I grew up playing a variety of sports including baseball, basketball, indoor and outdoor soccer, and flag football. I loved being active and competing. I didn't have the most god given talented, but I made the most out of what I had. My parents encouraged me in all of these endeavors and instilled in me the idea that I was only person who could set a limit on how far I would go in sports. I took this concept seriously and began to realize that I could directly have an effect on how I played and performed.

In the sixth grade I had my first exposure to tackle football. Now to most this probably doesn't seem like a big deal, but it was for me. As a kid growing up I wasn't the most physical or aggressive and up until the age of 11 or I don't think I could have won a fight against a twig.

I still can remember my mom telling me that the YMCA was getting ready to have tackle football sign-ups and she wanted to know if I was interested. I said yes. This must have surprised my mother because she continued to ask me the same question at least twice a day until sign-ups came (catch my sarcasm).

Anyway this was my first exposure to a contact sport and I think my parents were expecting me to check out after the first practice. Just the opposite happened though I was a natural, not in the sense that I was particularly fast or skilled at any one position, but in the way that I took to contact. I relished in it. The harder I got hit or hit someone else the more I wanted. The rest is history. I fell in love with the game football after that first season. I wanted to be the best I could be at it.

This is when my love affair with weightlifting began. It started as a way for me to live the concept my parents had instilled in me. That if I worked hard enough there wasn't any limits to where I could take this sport. I believed that if I could bust my but hard enough in the weight room getting stronger and bigger I could improve my performance on the field.

I started regularly lifting weights the summer prior to my 7th grade year. During the week I would catch a ride with my grandmother on monday and wednesday mornings to her step aerobics class and on tuesday and thursday evening I would ride with her to zumba. Since that summer I don't think I have ever taken more than a week off of training without at least spending some amount of time at the gym. It has become my home away from home.

Through my school years my desire to improve my athletic focus drove my training. I wanted to be the best on the field every year. My thought was that if I wasn't getting better everyday someone else out there was, thus placing me behind.

Slowly though weightlifting took on its own passion separate from football. I failed to acquire a scholarship to play football in college. But I accomplished a lot athletically in high school as a product of the extra work I put in in the weight room. But even though I wasn't competing athletically anymore I stilled enjoyed getting my daily lift in.

I began to have a passion for helping others achieve their goals through exercise. I had built a sound foundation of self-taught knowledge in exercise science from my own search for ways to improve myself. I decided it was something I wanted to do as serious job. I studied and acquired my pt certification through ACSM. I now work as a personal trainer at a big box gym. I am young and still inexperienced, but I am improving my knowledge and skill at training by leaps and bounds everyday. I love working with my clients. I don't train any athletes I wish I could, but for know I enjoy helping people wade through the mass amount of misinformation they face and providing them with the tools they need to succeed.

My love for lifting has yet to diminish, although my reasons for lifting have shifted dramatically. I no longer compete in any sport. But I enjoy being able to move proficiently and I train in order to maintain these capabilities. I love to be strong and lifting allows me to maintain and increase my strength. It allows me to perform everyday activities at ease adding quality to my life outside of the gym. In addition I have fell in love with the deadlift and I am in current pursuit of a 500 pound pull currently residing at a personal best of 415. Lifting at this point in my life is something I enjoy doing and I hope to remain doing it for a long time.

The point of sharing my own testimonial about why I started lifting and why I continue to lift is to illustrate an idea. The idea being that no matter what it is we should always have a reason for our training. It doesn't have to be specific. It doesn't have to be crossfit approved. It doesn't need to be weight related. It just has to be something that is important to you something that motivates you outside of just training to train.

Training is a means to an end. It is a vehicle to improve qualities that will ultimately progress you towards your goals. What the goals are is irrelevant. Maybe it is living long enough to see your great grandkids or it might be as simple as looking good naked. Most importantly the goals should allow you to view your training as a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Think about why you train. Why is it that you are so diligent with your lifting schedule? Why do you eat such a clean diet? What is it that drives you into the gym? Its important to be aware of these why's it improves the quality of your training. It motivates and directs you.

Lastly and most importantly make sure your training is adding good to your life. Training should build you up. It should allow you to enjoy your life more. If your training isn't doing this perhaps you need to reevaluate why you do what you do. Don't make training the end in it self. Enjoy the fruits of your labor in the gym. Play with your kids, run up the stairs, take a walk, play a game of pick-up basketball, take your shirt off outside. Stop focusing on the next time you get to the gym. Focus on how the time in the gym will benefit you outside of the gym and how you will enjoy it.