Who I am today
I have as of last week completed a two-year Health, Wellness and Fitness program at Mohawk College and I anticipate graduating in June with honors. My current interests consist of running and weightlifting, I have re-kindled my love for soccer and I continue to play regularly. My goals include taking up MMA as a hobby, and to eventually participate in a marathon.
I am currently employed as a Conditioning Coach with Core Fusion Athlete Development and Conditioning. My job as a Conditioning Coach is to assess my clients on an individual basis and then create and implement a periodized program according to their unique needs. Baselines are established in order to systematically monitor progress. As I mentioned earlier my availability has recently opened up, I am currently accepting new clients, teams and groups to train.
My Childhood and Sport
I grew up in Hamilton Ontario; I was quite active as a child always running around participating in whatever sport or activity I could. I remember taking swimming and diving lessons as a young child and I was actually a pretty good swimmer until one day while vacationing in Mexico I got caught in an undertow. That was it, I was scared of the water for a time and to be quite honest with you, I still don’t enjoy swimming as much as I did back then.
My parents didn’t really have the money growing up to enroll me in other sports but I played just about every sport in which my elementary school had a team. In high school I tried out for Jr. football and made the team but never actually played. The following year I decided to stick to soccer as I enjoyed it much more than football. I was not great, but good enough that I got to play. That year a wrestling team was introduced and thought, why not? To my surprise, I was a pretty good wrestler and won gold in just about every tournament I participated in. I remember winning City Championships and then placing second in the Golden Horseshoe Area Conference (GHAC). That was the end of sport for a very long time in my life.
A New Beginning
I cannot truthfully say I have always been passionate about fitness or active living. There was a dark time in my life in my early twenty’s where all I did was work and come home. I was the epitome of a sedentary individual, I did nothing but relax and enjoy “Good” food. I knew I wasn’t in the best of shape and people that I hadn’t seen for sometime would say to me “you look healthy” but they would stutter in the process. That was their way of saying you got fat in a polite manner. I stand 5’5, and at my worst I was approximately 190 pounds, I was borderline obese. I knew I had to change and that was the point that made me reconsider what I was doing and slowly I managed to change my life around. I became more active, and at times I was hitting the gym twice a day. I was addicted to the new me!
Fitness not only changed my life, it gave me direction and purpose. I like to believe it starts with our desire to look better, but fitness has contributed to so much more for me. In July of 2011 I found myself unemployed with no job in sight. I had received a nice severance pay and was uncertain of what to do with my life. I flirted with the idea of returning to school and I researched various courses of which I was interested in. I was accepted to a few programs but something inside me pushed me toward health and wellness. I accepted and started in September of that year, the last two years of my life have been nothing shy of extraordinary.
No End in Sight
I am by no means a big guy but I know that I have made strides in my physique and I have never felt better. I am stronger today then I was in previous years. I can run faster and greater distances than I could ever imagine. There is, and always will be room for improvement but I am by no means in any rush to get to the finish line, I believe this to be a life long process. What I do know for sure is that as I age, I will continue to be the very best that I can be.
In terms of mental and spiritual awareness, I have grown exponentially. Now more than ever I understand and value the importance of mental and spiritual wellness and it’s effect on health and longevity. I have come to realize that your mental state makes up a great part of everything you do because there will always be struggles. I have seen my fair share of setbacks, but those that know me well will tell you that I always have a big smile on my face. I believe that if you maintain a positive attitude and carry a positive outlook, the world is a better place. I realize it is not a perfect world, but the truth is that the power to make it better starts with you, and that is exactly how you need to approach everyday.
I strongly believe that I do what I do because I am never truly satisfied with where I am. I am happy with what I have accomplished and where it has taken me, however I will always strive to be better. It is my opinion that if we become satisfied with where we are, something inside of us has already died. I want to live the rest of my life knowing I couldn’t have done any better, the only thing that drives me, is me.
I have been blessed with a really amazing family and must admit that I would not be in the position that I am now without them. I grew up with my aunt, uncle, grandfather and sister. To me they are the fantastic four, they have never lost faith in my abilities, even when I was uncertain of myself. I am eternally grateful to them because they seen in me what I have become, long before I could even fathom it. I couldn’t have done it without them, and I love them to pieces.
My professors at Mohawk College have done a tremendous job of mentoring and molding me into the professional I aspire to be. As a Conditioning Coach with Core Fusion I have been very fortunate to work with some amazing people who have guided me throughout my tenure as a student and coach. Thank you Nick, Chantal, Mark, Kim, Chris, Danielle, Sarah and Bryan.
I have been privileged enough since the summer of 2012 to be writing for Lifestyle & Strength. Matt is the website administrator and has been very supportive of me since I met him last year. I believe he has definitely influenced my growth as person. Furthermore he has fortified my passion for fitness and helped me find a way to reach people through his website, thank you Matt.
Do I Take The Red or Blue Pill?
I think when I first started on my journey the lack of knowledge and overwhelming misinformation was confusing and frustrating. I have to say this was the hardest thing for me to overcome. Everyone is an expert but no one has a solution. My solution – you have to find what works for you and become your own expert. It is trial and error and you must fall flat on your face before you find it.
When it comes to fitness I know that losing an excess of 30 pounds was a feeling of great relief and satisfaction. I can now run 10k in under 45 minutes, to me that was a tremendous accomplishment. In January I enrolled a few of my friends as well as myself in “My Hamilton Amazing Race”. We ended up placing first; it was an awesome experience I will not soon forget. My current workouts range from week to week. I write my own programs and I enjoy mixing things up, I have recently completed a power phase. The next phase I complete will be more of an endurance phase with high repetitions and low rest periods.
My Philosophies of Training
I am not a big believer in supplementation and therefore I do not consume them regularly. I have supplemented in the past but I don’t anymore, I am a believer in eating wholesome foods. My meal plan is currently under reconstruction as my routine has changed, and I am no longer in school. My philosophy however is still the same; eat when you’re hungry, just make sure it’s wholesome. What we eat directly affects how we function, so I eat as healthy as possible to ensure I am fueling effectively. That’s not to say I don’t have vices, but I know the difference between a lapse and a relapse and as such I enjoy those meals where I can let loose.
My current fitness goal is to increase my flexibility to improve my range of motion. I have incorporated some corrective exercises into my routines in an effort to improve posture and functionality. Stretching is another component that was non-existent for a time but now I practice with regularity. I have in the past few months started to do some power lifting and I am in the process of improving upon that as well.
There was a time when I lacked the motivation or desire to do anything for my health. I know that many people feel exactly how I did back then, some of which may be reading this right now. To them I say; we are all scared in the beginning, the unknown quickly becomes familiar and that which you thought you knew becomes a distant memory. So fight to become the person that you want to be, it will be a struggle but it may very well be the greatest investment of your life, live with no regrets.
You must learn to be resilient and thick skinned because you will experience the doubters and negativity that comes with progress and success. Focus your efforts solely on what you can control, and even then do not dwell on your tribulations. May your memory be short term but that you can remember how you started your journey. Everyday is a new day, a blank sheet for you to write your story; we all have 24 hours in a day, sleep when absolutely necessary but not on your dreams.
Every means of communication with regards to social media is a tool; use it to find like-minded people. Surround yourself with people that are better than you, be a sponge and show humility. I have devoted all my social media outlets as a means to network myself. I am always happy to help wherever possible, please feel free to follow, or add me; I will never shut you out.
Give change a chance, you might just like it.