My story : A case study of finding passion and purpose
Welcome to the story of how RT found his passion for fitness and health and how it matured over years of being in the fitness industry.
In order to get to know me better as well as understand why I’m even doing this fitness thing, I need to go back to the start of what triggered me to pursue this as a career.
Everyone has their story...you have a story on how you got to where you are or what has motivated you to get into the line of work, the relationships, and life that you have and are striving for in the future.
Today I open up to give you an inside look into why I care so deeply about fitness and health, what keeps me motivated to help others, and how I choose to live a life that aligns with my deep purpose.
Story time: How my passion for fitness bloomed
Some of you may know that I am a longtime athlete who has been playing sports since the age of around 6 or so (whenever tee-ball started!)
Being physically active throughout childhood both in sports and in play has shaped me into the person I am. I still remember the feelings of strapping up my equipment for football and wanting to run and “juke” any defenders in my way.
I remember times riding my bike all around town, meeting up with friends, playing manhunt, and generally just being on the move from as young as probably 9 or 10 until I started driving at 18. (Yeah I was a little late bloomer on this one!)
Being physically active was my normal and at the time, I didn’t realize that this would one day grow into my passion.
Fast forward a few years…(to age 25)
In my early twenties I found myself in the dreaded “real world”, working 40 hour weeks first in Manhattan, then at a group home both as a direct care staff worker and then case worker.
During this time of my life I started to feel like my body wasn’t the same as it was in high school and college. I worked out less, ate less than optimal food and would routinely go out once or twice on the weekend with friends.
Pretty normal for an early twenty something, but something about all of this didn’t feel right for me.
The moment when everything changed…
I was about 24 years old working as a case worker and attending a conference on Long island when I got the call.
My mom told me to give her a call as soon as I could, and I did just that while driving back to work from the conference.
My mind wandered with concern..my mom never has this urgency for me to call her, she would routinely downplay things so when I saw that she was concerned about something...I knew something wasn’t right.
When I called her she told me that my dad had been feeling lightheaded, dizzy, and was headed to the hospital.
I remember letting my bosses know that I had an emergency to attend to and I remember being very scattered in my thinking - I was worried, scared and unsure of what was going on.
Now for those who don’t know - my dad had a heart attack when I was only about 11 years old. He is an extremely hard worker who has given me and my siblings a very comfortable life at the expense of his own health. He would work 6 days a week over 50 hours on his main job and then have side jobs he would do as well.
So here I am at 24 years old learning that my dad is in the hospital again for what sounded like heart attack symptoms.
When we got to the hospital, we were told by the doctor that he would need bypass surgery. I still remember seeing him laying there, my role model, someone who never got scared and always protected me...looking scared that his life was seriously in danger.
I knew that I had to be strong for my parents but felt extreme sadness, grief, and anger that this was happening.
I thought to myself - there must be a better way. I need my dad in my life, I’m only just learning how to live like an adult.
Life changing surgery
Promptly after finding out all of this news, doctors were acting on this and began prepping for surgery.
I remember being angry at my dad for letting this happen - I thought to myself...doesn't he know that he NEEDs to take care of himself better?
Regardless of what I felt - the surgery took place and thankfully everything worked out. One quadruple bypass later and he was home being told to take things slow, work slowly on getting his heart pumping healthily.
I was of course relieved that he was home but the pain and fear of what had happened would not go away.
It made me take a look at myself and what I am doing in my life. What is most important in life? I soon answered that and understood that health is the most important thing in life. Without health, you don’t have life...or at least not the life that I would want for me and for those loved ones around me.
This all made me think back to my sports/physical background...how I’ve always been lucky enough to be healthy and to take care of my body...to feel strong.
I didn’t want my dad to suffer from things that could be avoided or at least improved, I didn’t want anyone to fall down that path.
It took me about a year after that to figure out what I wanted in life. I wanted to help my dad improve his life. Yet I had no idea how to do that.
I decided that learning about the body, how it can improve, how people can make a change for the better and how that can drastically improve quality of life.
Falling into my passion
Coming off the heels of my dad’s surgery and my new perspective, I was motivated to help others (and ultimately my dad) gain their health back.
I’ve always been a person who cared about others deeply. Working at a group home really shaped how I saw the world - knowing that everyone has struggles that are not so clear on the outside.
I wanted to be the guiding force to help bridge the gap of unhealthy, to healthy.
When I first became a personal trainer I immediately felt connected to the cause. I loved working with people, meeting new people and finding out what they really want in their life. It gave me such satisfaction to see someone show confidence in themselves after a few weeks of lifting and working out with me.
There’s something special when someone you are working with has that “ah-ha” moment and realizes that they have much more control over how they feel than previously thought.
Over my 5 years of personal training, I’ve seen many of those “ah-ha” moments that have filled me with so much joy and compassion:
Hearing that someone can now move more comfortably,
Improved prior injuries,
Have more confidence when in a bathing suit,
Feels stronger than they ever have,
Clients pursuing new job opportunities because they feel so good about themselves in part to our training together.
This stuff is deep and meaningful to me on so many different levels. This is where passion and emotion intertwine and grow into something far greater than I could have imagined when I first began personal training.
Looking up ahead to the future
Here I am now - a seasoned veteran in helping people change their bodies for the better, 100’s of people I’ve reached and have impacted in some way and yet I still don’t feel like I’ve hit my stride.
I think the biggest thing with this is that as I grow and learn more about fitness and nutrition, so does my desire to help those who want to find and transform their life for the better. I am more confident in my craft and feel like I’ve only just started!
This is a big reason why Brittany and I started Forever Fit Method. To bridge the gap of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual into one cohesive model.
Brittany I’m sure will tell her story soon enough - but I know for me the passion for change and transforming the health of others continues to get stronger, get more directed, and to become more effective!
Where’s this leave you?
I hope that by opening up a bit on here about my story of what motivated me to get into fitness sparks something inside of you.
If that’s going after that dream you previously thought you couldn’t, if it’s about digging deeper inside the self to finally see what drives you to be better...anything that allows you to reflect on where you are now and how you got here is something that I can only hope will happen after reading my story.
My advice to you : look for those things in life that lift you up, those things that are deeply meaningful to you and then push yourself to challenge old norms.