Tomorrow is not promised, so it's best to make the most of today. Become the best version of yourself, and start with your physical health.

I cannot believe another year has come to a close. Every year I say this and every year it never ceases to be true. This is also the time of year when I pause and reflect on the year that has passed and look to what lies ahead. The thing about reflection though is that you have to take the good with the bad. For me this year has been one of tremendous loss of family and close friends, but it has also been one of joy seeing the success of my clients and opening doors that were once closed.

All of this has reminded me of what a circle life truly is. I have always made a practice of passing down all that I've learned to everyone close to me from family to clients. One of those things is appreciating each new day and creating a world of self-love and self-happiness.

I have witnessed that this year with many people, including five of my clients pictured with this article: Randy Logan, Augie Lankford, Zachary Askins, Aricka Johnson, and Chris Simpson. Randy and Augie are weight loss clients who were determined to become the best versions of themselves. I have trained Randy for quite some time and Augie continues to work with me and Chris Simpson, one of my trainers and clients. Between Randy and Augie they have lost over 50 pounds and 20 pounds of body fat. Zachary and Aricka are fitness and fashion model clients, who are also determined to realize their goals while also becoming the best version of themselves. Chris is one of my trainers and clients, and anyone who knows Chris knows that he never stops working and growing, determined to continuously improve.

Now when it comes to self-reflection and creating worlds for ourselves where we are truly happy, physical fitness is only a part of the recipe. Spiritual clarity and peace are all integral ingredients, but without a strong body everything else suffers. Managing workouts around work, children, and family can be a consistent struggle. For Augie, Randy, and Chris, this is always a factor that played into their programs. They each also had to follow meal plans I customized for them, but believe me when I say none of this was tedious. It was a matter of prioritizing and making it fit into their lives. For models like Zachary and Aricka, their appearance is THE factor in granting them success and an edge over others. Now like anyone else, they also have to work on their craft and never stop working on it, but without a strong appearance the rest is moot.

How does all this play into your lives? These men and women represent us in one way or another. Different ages, experiences, and life styles, but many of you will relate to one or more of them. We don't always have to look at a magazine or a television show to find our source of inspiration. Many times we can simply look at our neighbor, co-worker, or friend to find it.

I know many of you are also reflecting on your life this past year and contemplating what the future may hold. Tomorrow is not promised, so it's best to make the most of today. Become the best version of yourself, and start with your physical health. If you're unsure on where to start or what to do, please seek out a personal trainer, and let him or her help you map out your path. Unless you're a doctor, you would not prescribe your own medicine. The same goes for physical fitness; unless you're an expert of fitness and your own body, let someone else help you improve it. There's an old Jamaican proverb that says "today can't catch tomorrow." Basically it means that sometimes in life all we have is today. These are words I've carried with me all my life. Today I pass them on to you. Today is your gift. Make the most of it. I wish you all much success, joy, and happiness in the coming year.

Michael Shaw is a certified fitness trainer, sports performance nutrition specialist, owner of Shaw Fitness, a member of the Maryland Advisory Council on Physical Fitness, and a fitness and fashion model manager. He can be reached at