started as a hobby but soon turned into something more serious. For me, wrestling was an escape from my crowded, rule-driven apartment. I shared a room with my twin brother, Chris, and my older sister, Daniela. Wrestling was also an outlet for my anxiety, anger and frustration towards the predestined life society has planned for us.

I could say that I was fortunate to have found something that kept me busy. Somehow, I stayed sane by burning up that energy. It wasn’t until years later that I realized what wrestling had done for me, and how it helped me to become the man I am today.

Looking back, these are the three biggest things my wrestling career has taught me:

1) PASSION. I’ve learned that passion is one of the most important ingredients to any success story. Whether you want to lose weight, find a fulfilling career or even a life-long partner, instead focusing on the numbers on the scale, the money you could make or what someone could do for you. Fall in love with the journey.

I have fallen in love with wrestling and how it makes me feel. I have fallen in love with those feelings of strength, security, power, and independence. If you desire a healthy lifestyle, you need to fall in love with eating healthy, exercising and having a strong and healthy body. That means don’t just steam your vegetables but get to know your vegetables. Learn the benefits of eating your vegetables. Fall in love with vegetables and with eating healthy.

If you want to make more money, don’t just work for a paycheck or to pay your bills. Instead, identify a way of giving back to others. What can you do that will provide a benefit to others? Focus on that one item and the money will come. Don’t chase the money, let the money chase you.

If you want to lose weight, stop hating exercise. Fall in love with how exercise makes you feel. Exercise is you moving your body. When you fall in love with how your body moves, you’ll fall in love with yourself.    Are you single? Don’t search for a partner in the same way that you would Google a restaurant. There is no Yelp rating system for human beings; so instead, identify what makes you special and fall in love with your skills. Respect your strengths and appreciate your vulnerabilities. Only then can someone fall in love with you.  Only then will you find your lifelong partner.

2) COMMITMENT.  I can only achieve something in life when I fully commit to it. During my wrestling career, I wasn’t committed to my wrestling. Instead, I become committed to what wrestling did for me – providing me with a brighter future. I was, and still am, committed to creating a new, better version of myself. Every day we commit to hundreds of tasks – from brushing our teeth to being on time to a meeting. But you should never commit yourself to a hobby or another person. You should only commit to yourself.

For example, as a fitness trainer, when you say yes to taking on another client, even at an inconvenient time, you’re actually saying yes to your athletic training career. When you say yes to meeting a new person and risking having your heart broken, you’re actually saying yes to finding a life-long partner. We don’t commit to others. We constantly make commitments to our fit or fat bodies. We make commitments to making more or less money. We make commitments to staying single and in toxic relationships, or, we can commit to finding a life-long partner and being in a loving and trustworthy relationship. Every day we commit to living our lives, or other people’s lives. We commit to believing in ourselves and our future or we commit to living in our past. We can ruin our lives with broken commitments, or we can live our dreams by keeping our commitments to ourselves. It is our choice.

3) FAILING. Throughout my wrestling career, I’ve won a lot of matches. However, I’ve also lost a lot of matches. I have won several titles, including a world championship title; however, looking back, I’ve lost more gold medals than I have won. The bottom line is that I have failed more than I have succeeded. Looking back at myself and my wrestling career, I see a winner.

I’ve learned so much from practicing this sport. Most importantly, I’ve learned so much more about myself and what it takes to achieve my goals from losing matches than I ever would have learned if I had never lost. Although my athletic career is over, wrestling still helps me with my personal and professional life. I’ve owned a personal training business for over twelve years ( During all this time, I’ve gained a lot of clients, and I’ve lost some. I realize that my failures are as important as my successes. I would never have gotten where I am in my personal and professional life had I never experienced failure. As upsetting and disappointing as failure might feel, looking back, we all needed it as much as we needed to succeed.

Mistakes are designed to teach us something about ourselves. Don’t let mistakes hold you, prisoner. Acknowledge them and then, let them go. Apologize, even when you feel like you haven’t done anything wrong. Don’t get stuck on what happened, but focus instead on what you need to do to move on.  Acknowledging your mistakes is key to admitting that you’re a human being. Forgiving yourself for making mistakes is giving yourself permission to succeed.

Dare to fail; for you can’t achieve your goals or live out your dreams if you’ve never wanted to make any mistakes.

Wrestling is my sport. I’m sure you have something or someone in your life that is as challenging as wrestling was for me

To summarize, wrestling taught me that I need PASSION if I want to succeed. Discover your passion and your goals and dreams will become a reality.

Wrestling taught me that if I really wanted something badly, I needed to COMMIT to it 100%. Put your goals first and I’ll guarantee, you’ll become successful.

Finally, wrestling taught me that I need to accept FAILURE as a part of life. Take risks, make mistakes and move on – that’s the ultimate recipe for success.

Let my story inspire you to live the life you were born to live.

Leo Frincu is a world wrestling champion, author, speaker and performance coach for business leaders and athletes worldwide. To learn more about his training philosophy, check out his latest book, “WELCOME HOME, 3 Simple Steps On How To Reach Your Highest Potential,” available on Amazon and iBooks.