How I Started
I was never a great athlete growing up. I didn't play high school or college sports. I was just a nerdy kid who read a lot of books, got really good grades, and had after school jobs. In fact I read so many books that I won numerous reading awards. Not really the makings of a future athlete and fitness model! I was tall, uncoordinated, and pretty much a borderline geek. I always felt bad when people would ask me if I played basketball or football, and when I would say no, they would tell me it was a shame that my height and size were going to waste. I was always social shy, and the thought of being on a team and competing against others made me very uncomfortable.
It wasn't until I went to college and took a strength training class, that I truly discovered the potential within me that was waiting to be unlocked through lifting. During my first year of college I put on 25lbs of learn muscle. I went from being 6'4" and 190lbs to 215lbs. The change was amazing. Not only was I becoming stronger, but I was filling out a t-shirt in a good way! My confidence in all areas of my life sky rocketed. I wasn't that I wasn't confident in my abilities or in my intelligence, but I knew that there was something lacking. I had this big tall body that I didn't know what to do with, and felt awkward around others.
The big game changer for me wasn't just putting in the time at the gym, it was having a professor that really understood the art of lifting. We spent as much time talking about the science behind exercise as we did learning to lift. I became like a sponge wanting to learn everything I could about strength and conditioning. That was when I was first able to see a vision of what I could do with my nerdy side, as well as have a physical stimulus for the potential that my body had.
For me lifting weights became a way of life. It was a way to challenge myself that didn't relay upon anyone or anything else. The iron gives you back exactly what you give to it. If you give it everything you have it will give you the ability to create something truly awesome with your body. Because I was never athletic growing up and didn't compete in sports, lifting and getting strong isn't so I can compare myself to others to be stronger, bigger, or more ripped than anyone else. For me it's all about self improvement, and creating my potential. I don't like it when someone asks my what my max bench press or squat is. What my max is, may be one persons warm up, or not possible for someone else depending on where they are at in their fitness journey, and a host of other factors.
It was those early experiences in college and the changes that I personally experienced that lead me down the path of wanting to be able to create those same life changing experiences for others. I dedicated my self to learning as much as I could, first obtaining my undergraduate degree in exercise science and nutrition, then going on to earn my masters in sports conditioning and performance, as well as numerous training certifications. I am continually amazed at how much I am still learning.
Doing what I loved lead me to the opportunities that I have today including working with Bodybuilding.com, and now being able to reach a worldwide audience to share my passion for health and fitness with. I hope to be able to change peoples lives in they way my life was changed so many years ago.
Also like many others I struggle with depression and it's related friend anxiety, it has been my constant companion for over 20 years. The severity comes and goes, but it is always there. I have had times where the simple act of just getting to the gym seems overwhelming, but once I begin to lift all the chaos begins to fade away. Exercise is one of the best treatments for depression. Lifting weights is my therapy, it allows me an element of control that isn't possible otherwise. I see so many people struggling with daily depression and looking for ways to feel better. Our physical health and how well feel about your bodies plays a giant roll into our mental and emotional well being. The benefits of exercise for treating depression are as effective or more effective than many medications. For me, I made the decision to use exercise and focusing on the abilities of my body over taking medications and dealing with potential side affects. That has been my journey, and one of the reasons I am so passionate about helping people to feel and look their best.
Why I Love it
I am excited to be part of the Bodybuilding.com TEAM! Bodybuilding is a fantastic world to be a part of! Bodybuilding is more than just those impressive athletes that compete in contests. Body building is for everyone! We should all be seeking to build the best bodies that we can. Having a fit/healthy/attractive body will provide rewards and benefits in all aspects of our lives. Everyone can and should be building a better body!
I'd love to help anyone who is interested in building a better body. Send me a message if you want to, and I'd be happy to communicate with you.