Get Fit Challenge II 2015 Contestant
"XSport Fitness symbolizes sticking together and using those around you as a support system that can help re-motivate you, re-build you and help turn you into or back to the person you want to be."
Happy, Proud, and Confident. These are three words that I honestly can say I had not been in a long while, before the Get Fit Challenge. Before the GFC, I was lost. Fighting through injury, mentally broken, and completely down on myself, there needed to be a change. I had been put in a situation where I didn't know who I was and needed some guidance to get back to the person I knew I could be. To me, XSport Fitness symbolizes sticking together and using those around you as a support system that can help re-motivate you, re-build you and help turn you into or back to the person you want to be. Throughout my life, I have come across many challenges that I have taken head on, by myself. This was not one of those challenges. The support I received and the advice that I was given, helped me to become the man I am to this day. To put it simply, XSport Fitness and the Get Fit Challenge has saved my life.
Since I was young boy I always struggled with my weight. The men in my family tended to be on the larger side and not the healthiest. It seemed like I was to fit right in. As I grew up of course I began to notice that my confidence levels were not high. As someone who played sports and was constantly moving and being active, you would think this would not be. It wasn't until my grandfather passed of heart failure that I began to look at life a little differently. He was the oldest male in my family tree. He passed at the age of 71. This dramatic event in my life occurred when I was in high school. When I was, at the time, at my highest weight I had ever been. As a junior in high school I weighed in at 240 LBS. This was the turning point. I decided to dedicate myself and my life to change. I wanted to become a Certified Personal Trainer. And, I did just that. I went to college to get my degree in Kinesiology. Graduated in 4 years with my degree and just kept on progressing. Out of college, I got my certification through the National Association of Sports Medicine. I was hired to train at XSport Fitness and life just seemed perfect.
Years into my personal training career I was at my peak fitness level. In March of 2013 I was going on my first vacation I had been on in 2 years. The first night there I was struck in the face by a man. This man was on probation for assault with a deadly weapon and armed robbery. He broke my jaw in 3 different places. I could not eat solid foods, I could not work out, and more importantly, when I returned from my vacation, I could not train my clients. Along will the hospital bills, came dental bills, and again, bills for just trying to live a normal life. The man that had hit me had no job. He was sent to prison for a year of his life. In all honesty, he set me back 10 years of my life. Due to my poor financial situation and the fact that I could not do my job and personal train, I had to start working for my father's printing company for health benefits. Because of this, I felt like I lost everything I had worked so hard to become, a fitness expert.
Because of the lack of physical activity, I began to gain weight and lose confidence in myself all over again. With the lack of confidence, came the lack of drive to want to better myself, so my workouts suffered or just did not happen at all. Riding the elliptical one day, my knee buckled and I felt a sharp pain. The next day my knee was the size of a softball. Something was obviously wrong so I needed to get it checked out. I had torn my ACL from riding the elliptical. This was truly my breaking point. I had lost it all. I had lost all faith in myself and was done with everything. My nutrition went out the door and so did my reasons for living. I drank too much and just stopped caring. Donnie was my savior. I went into XSport Fitness to cancel my tanning package which I didn't use because I was too ashamed to go in the building. I got to talking with Donnie about the Get Fit Challenge, which I knew about because I had worked there, but would never do because of that same reason. He had me hop on the scale. My weight, which when I was at my best was 185 LBS, had skyrocketed to 244 LBS. My body fat % which use to be 15% was at 38%. This was the ultimate kick in the face. My eye opener.
I signed up for the Get Fit Challenge. Everything in my body told me not to. Not because I thought I couldn't do it on my own, but because I knew that everyone would be staring at me while I was there. Knowing that I had been a former trainer and let myself get the way I was. Donnie brought peace to my mind. He would always say don't focus on the beginning, but on the end result. Be who you want to be, he would say. I was very open to the various training styles he knew about. He knew that I had injured my knee months earlier, so things would have to progress in a different way. The rowing machine became my Arch nemesis. High intensity cardio while core strengthening and upper body endurance!!! Wow, that machine is tough!! It was amazing to see how knowledgeable he was in his field. He would never let me be negative either. Always pushing me with positivity. Keeping my mind in the right place. Even when I was not training with him, he would stop over during my workouts at the gym just to check up on me to make sure all was good. For me, I thought that adjusting the way I ate was going to be more difficult. Donnie was able to help me build a healthy nutrition program which progressed in different ways throughout the time. It was very structured, which helped greatly. The supplements that he recommended also helped me to push even farther in my journey. I was and am still taking the BCAA's, a multivitamin, Protein powder, and my favorite, Amino Energy. The protein allowed me to constantly keep calories coming in throughout the day just in case I did not have a meal. The BCAA's were great, because I was working out so much and so often, my recovery was actually faster and I could do more. And the Amino Energy was my life source!!! The different flavors that Amino Energy has allowed me to change the taste all the time, while providing myself with a little burst of energy and different amino acids for rebuilding.
I can honestly say, I would not be where I am today if it weren't for Donnie and the XSport team. Positivity was a tool I used on a daily bases when I was training. The only way to be positive all the time is to surround yourself with it. XSport Fitness was definitely the place for me. Not only was Donnie my trainer, but I considered him my friend as well. We text all the time, whether it be about the workouts we did or had planned, or just to talk about different sporting events that were taking place. The XSport Team at the Darien location took care of people like they were their own family. Trainers that I didn't even know would come and assist with form or even spot you for a set of your exercise, no questions asked. Going into the contest I was surprisingly scared and worried about embarrassment and feeling mentally and physically uncomfortable. My Trainer Donnie and this XSport Fitness Team made sure that was the last thing on my mind when walking into those doors.
I couldn't be happier with my progress throughout this entire competition. The person that I am now is the one I will continue to be for the rest of my life. Someone that is happy and outgoing, someone that can say they are proud of who they are on the inside and outside, someone that is confident with their self-image and is not worried about what others think!! I am who I am because of me. Time to live up to my dreams and fulfill everything and anything I want. This journey has taught me more about myself and how far I still have to go. I will never forget the people who helped me on the way to my success. I will be forever changed, and in the best ways possible, all thanks to XSport Fitness and the Get Fit Challenge!!!!!!