Sunday, October 3, 2010
Ok, here we go! Welcome to the very first post on this blog. As the name implies...I am an average Joe just like you and I want to help you realize that you can achieve amazing things with hard work and mental determination. I am a walking example of this theory and if I can do it...anybody can! Let me tell you how I got to this point,this story starts out a very long time ago, when I was in high school, thats when I was first introduced to the world of Lacrosse and I absolutely fell in love with it! I embraced both the physical as well as mental aspects of the game and I thrived on the competition and camaraderie that it created. I played through out high school and into my early adulthood and I was fortunate enough to play with some of the best athletes in the game (a bunch went on to play for the Buffalo Bandits as well as other teams in the NLL) and learn from those amazing athletes. I was training hard and working towards a "walk on try out" for a few pro teams when in a pick up game in Irving, NY, I was injured which resulted in me breaking my last two vertebrae & pushing my spine off of my tail bone. This immediately ended all of my hopes of playing pro as well as ending my playing Lacrosse all together. I went through years of "self-therapy" and I battled depression all along the way, unfortunately I set myself up to lose those critical battles because I was doing it alone. Fast forward to early 2010, I was F'ing miserable!! I had fell into a sedentary lifestyle...my diet was horrible and my back pain had progressively gotten to the point that my right leg would go painfully numb all the time regardless if I was standing or sitting or laying down and I had slowly turned into a very very unhappy person. My back pain was so bad that I sometimes couldn't feel how hard or soft I was pressing on the gas or brake pedal (not good). So I threw my hands in the air and said ok, I guess back surgery is my only option and regardless of the horror stories I have heard, this pain is worse, so bring it on. The pain effected every aspect of my life... my physical, mental and even spiritual personalities suffered greatly and I was at the lowest point in my life. My doctor sent me to a physical therapist and she helped me get some of my mobility back and helped reduce the pain to a "manage-able" state. What I didn't expect though was that while she was helping me physically, she helped awaken the competitive athlete inside as well. At this point in a few short months I was getting ready to marry my best friend and I was discussing this with a good friend of mine, saying the usual things, like how I would like to lose a little weight before my wedding because we were doing a destination wedding and I didnt want to be the fat sweaty guy on the beach with his shirt on all of the time. He suggested that I check out Crossfit, and explained that he and other guys in his unit were doing this to prepare for future deployments. My friend is a great guy that has acheieved more than most in a short amount of time. He is a United States Marine and is attached to a speacial combat unit....simply put these guys eat adversity and pain for a quick snack while they are off saving the world and protecting us, so I took his advice very seriously. I contacted the local Crossfit gym the next day, and talked to the owner, David Rice, explaining my short term goals. Dave was great, we started with 1 on 1 training 2 times a week, he taught me the basic movements and the proper form and he introduced me to the term "WOD" or Work out Of the Day. I thought he was trying to kill me, seriously! I have never been through a tougher routine and whats more, they always changing!! I couldn't seem to "get used" to this style of workout & that coupled with the names of some of these workouts being named after women (like hurricanes), my male ego took a beating along with my body and mind. Dave kept encouraging me to get into "class" with the other cross-fitters but truth be told I was scared. I didn't want to let myself down and I didn't want to let him down either. Ever since I hurt my back there have been hundreds of times where something got too tough for me to take and I quit before I really tried. Then Im not so sure what happened, but one day I woke up and realized that my back pain was hardly there and my leg wasn't numb and even though I wanted to die after the WOD's, I didn't die...I felt stronger than I had in a really long time. So I jumped in to a class and BANG, I was hooked. That competition and camaraderie that I thrived on years ago was back with a vengeance and this time I wasn't going to take it for granted! I couldn't get over how good it felt to hear and see your peers cheering you on and encouraging you every step of the way. We all stood shoulder to shoulder, young and old and all levels of fitness, we stood as a team and nothing was impossible to me anymore. Since then I go to class 5-6 days a week, and I have made huge strides! I have changed my diet for the better, I do a Paleo-Zone style of nutrition (I will explain this in future blogs) and that coupled with crossfit has helped me achieve amazing results! I started this journey 6 months ago as a guy who was over weight and unhappy as well as constantly in pain, and now I am in the best shape in years, I am a happy person again and best of all I am absolutely pain free! I have lost approximately 30 plus pounds to date and I am well on my way to my target goal, my strength and conditioning improves every day, and every day I am reminded how important it is to believe in yourself and not to quit...and always keep going. I know I sound like a fanatic, but to be where Ive been and to come through this to this point I have learned that anything you come up against, you can accomplish...it's all "between the ears". So as I move forward on my journey, I invite you to come along and experience this with me. I am sorry this blog has been so long, but it is critically important for me to explain just how I got here, because if I can do it...so can you. So till next time...be strong and have fun!!