What started as a fun hobby turned into a life-saving form of therapy…
In every training session I focused on letting it all out through the physical outlet of the bodyweight movements. I yelled, I laughed, I cried, but most importantly, I left stronger than I came in. I haven’t always felt this strong, just as I’m sure many of you have yet to realize your own strength. What I didn't expect was to revolutionize my life through fitness. I’ve gained 20-30 pounds of solid muscle since my fitness journey but the most dramatic change came in the form of my confidence and drive. Working out became my chance to shut out the world and concentrate on how strong I could be. I would push my limits in those workouts and leave feeling accomplished and powerful, which would translate to my life outside of the gym.
I had finally found effective channels to let out all that negative energy through my workouts and the therapy work I had started, and I began feeling strong for the first time in my life. After years of growing stronger inside and out, I became empowered by every problem I faced. Each problem gave me a chance to challenge my strength and ability to overcome barriers.
I felt so strongly about how fitness had changed my life that I wanted to share it with others, and help them change their lives, too. I became a certified personal trainer and started my company Evolve Nation to empower people to take charge of their lives through fitness and positive action.
Sure, there were days that I felt less driven. There still are. The difference is that I now know how to cope, and I never ever lose sight of this truth: Hope is real.
I grew up thinking I was alone in my pain, that something was wrong with me. I grew up thinking I couldn't talk about these feelings, which only made them worse. If I had only been told that the way I felt wasn't wrong, and that hope to overcome is real, I think a lot of pain and struggle could have been saved.
If you're reading all this, thinking there's no way you could create such dramatic change, I'd like to prove you wrong. Here are the most basic steps to start strengthening your life from the inside out:
- Face it. The first step to creating any kind of change is requiring yourself to face what needs changing. I find that the most helpful way to do this is to start journaling. Try simply writing anything that comes to mind when you ask yourself, "What am I struggling with and why?" Keep asking "Why?" until you get deep and hit the heart of the issue. This is what needs to be dealt with.
- Deal with it. When you've gotten to the core issue, start mapping out actions you can take to start dealing. Write down anything that comes to mind and put a star next to the actions that excite you the most.
- ACT!The most important part of this equation is the actual DOING. You can journal and map all you want, but it won't do you much good unless you make it happen. I know it's scary. I know it might be hard at times, but you can't keep waiting to start your life. You can't keep hoping someone will do it for you. This is where you take the reins in your life and steer it in the direction you want to go, rather than going with the flow.
- Let it out. While taking new, scary, life-changing actions, you might encounter quite a bit of stress. You'll need an outlet for it all so you don't create an overload of anxiety. I find that one of the best ways to release what doesn't serve you is during physical activity. And I don’t mean lifting heavy or undergoing a crazy intense workout. It doesn't have to be. It can be as simple and easy as you want it.