Most of you know me because I’m a trainer at RippedPHL. The photo of me on the left was taken last year in May 2017 during my senior year of college. I had just finished my soccer career at Ithaca as a center midfielder and in retrospect, I would say that I was “fit” – a VERY relative word that means something different to everyone. I could run forever and I could even do 10 pull ups in a row. During soccer season, I lifted twice a week with my team on top of two hour daily practices and once the fall season was over, I worked out 4-5 times a week (lifting and running). My lifestyle as a 21 year old college athlete was probably exactly how you can imagine: school, soccer, parties, pizza, alcohol, so. much. fun.
But for some reason this lifestyle didn’t match up with what I envisioned for myself. It wasn’t allowing me to progress in anyway. To be honest, I hated how I looked, I hated always being hungover, bloated and sluggish, and I was sick and tired of putting in hours and hours of running and working out to see no progress towards what I wanted to look and feel like.
Fitness and nutrition has always been my passion and I knew I wanted to have my career in this field since I was a teenager. However, it wasn’t until this past year that I could fully dive in and submerge myself into this world. One week after college graduation (literally 6 days after) I packed my car and moved myself to Philly to work at RippedPHL and coach youth soccer. As a new trainer at Ripped I wanted to be a role model, I wanted to be confident in what I was telling people to do and most importantly, I wanted people to trust me. The only way I knew I could do this was to change myself first.
I spent the first 6 months here learning everything I possibly could from the people around me. I started applying what I learned in school in every way possible. On top of taking classes at Ripped multiple times a week, I tried workouts on my own. Progress slowly started showing. Then I wrote out my own nutrition plan and I forced myself to follow it for a whole month. I hit my macros religiously but none of these things came easy. I thought my preseason tests for college soccer were hard until I tried option 3 on the treadmill one day at Ripped. All I remember is repeatedly telling myself ”finish or fall off the treadmill trying”. When I lifted I would always make myself do one more rep than planned no matter how bad I wanted to stop early. When I started my nutrition plan I gave myself no excuses to fail. I meal prepped and brought food everywhere I went. I was confident in myself to know what to do but implementing these things on a daily basis was something foreign to me.
Slowly came the progress. I started to feel a change in the way my clothes fit, I started having enough energy to push myself faster and faster on the treadmill and I could lift heavier than I ever had before. This is when I knew I was in control of myself and now all I want to do is show those around me that they too are in control.
It’s funny because this new lifestyle is very similar to my old one. I still go out – all the time. I still drink alcohol and I still eat pizza. I know what you’re thinking – how. The answer – my workouts are now effective because of the way I taught myself to be in control. Instead of having endless sugary drinks, my new go to drink is a vodka soda. I stopped binging pizza at 2am after a night out. I now ALWAYS lift heavy and I never miss a workout. I know what I should be eating to fuel my workouts and I when I need a day off working out, I take a day, or three, off.
I’m almost 23 now and I can’t believe how much change has occurred in this past year. I work at Ripped 6 days a week teaching classes, training clients, taking body measurements and writing endless meal plans specific to each individual client. I love the challenge fitness gives me and the people around me. Fitness means something different to everyone. For me its a game that I never want to lose.
However the same still remains – I choose to push myself every time I walk into the gym. When I run on the treadmill I still repeatedly tell myself “finish or fall off trying” and when I lift I always do one more rep than planned. Everyday I tell myself this journey is just beginning and I’m here to tell you so is yours. Each day we all are given the same 24 hours. Each day is a new journey. Don’t overlook these next 24 hours, progress can be made but results take time. Whatever your goals are, you can achieve them. But you must be patient, you must work hard and you must be willing to push yourself when it gets tough.