As a kid, I was always on the athletic side. I played all sorts of sports, baseball, football, hockey and basketball to name a few. I did all day rides on my road racing bike. Like most kids I dreamed of becoming a professional athlete.
After graduating high school, I entered the United States Navy. I quickly learned how being fit was a great way to deal with the stress of military life, unfortunately I also learned another way to deal with stress- smoking. This no doubt hindered my fitness greatly. So I started slacking on my activities, which had grown to include strength training. I started to find other outlets, including alcohol. Now while I would never consider myself an alcoholic, I did my fare share of drinking with my Navy buddies.
When I was discharged from the service I started to get back to some of my more active roots by joining a men’s roller hockey league. While I enjoyed it very much, I found that my smoking habit was making my time playing quite a bit more difficult. Although, not nearly enough to make me quit. So not too long after getting involved in something that I really enjoyed earlier in life, I ended up quitting.
This was when my battle with depression really took hold. I never realized it as a teenager, but I was battling this condition since I was around 16 years old. What I also didn’t know was that my involvement in sports, coupled with my high level of fitness was a great way to beat my symptoms. As I got older and my activity level dropped, or more to the point stopped completely, my symptoms got worse.
This triggered another issue, over eating. Now when I was younger it never mattered what I ate since I was so active, it just got burned off and I never had to worry about it. As I got older I continued to eat the way I always had, but since I had become pretty much sedentary, I really started to pack on the pounds. Ultimately leading to my heaviest weight of 265 pounds.
This is where I hit rock bottom. My depression had completely taken hold of me. On the outside it seemed I had it all. A good job, beautiful wife who really cared about me, 3 great kids who adored me but it wasn’t enough. I slipped further and further away from my family and I had learned a new coping mechanism- FOOD. I had stopped exercising, was no longer an active person and had become thoroughly disgusted by what I saw in the mirror. You’d think that being unhappy with my appearance and fitness level would have spurred me to do something, but my depression had pretty much taken over and it just threw me into a very dark place. I had become insecure, withdrawn and bitter. It had become a problem not just for me, but for my family as well since they watched me every day and tried to help but I wouldn’t respond to their efforts.
After years of pleading from my wife, in 2008 I finally agreed to start going to counseling. It was fairly easy for my doctor to assess my situation and quickly put me on anti-depressants. This coupled with my sessions started to pull me out of my fog and things got a little better. Unfortunately my negative self image lingered due to my weight and overall fitness level. I was still over eating(unknowingly) and on top of that it was all of the wrong foods. This lead to the next big blow. In October in 2009, after a routine physical I was given some shocking news.
My physical health had gotten just as bad as my mental health. My cholesterol levels were almost to 300, I had high blood pressure, my resting heart rate was 93 and the kicker, I was 1 point away from Type 2 diabetes! My Doctor gave me an ultimatum, either take charge of my health and start eating right and exercising again, or he would be forced to take charge of my health for me. After a long talk with him, we agreed that I would come back in 6 months and have all my blood work redone, and if it hadn’t improved, he would be putting me a list of medications to deal with my health issues.
I came home from the doctor almost in tears. After spending a year trying to get my depression under control, now I had a whole new set of things to deal with. I had 3 great kids, all under the age of 12, and a wife to think about. Did I want to end up dying young and leaving my children fatherless and my wife a widow? I was 36 years old and WAY to young to be having these problems. so after talking to my wife we decided to take things into our own hands and after the holidays we were going to make a change. We were going to start exercising, eating healthier and being more mindful of the example we were setting for our children.
So in January we started working out. No real plan, just using the treadmill for something other than a coat rack, and started eating better. We had decent results and in February we started P90X. As a former athlete and veteran I knew I had the determination to finish it, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. That first week was brutal. By the first rest day, I could barely walk, but I wasn’t going to quit. I had not only my future to think about, but my family’s as well. So I stuck with it, everyday for the first 90 days. My wife stuck with it too. She was there everyday along side me. We struggled, but it brought us together. Gave us another bond outside of our family and marriage. We pushed each other, encouraged one another and gave the other a swift kick in the pants when the situation required it.
Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! So 6 months after that first doctor visit I went back. I had lost some weight and feeling pretty good about how things had changed, but I was still a little uneasy to hear my new blood work results. That’s when I got wind that not only had I improved my health, but all my issues that had started me to get back in shape were GONE! My cholesterol went from almost 300 to 200, my high blood pressure was gone, my resting heart rate was down to 63 and the best news of all that my doctor gave me, my risk for Type 2 Diabetes was gone.
This gave me a new confidence and I decided to push harder with my workouts. By the time I finished my second round of P90X I had drastically changed not only my body, but my mind as well. After battling depression for over 20 years, I was able to get off my anti-depressants and have not had a need for them in almost a year and a half! I’ve since gone on to finish a round of Insanity, a round of RevAbs and a combo of P90X and RevAbs that I created myself.
Beachbody programs not only changed my body, they changed my physical AND mental health. If you’re looking for a change, I’d love to help you on your journey. These products have done so much for me, it’s only right that I now pay it forward and help as many people as I can.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to getting to know YOU better. Let’s Do This Together!