August 22 , 2011
This is Part I of my own personal account of how fitness became my lifestyle. By sharing my story, I hope to not only inspire and motivate, but also show where our knowledge and experience comes from. I have personally accomplished the very same fitness goals that you may have, whether it is fat loss, muscle gain or anything in between, and I’ve also experienced the emotional rollercoaster that often comes along with the process. It is this real life experience that we pass on to clients to help them “engineer their bodies” as quickly and efficiently as possible. We’ve already tried, tested, and tossed out the methods that don’t work. All that’s left is result-yielding methodology and genuine support because, as you’ll see, we know exactly what you’re going through.
As a personal trainer, I think I often give off the impression that I’ve always been fit and athletic. However, this could not be further from the truth. When I was a kid growing up in elementary school, I was far from a physical specimen. I didn’t have the upper body strength to swing on the monkey bars or climb trees (I literally lost arm wrestles to girls!), I didn’t have the endurance to keep up with friends who played soccer during lunch hour, and I couldn’t swim multiple laps during swimming lessons. Instead, I would have to watch from the ground when my friends wanted to climb on stuff, girls would let me win arm wrestles out of pity, I would have to play goalie in soccer so I wouldn’t have to run around much, and I would have to cling onto the edge of the pool gasping for air when I got tired. Because of this lack of fitness, friends commented that they “couldn’t picture me playing organized sports.” Neither could I at the time, to be honest. Damn bullies.
Psychologically, it wasn’t any easier. All throughout my life, different groups of people would comment on my physical appearance in different ways. When I was in elementary school, kids would call me chunky and chubby; in middle school, my family would call me skinny and scrawny; and during high school, my basketball teammates would call me big and ripped. These labels were not limited to these specific periods of my life; often, I would be called all these adjectives within days or weeks of each other. Even worse, I would be called skinny when I was trying to put on mass, or I would be called chubby when I was trying to slim down. There may have been no malicious intent in these comments at all, but this lifetime of inconsistent labelling contributed to a very inconsistent perception of my own body, and led to self-esteem issues that, believe it or not, I still struggle with regularly to this very day: One week I may look at myself in the mirror and feel like I’m in the best physical shape of my life; the next day, I may see a picture of myself and feel like I need to add ten pounds of muscle; the next hour, I may not like the way my stomach feels when I sit down and I’ll feel like I need to lose ten pounds of fat; and the next minute, I may be right back to square one. It’s a treacherous cycle that I will likely have to endure for the rest of my life. As the saying goes, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all. Please keep this in mind, especially when speaking to loved ones. Otherwise, you might inflict a psychological wound that will never stop bleeding.
I think it’s this experience that helps me relate well to my clients. I know the feeling of helplessness when you can’t physically move the way you want to; I know the demoralizing effects that self-esteem issues can have on one’s psyche; and I know the extreme embarrassment that prevents you from wearing a bathing suit or taking your shirt off in public. However, this is what drives my passion for fitness, knowing that I have the experience, knowledge, and expertise to help others overcome these very same challenges. You are not alone.
Stay tuned for Part II, where I will share the events that changed my life forever, and my very own physical transformation (complete with pics!)…
Has anyone else been through similar struggles? If so, feel free to leave a comment below; I’d love to hear your story