Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
I never grew up playing sports. We were always tight on funds, so it was cheaper to become a nerd than to play sports. My background actually started in the military, when I was 137 lbs. and 6 foot 3 inches. I couldn’t even do a pull up or bench press my own weight.
I’ve always been a hard gainer and it was actually comic books that made me want to be more than a scrawny kid. A couple years after I started lifting weights, I discovered that personal training was something that actually existed. The fact that I could help people feel the same confidence and self-control I had grown into was amazing.
I went to a career college and acquired an accredited two year degree with my first certification and started working at 24-Hour Fitness. After two years and attaining master trainer status, I moved over to Lifetime Fitness. This is where I started becoming more crafted in body sculpting. I stepped onto the stage multiple times and placed every time.
Between my ego and the corporate setting, I lost my passion for helping others. I took a full year away from lifting weights and two years total away from inspiring others. Within those two years, I moved to the Lake of the Ozarks from Kansas City to start over and it was then that I started part 2 of my fitness journey when I rediscovered my passion in motivating others. Knowledge has influence and fitness is contagious, and when you realize what that can change in people you have a duty to help them.
What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?
I love how contagious fitness is. I moved away temporarily to a small town and everywhere I went people would start at least attempting to workout. There are actually 2 parts to my fitness journey and seeing how easily inspired people were at the thought of what fitness can do for their lives during this time away is what brought me back into helping people.
How long have you been into fitness?
I started lifting weights in August of 2009 in Kuwait as we were in transit heading to Iraq and haven’t stopped since. It’s a couple years shy of a decade and I’m still learning every day, so that I’m always humbled.
How did you get into fitness?
I was bullied growing up; always undersized and awkward. The awkwardness wasn’t so awkward once you own it. Then you’re just goofy, which I’ll take any day. But the fragile looking exterior wasn’t something I outgrew. I just got taller and skinnier. After basic training I was still underweight and people would always ask what was wrong with me, thinking I was anorexic or I had a tape worm. So my platoon sergeant told me that I had to start hitting the gym with our resident platoon gym rats. They set me up with my first pre-workout (BSN N.O.-xplode) and that’s all she wrote.
What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?
When I was overseas and had just started lifting, I had already increased 15 lbs. and was lifting purely for aesthetics, which always burns you out in the end. I found out that my fiancé back home was seeing someone else and I crumbled. When you’re 7,500 miles away from home and you realize your home front is just a house front and all of the sudden you have no home. That point was in November 2009 and lifting went from an ego thing to a therapy thing instantly. I was lifting weights to keep mentally strong.
How has fitness impacted your life?
I grew up with absolutely no confidence. Fitness has shown me the light I can shine on others to inspire them and show that no matter where you come from or what your circumstances are, you can become mentally and physically fit. You can control your outcome and I’ve found my place to help others achieve the same feeling.
What words of advice or encouragement would you like to give to someone who is just starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?
Don’t be a product of your circumstance. Ask yourself what the outcome is and then all you have to do it fill in the gap. Fitness is a journey, it’s not a sprint. Create SMART goals so you always have something to aim for and allow your emotions to flow into your workouts. This will keep you going so you don’t fizzle out.
OIF Veteran; and CPT and physique competitor