Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Sam, I’m 20 years old, and I’m from a small town in northern Connecticut. I’m currently still in school at Springfield College in Massachusetts, working on a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. I work as a cycle instructor at my university, as well as a student advocate for wellness and a part time babysitter. Outside of school and work, I love to eat, travel, cook, watch sports, and read.
I know I’m still young, but life catches up with you in funny ways and although I’m pretty good at time management, I constantly find myself not having enough time for myself and that’s something I’m trying to change this year.
What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?
I love how empowering fitness is for me. I love watching my body change and experimenting with different workouts and food. I love the way working out makes my body and mind FEEL. When I wake up in the morning, I can’t wait to get up and move, even if it’s a short walk, anything that gets me moving wakes me up and makes me feel GOOD about myself and my journey.
How long have you been into fitness?
I’ve been active in sport my whole life but have only been passionate about consistently working out and lifting for about 2.5 years now.
How did you get into fitness?
I’ve sort of just been active my whole life, and I know how important it is to maintain an active lifestyle. Once sports ended for me, I tried many different forms of exercise and constantly switch up my routine to avoid boredom and keep the energy to workout. I don’t believe in diets or working out for a short period of time to achieve the body you want, but rather, I believe in fitness for life, there is no ‘end destination’, it’s an ongoing process.
What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?
My Junior year of high school I had to undergo minor heart surgery, which put me out of sports for close to a year. Because I wasn’t able to exercise, I had extra time to find new healthy recipes to cook and I fell in love with eating healthy. Despite eating healthy, my body wasn’t nearly as toned as it was before the surgery and I went through some body-image issues. I became obsessed with the idea of dieting and when I was able to work out again, I went crazy with cardio trying to get my ‘figure’ back. This cascade of events led me to become underweight and have a negative relationship with myself, my body and food.
Eventually, I realized how unhealthy my ‘healthy’ habits had actually become and started to develop a healthier relationship with food. I started practicing meditation and invested in my self-development. But it wasn’t until I started lifting weights and becoming comfortable with my body again that I started to feel stronger and healthier. Because of exercise, I have both lost control, but been able to regain control of my life.
How has fitness impacted your life?
It has given me more self-confidence both in and outside of the gym. I’m more comfortable around people and have connected with SO many amazing people, because I LOVE myself more. I love that I have the ability to move and push my body and mind every day, I love seeing progress because it reminds me, I have the strength and ability to change and become a better version of myself. I’ve become more aware of myself and my capabilities, and less concerned with what others are doing and what others think of me. Fitness has truly given me freedom to become a person I am proud of.
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 worry about what other people are doing or what other people will think of you. Quick fixes don’t work. Don’t let the latest fitness and food trends confuse you. Start with the basics, try everything and find what works best for YOU, then stick with it.
Don’t rely on motivation, because motivation fades. Dedication and determination will get you where you want to go. That being said, don’t do it alone! Find an accountability partner, someone to go to the gym with to take away some of that fear you may be feeling, someone you can share your goals and aspirations with, someone who will SUPPORT you through it all.
Lastly, start NOW. Don’t wait until Monday, you won’t do it. Don’t wait until the first of the month or the first of year. What do you want? Right now, what do you want the most? Even if it’s not fitness related, get out and get AFTER it. Life is too short for “I’ll start tomorrow”, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.