Alice Guzman

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a 24 year old college student currently attending the University of Georgia, double majoring in International Business and Management, and minoring in Spanish. I’ve moved around quite a bit in my lifetime, but I’m now residing in Athens, GA, and I plan on staying here for quite some time. Something I like to live by is making sure that I try everything, even if it’s just once, because I don’t ever want to look back on life and wonder “what if”. I think it’s important to live life to the fullest and get as many experiences as possible 🙂

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?

It’s hard to choose just one thing about fitness that I like the most (because there are just so many perks) but if I had to pick just one, I think it’d have to be the feeling after a great workout. One can go in feeling stressed and tired yet coming out feeling refreshed and optimistic. The endorphins and the “high” that you get after giving your all in a workout is seriously the best feeling ever!

How long have you been into fitness?

When I was younger, I absolutely hated working out. My dad literally used to have to bribe me to go outside and play basketball. Even so, I grew up playing soccer, softball, and basketball in elementary and middle school. As I got older, I would always go through ups and downs in my fitness journey. I’d get really motivated and work out every day as well as watch my nutrition for a certain period of time (usually no more than 2 or 3 months) and then I’d go back to my static lifestyle. I consistently started working out and have decided to make this a lifestyle change since November of 2016, and I plan on keeping it up for the rest of my life 🙂

How did you get into fitness?

The first time I seriously started getting into working out was my senior year in high school. I was overweight and extremely unhappy, so my roommate at the time and I decided to have a competition over the school year to see who could lose more weight. We both started jogging together and dieting (A LOT) and I became fascinated with not only exercise, but nutrition too. I lost about 40 lbs in 3 months, which wasn’t entirely healthy. I also didn’t make any changes that could be applied the rest of my life, so after the competition finished, I slowly started all gaining the weight back that I had lost. After that, it was a constant on and off journey with working out, until I discovered Fight Club at The Omni Club in Athens and decided to incorporate this into my everyday lifestyle.

What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?

After I was introduced to Fight Club/boxing, I immediately fell in love. Even so, life struggles and bad habits got in the way, so I didn’t immediately make the choice to do it consistently. Eventually though, I hired a personal trainer (who is AWESOME) and has greatly impacted my fitness journey.

The turning point for me was during one of our sessions. I still had terrible eating habits and only worked out about two times per week. I always told myself that I was “too busy” or “too overwhelmed” to make time for meal prepping and working out more often. During one of our sessions, my trainer and I were talking about his life and how he has so much going on. He has his own business, a second job, relationships, family, church responsibilities, etc, and he STILL has time to meal prep and work out very consistently. I remember looking at him like he was Superman and asking, “But how? How do you do all of these things and still have time to work out?” I remember him looking back at me and simply answering, “Priorities. Working out and watching my nutrition is one of my main priorities, so making time for it isn’t optional.” After he said that to me, something in my head just clicked. I knew that I needed to change the order of my priorities to make my health and my happiness something that I made time for on a daily basis. Ever since then, I haven’t stopped!

How has fitness impacted your life?

Fitness and nutrition has pretty much changed every aspect in my life in a positive way. I mold my entire schedule around my workouts now. I’m happier, healthier, more confident, STRONGER… It’s just great, overall. And on top of all of that, the friendships that I’ve made along the way are irreplaceable. It’s so great to have people at the gym cheering you on and vice versa, and it’s the best feeling ever to know that your trainers are with you 100% of the way. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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?

There’s so much to say! Start small. Don’t just dive in and expect to immediately get it. Make little changes, one at a time. Set realistic goals, and once you achieve them it’ll give you way more motivation to keep going! Another important thing is to take LOTS of pictures. Do not rely on the scale!!! The scale will lie to you, but the pictures won’t. Also, don’t just work out just to burn calories. Find something you love to do! Get out of your comfort zone. It’ll be super hard to keep it up the rest of your life if you’re exercising but hate it. And last but not least, YOU’VE GOT THIS! Losing weight takes time, and this is something that I still have to remind myself of every day. But as long as you stay consistent and keep trying, you will be able to achieve all of your goals!

Alice Guzman (@aliceinwonderland.923)

Ken “Hulk” Terrell

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

My background is a bit odd for someone in this industry. I graduated from B.C. undergrad in 1997 and cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 2000. I practiced law for eight years, played professional poker for three, was a bartender for two, and then began working as a trainer at The Omni Club. Six years later, I am now the General Manager of Athens Health and Fitness.

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?

I don’t know that I could narrow this down to just one thing. I love moving heavy weight and seeing how strong I can be into my 40’s (my PR for all three major lifts was set at the age of 40). But I have also grown to love running and training for OCR events. I guess I could say that what I love most about fitness is what I am capable of and then pushing to expand and exceed those limits.

How long have you been into fitness?

I was very fit back in law school, but eight years as an attorney and three years playing poker for a living resulted in a lot of weight gain. It was a very sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. I started my weight loss journey in March 2011, began working at a gym in the summer of 2012, and started running OCR events in 2013.

How did you get into fitness?

On March 24, 2011, I was playing with my son and his friends in the backyard at his birthday party and had to sit down. I was struggling to breathe, sweating like a pig, and thought I was going to be sick and he was only five years old. I realized then that if I didn’t make a change, I was going to be watching him from the sideline instead of as an active participant in his life. I was 275ish pounds with a 40 inch waist. I started the next day.

What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?

I had a two different turning points. The first was the one mentioned above playing with my son in the backyard. The second came when I was asked by a client to run a Spartan race in March 2013. I was instantly hooked. It changed my approach to fitness from just exercising/working ou to training for a specific purpose.

How has fitness impacted your life?

It has become my life. I went from being fat and out of shape to being healthy and fit to being an athlete to being a personal trainer to being the General Manager of the gym.

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?

 Motivation isn’t going to be what gets results. Motivation is fleeting – it comes and goes. Dedication and determination are what gets results.

Think of it this way – we aren’t always motivated to go to work. We do it anyways because we are dedicated to the job and/or to getting our paychecks to pay bills and support our families.

There will be times you are motivated to workout and that’s wonderful, but there will be times you are not motivated. Do it anyways. Treat it like something important and dedicate yourself to doing what needs to be done.

The results are worth it.

And if you don’t know what you are doing, get help. I worked with a trainer and took Fight Club classes to make my initial transformation. It was well worth the time and money spent.

Instagram: @kenhulkterrell

General Manager of Athens Health and Fitness (@athenshealthfitness)

Simona Naujokaityte

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

Hey, my name is Simona Naujokaityte. I was born in Lithuania but had a dream to live overseas and today, I finally live in the United States. One of the reasons why I love America so much is how many opportunities this country could give. A small country like Lithuania doesn’t really have anything good to offer. Being active is the way I live. My family laughs that before I started walking, I was running. I did a lot of things like kayaking, skiing, ice skating, playing hockey, snowboarding, and riding horses just for fun on my free time. For a time, I played tennis. But dancing and running track was the thing for years. But with time, track pushed dancing away and running became the thing that kept me alive. Half a year ago, I tried boxing and now, a day without it feels like punishment!

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?

Like you probably already understood, running and boxing is what I love the most. To be specific about it, running hurdles are my babies!!! Also recently, I started lifting weights and this is becoming my new addiction!

How long have you been into fitness?

I’ve been into fitness my entire life. My mom put me on skies ever since I was 2 years old (haha), but personally I started taking it more serious when I started school. I started dancing when I just turned 7 and always did competitions for school. Whenever I turned 10 years old, I started training on track more seriously. I found a personal trainer, got into sports school and started running in competitions for both school or individually. Today, as I’m answering these questions, I’m celebrating my half year into boxing!

How did you get into fitness?

My way into fitness probably was my genetics, haha (My grandma was a runner and represented the country back in her glory days). To be serious, when school started we were told about dance classes after school and I decided to go. It was a very small first step. Having a flexible body lead me to be the first and help show my classmates how to do certain things in PE class. Teachers noticed that and started asking me to run for school in competitions. I realized the potential in myself, felt good doing it and decided to dedicate more of my time for this. That was the way to sports school and my weekends became booked by dancing shows and competitions. Later on, just competitions and it stayed like that till I graduated.

When I moved to Athens, it was supposed to be a temporary spot, so I had a lot of free time and the gym was down the street. Also, my roommate was trying to get in shape and this is how I crossed the gym doors. She had been boxing for a while already and invited me to join her, at least to try. I’m not gonna lie, I was scared to do it. Pretty sure I’m not gonna like it. When class started, I hated that I wanted to leave after 3mins but stayed till the end. As soon as we came back home I looked at my roommate and asked when we going to do it again. The feeling after class is not possible to describe in any words! I was tired but so alive from inside… and we started doing it daily 🙂

What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?

The turning point for taking it seriously was how it made me feel. I always felt emotionally better after workout. In a little bit I started seeing result and it was another turning point. When these two combined, it’s a life changing moment.

How has fitness impacted your life?

Fitness impacted my life in all possible ways. It was my strength when I got sick; it was my motivation to do anything I have. It was my best medicine whenever I was emotionally down. I would just leave all my concerns, worries and pain in that workout. Also, it made me super close with Grandma. She always understood and supported me no matter what. When I hit a flat period with my results and was getting mad at myself, giving up, she would always build me up and inspire me. From fitness topic, it led us to all the other ones and she became my best friend, my mom, my queen, my ride or die, my most important person. And it was super hard on me when I left the country and moved to States all alone. Fitness connected me with my roommate and now we are like one! I honestly consider my roommate like a part of me. I never had a sister but this friendship let me understand how it feels to have one 🙂 We might not have the same blood but other than that, it’s not a joke we have same feelings, same thoughts (even bruises at the same spot) at the same time! Also, fitness allowed me to have a family again. Strength and Strike fitness crowd became not just people who work out together, but the family! I got blessed with all of it just because of fitness.

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?

At first it, will be hard. Seems to be not worth all that pain and struggle but keep pushing. Don’t give up, believe in yourself and don’t quit. Quitting lasts forever and you don’t want that. Push thru that hard period and then you will see how any hard period will be pushed for you. You will see how life is changing to a better one and that word fitness is not just a physical activity, its way more than that. It’s the best of what could happen to you!

Instagram: @samoa.cookie

 

Sarah V.

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

Married, with a dog named Guinness and cat named Hobbes. Currently I have a few jobs.  My main one is being a Nutrition Manager for Oglethorpe Elementary School.  I also own the GO Kickball League here in Athens that plays in the fall and spring.  I still coach gymnastics part time at Oconee Gymnastics and Cheer.

I am a UGA graduate with a degree in Dietetics and Consumer Foods.  I was also a competitive cheerleader for UGA, serving as team captain for 2 years. During my time in college and some afterwards, I was in the United States Air Force Guard for 6 years where I was in computer operations. I served a tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy all aspects of fitness. I can probably say my least favorite is cardio.  I tend to choose activities that cardio is mixed in, so I don’t notice it as much.

How did you get into fitness?

I cheated and started young.  My mom had me in gymnastics at the age of 5 and it continued from there.  I played basketball and took on some track and field events in high school.  In college, I was competitive cheerleader and of course the military “made me” do physical training.  Currently, I still do as much as I can with my students in gymnastics, even if it’s only conditioning and basic tumbling. I have also found boxing and weight lifting at Strength and Strikes, which is my thing now.

How has fitness impacted your life?

It’s my escape from all of life’s stresses.  It helps me clear my head and release any pent up emotions of everyday life. I guess it’s my meditation.

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?

I have found that just signing up for a gym membership doesn’t necessarily commit you to exercising, including me. Finding a group activity is usually a good way to go regardless if you are starting out or not.  I find that an instructor and a group of people to be the best motivator for me. You also get to meet great people with similar interests along the way.  Try different things, and eventually you will find one that gets you hooked.  For me it’s a boxing class, for my mom it’s currently a line dancing group.

Instagram: (@vondensa)

Nutrition Manager for Oglethorpe Elementary School, owner of GO Kickball League in Athens, GA, and part time gymnastics coach at Oconee Gymnastics and Cheer.

 

Raul Cervantes

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Raul Cervantes, being active in sports and fitness has always been part of who I am. It all began when my Dad introduced me to the gym when I was 15 and soon after, I found myself loving the process of challenging my mind and body. Fast forward 10 years to now, I’m 25 and I have my degree in Exercise Science and my NASM personal training certificate. While in school, I helped coach the Kennesaw State University here in Georgia; that was a blast and I give a lot of credit to the Strength & Conditioning Coach, Jim Kiritsy for all the mentoring.

I’ve been a trainer for a little over 2 years. I’m still new to the game and I’m learning something new each day, which goes back to when I was still a teen. I love the challenges and process of this lifestyle.

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?

The fact that I can help others feel better about themselves. All I want from a client (or anybody I can help) is for them to go home, take a good look in the mirror, and love who they are looking at. Fitness is more than just big muscles and protein shakes, it’s mental too. Mental fitness is something not many work on and if I can help one person learn to love themselves, then I’ve won.

How long have you been into fitness?

I started working out at age 15. I took it very serious at age 18. I’m about to turn 25 here soon (August 25th), so you could say I’ve been in fitness for about 10 years.

How did you get into fitness?

My dad introduced me to the weights at an early age. I was 15 and I had a small frame. I’m naturally thin but my body responds well to exercise. When I realized that I was making great progress, I was hooked and did everything I could to be better. I would come home from school each day, get my homework done as fast I could so I could research nutrition and training before it was time to go to the gym. That’s where it all started.

What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?

My turning point, I remember it very clearly. I was sitting at the lunch room at my high school and it was the beginning of my senior year. I was auditing everything that I was doing as far as my working out, nutrition, sleep, habits, everything, and I was honest with myself. I quickly understood that my training was a close to perfect as I could get as I was doing my own research and I had guidance from the weight training class at school.

Nutrition was a different story. That was the one aspect that nobody else could really help me the way I wanted to and my own research was not as great as I had thought. I dedicated most of my free time to figure out how bodybuilders ate and how I could mimic that to help me add more size, since I was 140 lbs. my senior year. It took me about a year of trial and error to get the hang of calories, macros, meal prep, foods that worked best for me etc. I did so much research that when I started my nutrition classes, I knew most of what they were teaching us. My professors had to ask me to stop asking questions in class because I was confusing the class and it was material we didn’t need to know but I wanted to know more.

How has fitness impacted your life?

Fitness has helped me a ton. Starting with helping me find a sport and lifestyle that I love, which lead to helping many people achieve a better way of life.

What words of advice or encouragement would you give to someone starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?

My number one piece of advice would be to be extremely patient and to use the internet to help you find what you want. It’s all out there, you just have to go and find it. Everyone has a smartphone; you have information at your fingertips. The problem is that people would rather play video games or watch tv than actually doing real work. If you’re complaining that you’re not making progress and you’re not doing anything to help yourself, you’ve got to really evaluate your priorities and start being honest with yourself. This is a man’s “sport”, you either make it happen or you don’t. Nobody can hold your hand, eat and train for you.

Instagram: (@rcfitness)

Youtube: TeamRCFitness

Trainer at BridgeMill Athletic Club in Canton, GA.

Chandler Jerrico

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

I am the Founder and CEO of ReBuilt Meals based out of Tampa, FL. I have owned two businesses before this, one being an automotive reconditioning company (Way out of the fitness industry, I know.) and the other being an online fitness marketing company.  I’m a risk taker and I love the thrill of something new and new ventures.  I’m also an extremely (some would say overly) optimistic and positive person.  Life is way too short to live any other way!  I believe fitness has been a HUGE contributor to my successes in my life.

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?

All of it! Such an average answer, right?  I enjoy the “high” I get afterwards, the feeling of accomplishment.  Knowing that I did something new, something I didn’t think I could do.  I pushed my body to a different level and now it’s time to repair and build it back up only to push it further the next time.  It becomes extremely addicting.  This feeling of accomplishment becomes so addicting that I want to feel it all the time, which is why I feel that I am always motivated in every aspect of my life.

How long have you been into fitness?

I have been in the fitness industry for 10 years now!  Time Flies…

How did you get into fitness?

Acne.  Acne got me into fitness.  I was 15 years old, I had bad skin, and was willing to try anything to get rid of the acne.  I read a few articles online about how diet plays a huge role in hormones and can cause acne.  The day after I read the article, I threw away ALL the food in my house that wasn’t a whole food.  When I say whole food, I mean everything that didn’t have to be made in a factory and wrapped, was tossed out. From there, I started eating a lot of veggies, lean meats, and sweet potatoes (my favorite go-to for carbs).  My acne started clearing up a little but not completely, so I then read more articles explaining that exercise is great for balancing hormones.  Shortly after, my dad purchased a Bowflex and taught me the building blocks of working out in our garage.  From that day forward, my acne cleared and I obsessed over fitness every day since.

What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?

I honestly don’t think I had a single turning point.  There have been 6 month strides where I am 100% dedicated and focused on nothing but fitness and my health, and then I also go through points where I am a little more loose on my diet and exercising.  Fitness is a journey and a lifestyle, but don’t forget to enjoy other things in your life. It’s all about balance. I follow the 80/20 rule, stay strict 80% of the time and 20% you can do what you want.  Just remember that it’s your only body you have to live in, so treat it right and with respect.

How has fitness impacted your life?

It taught me discipline. This rule of discipline carries over to my business, my relationships, and my personal growth.  Without discipline and structure, my life would be a mess. It’s taught me how to set goals, stay on track, and follow through. Fitness will forever be a part of my life, no matter what obstacle stands in my way.

What words of advice or encouragement would you give to someone starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?

Make time and START!  Take action NOW.  There will never be that perfect opportunity, that perfect moment, or perfect day with the perfect amount of time.  If it’s important to you, you will make time.

Another thing is start small.  You don’t have to have everything laid out perfectly.  Start with small walks, take away some bad food but not all of it, and slowly make adjustments each week to be better and better.

There is a saying I tell everyone when they start their fitness journey.  “If you throw a frog in a pot full of boiling water, it will jump out.  But if you put a frog in the pot with water before turning on the heat, it’ll stay in.”  Basically, if you are eating bad, not working out and then on Monday you decide to go do a hardcore workout, eat 100% clean, do your cardio, and flat out go crazy overload with everything from the start, then you’ll say “screw this, this sucks”.  So make small adjustments into the lifestyle because this is not a quick fix to lose some weight.  This is something that you’ll be doing for the rest of your life, as you should.

Chandler Jerrico (@chandler_jerrico)

Founder and CEO of Rebuilt Meals (@rebuilt_meals), based in Tampa, FL

Wes Gresham

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

I have a BS in Exercise and Sports Science. I was a track athlete at UGA, an amateur boxer for several years, and I have completed two Ironman triathlons. I have been personal training for 10 years as a boxing coach, strength coach, sports rehabilitation, and sport specific training. I have an ACE certification, as well as an ACE sport specific training certification.

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy all aspects of fitness, but I go through spells where I like some areas of fitness over others in different seasons of life. I primarily enjoy boxing and endurance training, however currently the strength training aspect has been my biggest focus on achieving goals to get stronger.

How long have you been into fitness?

I have been into fitness ever since I was intrigued how the body could change under conditioned stimuli since the 8th grade, 16 years ago

How has fitness impacted your life?

Fitness has impacted my life immensely. It is my life, my passion, and my career. I enjoy not only what it does for me physically but also mentally and emotionally. I am a much more positive and level headed person when I have had time to get some workout in. However, I thoroughly enjoy coaching and helping people achieve their goals, whether it pertains to sports or simple weight loss goals. Everyone’s goals are different and it is fun to take on the journey with someone as they learn and grow.

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?

Consistency is key, no matter what your goal is. Things don’t happen overnight but over time, and persistence will pay off. To me, a goal without a plan is a wish, so there needs to be a method to the madness that lays the structure and foundation for achieving your goals. Working out and training your body is not even half of it, the proper nutrition exponentially increases the rate one can achieve their own goals. No excuses. Get after it!

Wes Gresham (@wesgresham)

Co-owner of Omni Fight Club John’s Creek in John’s Creek, GA (@ofcjohnscreek)

Trainer at Strength and Strike Fitness in Athens, GA (@strengthandstrikefitness)

My Story

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

I’m an Engineering Tech for Toyota, but I’ve done a little of everything over the years. I’ve gone from building armor plates for military trucks to making microchips. I’ve interned in a recording studio and co-owned a record label. I also did some background acting for a year. If it’s building things and being creative, I want to do it. I love learning new things and exploring what else is out there.

Fun fact #1: I hung out with Slash from Guns ‘n Roses for Super Bowl XLIII…well, Slash, his wife, his kids and a bunch of other families.

Fun fact #2: I talked to Mos Def while I was interning at the recording studio. He said “You have any ice cream?” and I said “Yup, in the freezer”. A very deep conversation was had and lives were changed forever.

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?

What I love about fitness is that you get out what you put into it. If you stay dedicated and work hard, you’ll be rewarded for it. If you don’t want to work hard, you’ll be rewarded for that too (though you may not like the end results). You are your own sculptor. You can shape your body into anything you want it to look like. No one else can do that for you but you, and there’s a lot beauty and power in that.

There’s so much room to be creative, to be you. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder. You can do cycling, swimming, yoga, and so much more. If you like more than one, you can combine them. No one will stop you, I promise. There are virtually no limits to what you can do except for the limits you put on yourself.

I love prepping like I’m going to compete in bodybuilding, but I don’t actually compete. I just love the challenge that it brings. The discipline and focus it requires during prep really pushes you to see how badly you want it. However, I do obstacle course races. I love the adrenaline kick when I’m bursting though the obstacles and the sense of accomplishment when I cross the finish line.

I still do Bikram yoga from time to time and currently I take a boxing/cardio class for cardio because I hate running (and yet I do obstacle course races). I’ve been looking into CrossFit and powerlifting too, because it’s a new challenge. I’ll let you know how that goes.

How long have you been into fitness?

It really depends on how technical you want to be. I played basketball and wrestled in high school; but if you want to be technical, then you can say I kept the seats warm. I played around with the weights we had in the basement but I wouldn’t really call that lifting weights. I didn’t get into lifting seriously until I went to college and it’s been nonstop ever since.

How did you get into fitness?

My older brother got me into fitness. He started lifting in high school and he used to be all about Muscle and Fitness magazines. One summer, he came home from college and started taking me to the gym. I learned my basic foundation for weight training from him and I took that knowledge with me to college.

What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?

I was an overweight kid. I wasn’t obese, but I was 5’3” and 152 pounds at fifteen years old. I only remember because that was my wrestling weight. It was easy to hide my weight with oversized clothes. I think all overweight kids learned that trick.

My turning point would be when I went to college. It was a chance for me to make a change. I knew I didn’t want to be overweight anymore and if I didn’t do anything about it, then nothing was ever going to change. I would always be that overweight kid with the oversized clothes, admiring stores like Express but knowing I’d never fit their clothes. I’d work out every day and then run up to the twenty first floor where I lived.

How has fitness impacted your life?

Fitness has helped me in so many ways. It’s helped me build a lot of self-confidence and self-love. It’s helped given me the courage to be able to jump into new adventures that I used to always be afraid to try. More importantly though, it’s taught me that this is who I am; these are my strengths and my weakness, and I’m okay with all of them. I can be anything and everything I want to be.

It’s taught me that even though I’m not as tall as other people are, I can still do a lot of the same things they can…and if I can’t, I can find another way around. Because I was shorter and had to work harder, it’s taught me to be humble after I’ve reached my fitness goals; but it has also taught me to have empathy towards those who have just started their own fitness journey.

It’s taught me focus and discipline. If I want something, I’m going to have to work hard for it. I’m going to have to keep my sights on it and push myself, mentally and physically. Other people can help me, but it all comes down to me putting in the work.

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?

Keep your ego at home. Know that it’s okay to not know your way around the gym and not know what every bench or machine is for. There is no shame in that. There’s no shame in asking for help from someone. For every jackass that brushes you off for being a beginner, I promise you there are at least ten people who have no problem showing you and giving you help (but be respectful that they’re working out).

If you can afford to, find a personal trainer. Find one that you can connect to; if you can’t find one with the first try, keep trying. If you can’t afford one, stick to the basics. You don’t need to try fancy exercises, like balancing on one leg on a Bosu ball, curling with one arm and doing lateral raises with the other. Unless you want to be a gym fail Youtube star, just stick to the basics. That is your root, your foundation. From there, you can branch off to other exercises that build more specific, targeted parts of that muscle.

Final thoughts:

You can do this. I know you can. I know how badly you want it because I’ve been there too. I wanted it too. I was overweight. It made me so insecure. I hated taking pictures. There’s a big gap of no pictures of me from early grade school all the way until college. I just hated the way I looked and felt.

There was no one to blame and no one’s fault. Sometimes it just happens. I grew up in a low-income household and my parents worked all the time. Microwave food was the easiest thing for my parents to buy me and I’m can almost guarantee that’s where the weight gain came from.

I’ve tried a lot of different types of diets and diet pills when I went through trying to lose weight. Some of them worked temporarily before the weight came back. Some of them didn’t work at all. It wasn’t until I learned about calorie counting, nutrition, and being accountable for what I ate that I started to lose weight for good.

I’ve been told how lucky I am to be naturally athletic and in-shape. A lot of people haven’t seen the years and years that I struggled. The hard work I’ve put myself through. I’ve torn my left knee three times and both my rotator cuffs (none of them exercise related). I’ve never let them be the reason to give up. I’ve never let them be my excuse.

When I tell you that you can do this, I’m being honest that I truly believe in you. This blog isn’t for me, this blog is for you. It’s for you to read all the stories of every one that has come through every walk of life and started their fitness journey. They’ve all been there to some degree or other.

We’re all in this together. None of us has to climb that mountain alone. If we grasp each other’s hands and hold on tightly, we can all make it together. I’ll believe in you. You got this.

 

Kellen (@KellenFang2.0)