Now’s my time to shine!
Not really, this is essentially going to highlight my backstory with my mistakes and struggles, that have served me to become a better professional, and a better athlete (if you would call me that).
Some new connections I’ve made recently made it clear to me the importance of being transparent.
Therefore, I would like to share to emphasize that I am not just some naturally thin or athletic coach, who’s never struggled with the common tribulations of the many, throwing out information and coaching to people with no true insight, or affinity.
This blog post is a detailed way to get to know me, hopefully draw some parallels, get a good belly laugh, and see that everyone has a backstory, and that there’s a way to use it all to your advantage.
Let’s get to the comedy show…
Young Tubby Boi
So, I got pretty fat in Elementary school…real fat.
Second grade hit, and my food love took me into pre-diabetes.
Interestingly though, I was pretty athletic, and I always enjoyed playing sports, moving, sprinting, trying new things – just on my own terms.
I ran track in elementary school, and around 2004-2005 (near that pic time) I won the 50 yard dash for my group at the Palm Bay track meet. There were some pissed off parents that day, I mean, how does your young track star get smoked by the Pillsbury Doughboy?
Middle School was probably the worst 2 years of my life, in terms of ridicule.
I gained a little more weight, weighing in from 210-225lbs, and as everyone else at the time, I thought skateboarding was my lord and savior.
But when you’re 220lbs with chicken legs, wearing skinny jeans isn’t the way to go if you don’t want to get picked on.
Around this time I was coined “Mr. ManBoobs”, and I had also grown out the most luscious locks you’d ever seen, but that didn’t exactly help my aerodynamics any more.
My weight peaked around 9th grade (right at 230lb), and it was pretty much a culmination of being made fun of, my doctor telling me I will be diabetic, my mild heart murmur and obesity was putting me further at risk, and the yearning for friends that started to make me think about a change.
To The Weight Loss
My first step into learning how to manipulate my body came the summer in between my freshman and sophomore year in high school.
High School means girls, and I was over getting picked on, so I decided to try to lose some weight.
The pain of being endlessly being made fun of, being unable to easily make friends, have confidence, and fear of participation had overwhelmed the pleasure of eating a box of swiss cake rolls every night. It always comes down to the pain vs pleasure complex.
My Weight Loss Plan
I ate one pack (2 Pop-tarts) of Pop-tarts only each day, and rode my bike at least 5 total miles, everyday.
Now, of course some days I had to give in to a family meal, or I had to skip the bike so I rode more in the following days, but that was my plan, and I stuck to it.
1 pack of Pop-tarts only, and biking daily.
…I lost just shy of 90 pounds from May 2009-August 2009.
It was instantly the best thing to have ever happened to me for about 3 months.
Girls talked to me, other kids thought I was cool – I had become a spectacle. I was badgered about how I’d done it, and congratulated.
Most importantly, I was no longer cause for cheap laughs, and rude comments (except for doing stupid things like the following photo lol)
Why You Shouldn’t Starve Yourself
In November of 2009, I fell off my skateboard (maybe a 12-16″ fall) and completely broke my collarbone.
My bone “teepeed” out of my skin, to the point where if I turned my head to the right, my jaw touched it (gnarrrrrrrly).
I had to get surgery almost immediately – within a few days. In that time, my doctor did some tests and told me I had the bone density of a woman who just entered menopause.
I had lost a significant amount of weight, nearly half of my total weight, and it had caused a very mild fall for a teenage boy, to become a source of aggravation for years to come (like, still).
Taking a weightlifting class in High School definitely opened my eyes to training.
My dad always had some dumbbells lying around, but their primary use was for propping doors open, and holding shit down.
I became obsessed with getting as strong as possible, and weightlifting class turned into class at school, a bench set at home, and a gym membership.
I was the bro of all bro’s.
I benched probably 6 days a week at the absolute minimum, with at least 4 of those days being 2-3 times a day. (Soon after this I would begin experiencing nagging, debilitating pain every time I bench pressed, which thrust me into the world of leg exercises.)
I got pretty damn strong, and I bench pressed 315 pounds at a bodyweight of 165 just before I graduated.
Lower Body Exercises?
I thought squats were a bodyweight exercise for sitting on the toilet, or getting eye level with a dog. If you asked me to deadlift I would probably assume it would be some sort of bench pressing under extremely fatiguing conditions.
Getting into “Coaching“
Around 19 years old, I was struggling a bit. I had failed 2 drug tests for jobs (no discipline), dropped out of college on day 1 essentially, I was mowing lawns for my dad, hoping I wasn’t going to have to mow lawns forever. I had also just gotten arrested – nothing serious, an overnight but that was pretty damn eye opening (of course). I decided to go for it, and I immersed myself into powerlifting, and plyometric training (mostly trying to jump on tires and boxes) thinking about becoming an athlete, and maybe a trainer down the road.
Finally, I had finally gotten a real job at Winn Dixie, working as an overnight stocker. I was mowing yards in the morning to pay off debts, and training myself hard in the afternoon/evening, and working overnight.
I became obsessed with powerlifting, and I really started to think about becoming a trainer.
I decided to purchase not one, but 3 training certifications (ISSA’s Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutritionist, and Exercise Therapy Certs) and I began traveling down that rabbit hole.
I naturally understood most of it, and it was a smooth integration because I was always coordinated, and could understand movements, but I was still lost enough to need to pay some other (more established) trainers to help me pass – but I passed the PT course and began training at my local Elite Fitness.
You know the phrase “you’ve got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette?” Well, I cracked all those eggs, and left the shells in the omelette.
My new-found knowledge fed my ego, and I started training even more. 3 lift totals were all I knew, and I had worked myself to a 385 back squat, 320 front squat, 465 deadlift, and didn’t bench as much (once again, collarbone), but could maintain my 315 press.
When you’re not prioritizing sleep in any way, shape, or form, and you’re carb cycling (I was constantly dieting), and you’re working other strenuous, physical jobs, you’re going to break some shit.
While trying to prepare for my very first powerlifting meet, I herniated 3 discs in my lower back, and pinched 2 nerves in my neck.
Out for awhile, I used the time to go vegan (disordered eating for years), read more books, wrap my head around more movement based exercise, and “functional” training, exercise therapy, and then I found out I can punch and kick for exercise.
Into New Obsessions: Boxing & Muay Thai
I had always been a huge fan of the UFC, so my time of inactivity was spent reading, studying, but my entertainment form was watching fights, and how-to videos.
Part of my “rehab” then became getting deeper into punching and kicking things. Sounds like the move, right?
I had tried hitting the heavy bag before; I was ass. But I started to become very consistent, and the reps add up.
I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, which sounds worse that it is. It’s quite common, but in a nutshell I have shit genetics and didn’t approach lifting intelligently either way, so I looked to boxing and kickboxing as my new outlet of fitness.
I attended the university of YouTube, and practiced 5 days a week.
It’s still one of my favorite things to do, and I’ve gotten Muay Thai Coaching from a renowned coach in San Diego, and I’ve taken courses from an Olympic Boxer to receive my level 1, 2 and boxing-fitness certifications.
The skill building and enjoyment factor is as high as you can get in my opinion, and if anyone shows any interest in it, I feed that interest as best as I can. A boxing warmup, or high output finisher will turn a client’s workout program from dreadful, to “can we do more days a week?” almost every time.
The Bodyweight Realization:
There was a period of time where I lived quite far from my gym, and I would try to exercise at parks, beaches, and at home.
I soon realized how few exercises and movements I could actually perform. How many times can you just repeat pushups, squats, and planks before it’s annoying, and monotonous? With all the time, effort, and reps I’d put in training, I literally could not convey that without a fitness facility.
I dropped all machines, barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells to focus on using my bodyweight only. It was a smooth transition, because I was mostly back to full health, no more back issues, but I was hesitant to dive back into lifting, and wanted to explore other methods.
Gymnastics, calisthenics, and “functional movements” became the new approach. Like everything else – I didn’t get great, but I became proficient enough to understand the methods, and applied the principles to my training preferences. I read, practiced, applied to myself and willing clients, and gained experience.
Movement & Corrective Exercise
Years of training, and delving into new outlets and methods of training certainly produced a few minor, yet nagging injuries, imbalances, and immobile areas.
It became very interesting to go a bit deeper into anatomy, and learn how compensations happen, body-type differentiation, and how strength, flexibility, mobility, and over/underuse of certain areas interrelate.
Amidst the bodyweight and “movement” focus, I really began to understand the importance of being able to move comfortably, and for your own body.
I learned I’m pretty lanky-armed, with slightly short legs, and caveman feet, and that taught me how to move, and program training for my body. Which in turn, taught me how to help people move according to their body.
Everyone is different, so if someone tells you that if you don’t back squat, bench press, pull up, deadlift, and curl you’re doing it wrong; stay away from them, find an open mind.
Learning the body’s tendencies, overused musculature, postural deviations, and type, you can implement the most minimal forms of prehab, such as stretching the right areas, warming up underused/supporting areas, and mobilizing your problem joints.
Building further on my “movement” obsession – I had kids!
Watching my kids crawl, walk, run, play, and tumble around and not being able to participate would make me feel like I’m a boring, uninvolved, and pretty damn lame dad.
Being able to crawl around, give piggy-back rides, tumble, roll, flip, and play like a child is very freeing. Not in some hippy-dippy way, but because in order to do so you need to have the mobility, strength, endurance, and dexterity to do what a mini-human is doing.
We are all children, we just got old and boring. Don’t be old and boring. Once again, my philosophies changed. I became more objective, and understanding, and I became a better coach with experience and an open mind.
Before my own children, I wouldn’t be so understanding, and lenient with clients who had children. Just telling them “this is what you have to do” but that’s not true at all, and generally keeping up with their kids is work enough, they don’t need to just clang weights around, they’ve got options.
Since the summer of 2009, I have essentially been on a diet.
I have done Vegetarian, Vegan, Keto, Paleo, Carb Cycling, Pescatarian, “Clean Eating”, and more I’ve probably blocked out of my memory. When I say I’ve done these diets, I’ve done them all for at least 3 months. I carb cycled continuously for 9 months, was vegan for a total of over a year, and I was low carb for almost 3 years.
It wasn’t until the education of failed experiences, taking on courses and books, and seeking out objective, practical professionals who explain the principles, not the methods that I really could grasp the nutrition side of things.
I’m very flexible with my approach now; I meet people where they’re at, focus on educating them, and keep them in the middle of what they want, and what they need.
It took quite some time, and a lot of struggle for me to seek out coaches and mentors to grasp the science, and evidence based side of nutrition. Be objective!
Objectively Coaching Training & Nutrition
The culmination of my experiences, have led me to being very open-minded, and anti-dogma with my approach.
I think you must have fun, and I don’t think there is only one way.
The principles must be applied (progressive overload, calorie restriction etc.) but the methods used (bodyweight, weightlifting, paleo, iifym, intermittent fasting) can be used as tools to make the process more suitable to the individual.
Where I’m At Now
I’m currently leaning more into the physique focus, because I never went too far into that route in terms of stricter bodybuilding style training, with the outcome being mostly focused on “looking better naked”.
Most people have this as a higher desire, with skill-building taking the backseat. So, that’s where I’m currently at with my own training, along with building more skills, moving often, and trying to get better as a whole.
I’m very proud of my internal drive to push my own education. I dropped out, and that drove me crazy for years. But now, I know I’ve learned from people I most likely wouldn’t have, I’ve molded my own perspective with experience, and I’ve become a professional I would like to see in the industry.
I have numerous certifications in respects ranging from Stretching, to Sports Performance, Corrective Exercise, Nutrition, and just about everything in between. The totality of 6 years coaching, wanting to learn, and being so adamant about doing the work myself has given me the practical, and applicable knowledge that’s most valuable.
I employ the scientific principles, and evidence based training models to utilize every modality of training I’ve ever used and learned from. I use them as methods/tools to make those principles and science of Training & Nutrition more applicable to the individual.
Thanks for reading, now you know me. We’re pretty much bff’s now, so reach out and ask questions, I’m happy to help!
Talk soon, plenty of education to come