such a soccer stud! By the way that's me in the green. I grew up playing sports and when I say sports I mean all kinds of sports. I would play flag football in the fall, basketball and indoor soccer in the winter, baseball and outdoor soccer in the spring, and more baseball in the summer. Sports was an all around thing for both me and my brother. At times it was a lot of fun and other times I would have rather said to hell with it and stayed at home to log some extra hours on the nintendo-64.

this was after the final game of my first tackle football season. We played for the Y bowl, but lost. I remember my head hurting so bad after the game, but I didn't care I was hooked.

But that was never allowed my dad had always been athletic throughout his life and he instilled that same value in me and my brother growing up, so sports became theme of our childhood and adolescence. As we got older both me and my brother found our niche sports and began to focus more time and attention to those. We both loved and enjoyed baseball a lot, but when I entered the sixth grade I got my first chance to experience tackle football in our local YMCA. I was hooked from then on as was my brother when he got his opportunity to play a year later. So baseball and football became my sport of choice as well as his.

here is a picture of me and my brother during my awkward phase. that is me on the right. see I was chubby.

 

At the same time as I was introduced to tackle football I was going through what you could call my "awkward phase". I hadn't quite had a growth spurt yet and was still retaining a lot of that so called "baby fat." I was aware of this awkwardness and was desperate to find a way to help move through this stage quicker. This was when I found exercise and the gym. My mom set me up for a few personal training sessions with a trainer ,who would later become my first boss at a gym, at the YMCA.

After those training sessions I was hooked and when I found out that the gym could help me make me a stronger, bigger, and faster athlete I was all the more hooked. The gym became my past time from then on. I began reading the monthly edition of Muscle and Fitness and couldn't wait to get to the gym to try out all the new exercises I had read about that month. I continued to lift consistently throughout middle school in addition to playing football and baseball.

This was also the same time I sort of came into my own as an athlete. I was the starting inside linebacker my seventh and eight grade year of middle school as well as the starting catcher for my traveling baseball team. Both of which were huge accomplishments for me because up until then I hadn't been part of what you would call the cream of the crop. I always played hard, listened to my coaches, and did my best, but I had more or less been the awkward, mediocre kid on the team.

Moving on into high school I was even more determined to continue excelling at my sports. I wanted to play varsity football more than anything and start on friday nights. During this time it became mandatory to participate in the high school strength and conditioning program which I was lucky enough to have a knowledgable S & C coach. But as I was only really well read in the areas of body building I couldn't let my own workouts go because I believed it was necessary to perform body part splits and isolation movements which weren't things in the high school program.

the picture on the left is from my freshman year. the picture on the right is from my senior year. the weight room helped me become a stronger, bigger, and faster athlete.

So from my freshman of high school to my senior year of high school I would participate in the weights at my high school either in the morning during the summer or after school during the school year. I would then go to the YMCA to do my own body part split routine in addition to regular sport activities like practice and games. Honestly I couldn't get enough of lifting it was my hobby and something I enjoyed so the more the better. I gained a large amount of knowledge about exercise technique and muscular development as well as a large exercise library during this time. In addition I learned a lot about conditioning athletes to change directions quicker and run faster from asking questions about why we did what we did during conditioning sessions, which came out of a passion to make myself quicker and faster.

I think I owe a lot of credit for my success in high school on the field to the things I achieved in the weight room. I eventually gave up baseball my junior year of high school to focus my attention on preparing for my senior year of football. I loved football the most and wanted to play in college. I began playing on friday nights my sophomore year and started both my junior and senior year. But sadly I didn't ultimately reach the college ranks.

I started considering becoming a personal trainer during my freshman year of high school and started seriously working towards it my junior year after getting hired at the YMCA by the same guy who had been my original trainer. I was still reading and performing classic body building type training programs, but at this point I became reading some books on exercise physiology and found the blogs of people such as Eric Cressey, Tony Gentilcore, and Mike Boyle. All of which showed me the light and allowed me to get out of the body builder style training and into the world of functional training and conditioning. This is when my real education as a trainer began and  has continued on to this day. I began learning about assessments, correctives, and dysfunctions. How to optimize movement patterns and make people stronger.

acsm-295x300After finishing high school I sat for the ACSM certified personal trainer certification and passed. I was then promoted to a trainer at the YMCA and began working with clients. I know train a variety of populations, do all my own programming, and have moved into a much more educated standing in regards to proper training, movement dysfunctions, corrective strategies, and the proper way to eat. In addition my passion to gaining knowledge is without contest. I cannot seem to stop reading, watching, and listening. At times it can even be a bit of a curse because it distracts from my degree course work.

From the days as an awkward athlete to a standout and now to a trainer my training, motivation, goals, and philosophy has evolved and changed as have I as a person. Which in my book makes the last 8 years a success. I started as an athlete training as a bodybuilder and know I am a trainer who just loves making people healthier using exercise and nutrition as the vehicle to better health. My knowledge base has grown beyond what exercise builds what muscle. I know look at movements and not muscles. I can assess and implement correct strategies based on my assessments. I can empathize with those who are not athletes and do not have performance goals, but rather just want to look good and feel good.

My transformation in regards to the health and fitness industry has been quite a ride and I look forward to the future for more change. I share my journey with you as a way to show that the weight room offers a place for us to not only get healthier, move better, and feel better, but also as a place to evolve and grow as people.

my current mission is to use exercise and nutrition as a vehicle to better health.

At this point in my journey I know feel it is my mission to advocate for preventive medicine through exercise and nutrition. I want to help stop our society from getting sicker and help to reverse the trends of obesity, heart disease related deaths, and crippling ailments. I think this can be done through applying scientifically supported principles, using an understanding of human behavior, and by demonstrating to people that I care both about them and their well being.

My philosophy now is to make people healthier through:

Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training