I was never an all-star athlete, or a high school jock. I never dreamed of being a certified personal trainer, clipboard in one hand and a stopwatch in the other. The truth is until my late teens I was a certified couch rider, piece of pizza in one hand and large pop in the other. Health and wellness were not on my list of priorities, and my body was suffering the consequences.
When I was in middle school I started doing karate, but my foot pain made it too agonizing to continue. I was trying to move an adult’s weight on a kid’s frame and my body was fighting back. Junior year of high school I was at my all time heaviest. You often see these morbidly obese people and wonder how they let their weight get so bad. For me I just put my health on the backburner. I knew I was overweight; I just paid it no mind. After my last football season it dawned on me, the exercise is all done, it is all down hill from here. I was starring down the barrel of having to wrestle with diabetes, heart attacks, and 2 plane tickets whenever I travel later in life. Without football practice I would just go back to inactivity and weight gain. That is when I put my foot down, and as corny as it sounds, I was going to fight for my life. I was not going to settle for an early grave.
The first solo workout consisted of a 300-meter jog down to the street and a walk back. This workout, in my eyes, was the hardest workout I have ever done. Not because of duration or intensity, but because every step I took was taking me further from my comfort zone.
I know exactly what it is like to hit the gym out of shape, immobile, and tired. I know what it is like to feel like you are going to puke from running a quarter mile, and I also know how hard it is to see someone else run 5 miles and barely break a sweat. Whenever I saw people in great shape at the gym felt discouraged. I thought I was too far gone to ever get in that kind of shape. I could not have been farther from the truth. The fact of the matter is that we all have within ourselves to be fit and healthy. I am living, breathing proof that change is possible.
It was not pretty, but then again, it rarely ever is. When you decide to get into shape, “Eye of the Tiger” doesn’t play when you walk into the gym, and there are going to be days when finding time to workout seems impossible. There are no quick tips for this. There are no magic 2-minute full body workouts worth your time. This is when you have to grit your teeth, feel the fire in your belly, break the mold of the average American, and get your butt in gear. It is time to find out what you are made of. It is time to workout.