I don’t have a typical success story. I don’t have a weight loss story, what I have though is a success story of muscle gain and fitness. All of my life since I was a child, I have been underweight, and super skinny. I did everything I could to gain weight growing up, but my body has always been skin and bones. This is nothing to be envious of, because trust me I did not want to be underweight. I wanted people to see me as strong and healthy rather than skinny and fragile.
My fitness journey began back in 2014 when I was dating my now wife, Chelsey. We had been dating a few months and I had toyed around with the idea of starting to work out since all of my friends and people around me were much stronger and more muscular than I was and it had always been a dream of mine. I had tried working out before then at globo gyms or at my school’s gym but would always get frustrated and have no idea what to do and would quit soon after. For my 24th birthday, Chelsey’s parents got me a groupon to this new gym they had started going to so that Chelsey and I could try it out. I won’t lie, at first I felt obligated to go since they were my girlfriends parents and I told myself I will give it a month to see if it’s worth it. After meeting Mitchel and going through the first few days of workouts, I felt like I was going to die! I had never been in so much pain and I didn’t think I would make it. But I promised myself I would make it a whole month. Slowly but surely I was less sore and actually started to enjoy the feeling when I went to the box. I knew if I kept with it, and didn’t stop and start over and over that I wouldn’t get that first week pain anymore!
One of the main reasons I enjoyed going back was the atmosphere that Mitchel created at Strongside. Everyone there was so welcoming and would come up and talk to you and treat you as if you were family and cheer you on with every rep. I never experienced that at a globo gym with everyone sizing each other up and silently judging each other with headphones in. It was a great feeling to be part of an uplifting fitness community!
Now when I started, I never considered myself to be an “athlete” or even fit for that matter. I started out weighing 150 pounds at 6 feet tall with no experience and getting tired after 1 set of an empty barbell drill. However, over time, thanks to amazing coaching by Mitchel and determination I started to get the hang of it and realized I wasn’t half bad at this fitness thing! The box was having this combine to see who would make their competition team this year. When I heard about it, I thought there’s no way I would make it and I didn’t want to waste my time. However, Mitchel said i should try out and there’s no harm in competing and giving it your all, so I decided to give it a shot. That year I made it as an alternate onto the competition team and I was ecstatic! I had never made it on an athletic team where there were tryouts before, the feeling was amazing. From that point on I decided to give it my all and compete harder and train harder to make it as a full member of the team the next year. The team met on Saturdays to do harder workouts than the normal workouts, and they were grueling. They pushed me harder than I have ever pushed before both mentally and physically. If it wasn’t for my teammates pushing me and encouraging me, I wouldn’t have made it as far as I have.
Fast forward to today and I am now starting my 3rd year on the team and getting stronger every day. I now have the highest Olympic lifts (Snatch and Clean & Jerk) in the box, I can do highly skilled movements like muscle ups and double unders and hand stand pushups, and can hold my own on most of the workouts with the rest of the team. I train during the week with my teammates doing specialized competitor workouts that push us daily.
The last 2 years have been truly life changing for me. I have gained 30 pounds of muscle and feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life and strive to get better every day. I enjoy going to the box every day and enjoy the fact that I get to celebrate not only my successes but everyone who walks through that door with such an inspiring community at Strongside.