With 2014 being my year of “Action”, I began preparing in 2013. The biggest prep work was leaving San Diego and driving across the country. If you haven’t heard the story you can check it out HERE.

I’ve done the drive one other time, 13 years ago when I first moved to San Diego. If you do it and have the time, I highly recommend you break it up as much as possible. Luckily, I had a number of friends along the way so I could stop, stretch the legs, and keep my sanity. Here’s a quick recap of the roughly 54 hours of driving time that covered nearly 3,300 miles:

1) San Diego to Las Vegas
Spent two nights in Vegas with a life-long friend and her family. She’s probably the best host ever…two nights in town and two amazing shows; Black Crowes on Friday night and Jay-Z on Saturday night. Solid start to the trip.

2) Las Vegas to Albuquerque
Stop #2 was New Mexico to see Travis Browne, an athlete I’ve had to the honor to work with for a couple years now. He spends a few weeks at Jackson’s MMA before his fights and with his huge NYE fight coming up, the timing worked out great. He and his girlfriend treated me to a sweet steak dinner and some great conversation. I also stopped by ‘Elevate‘, a fitness facility in Alb where Travis does his strength & conditioning. Amazing spot and I highly recommend it if you are in their neck of the woods. Adrian and his team are world class folks who do it right.


3) Albuquerque to Lawrence, KS
Next was a 12+ hour drive to Kansas to see a friend I met back in San Diego during the ACE days. He moved to Kansas a few years ago and I hadn’t seen him in a few months. I spent two nights there, got beat by a 4 year old in Candy Land, watched a 6 year perform in a holiday musical, and had some good laughs with some good friends.

Candy Land

4) Lawrence to Columbia, MO
The shortest leg of the trip was a 3 hour drive to Columbia to catch up with Mike Chandler, another athlete I’ve worked with back in San Diego. He was there spending time with family so I popped in for a night. I got to tag along and watch a wrestling practice at Mizzou and talk shop with their head AT. It was awesome to watch a bunch of young and hungry guys get after it for nearly 2 straight hours.


5) Columbia to Louisville, KY
The next stop was Louisville, where I met an industry friend who was nice enough to let me crash at her place. Of course, being in Kentucky, I had to sample some bourbon…which was really good and a great way to help me unwind after the nearly 7 hour drive.


6) Louisville to Philadelphia
My last stop before hitting MA was Philly. I met up with another long time friend who took me out for dinner and drinks. Much like the bourbon and Kentucky connection, I had to indulge in a cheesesteak while I was in Philly. It was an amazing choice for breakfast before hitting the road.


7) Philly to Mass
Although, one of the shorter legs of the trip (about 5 1/2 hours), it was the most hectic…everything you’ve heard about east coast drivers is true…they are crazy. It’ll be good prep for the Saudi driving scene, which I hear is some of the craziest in the world. I got to Rockport, MA in the early evening up and went straight to a holiday party. I got to catch up with some high school friends who I literally hadn’t seen in over 13 years. The next day I flew out to Florida to spend 4 days with family for Christmas. Overall, a great 8 days of traveling and connecting with people I care about.

I posted about 60 pics from the drive on Facebook…check them out (If we aren’t friends, let’s change that):

All the traveling is now done for a couple weeks. Before I head to Saudi, I plan to spend a few weeks in Ma getting some writing and video projects done. I don’t have a definite date yet for the big move, although I’m told I’ll get an update any day…

I hope you all have an amazing 2014! Let’s all make this the year of action…enough talk. Get up and do!


About Doug Balzarini
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is the owner of DB Strength, which provides fitness training, education, and resources. He is also the strength and conditioning coach for Alliance MMA where he works with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, Phil Davis, Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Ross Pearson, Alexander Gustafsson, and more. Prior to starting his own business, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE).

He has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU and has obtained multiple certifications including ACE, NSCA-CSCS, MMA-CC, TFW Level 1, TRX instructor training, RIP training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, and FMS training. He has produced his 2 DVD projects on strength training for combat athletes, appeared in many fitness videos and articles, and was a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” FOX TV show in 2012.

For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.