My Fitness Journey: Beginning to Today

 

I do not think I ever wrote a post or summarized my fitness journey on how I got to where I am today. Earlier today while pondering about my current level of fitness and interests pertaining to fitness, I quickly had a blast from the past moment on what led me to where I am today.

My fitness journey is nothing special. I am nor was ever a highly specialized or skilled athlete with any major accomplishments. I am what you might consider ‘The Other Guy’, made famous by Jerred Moon at End of Three Fitness. I recently discovered that phrase and it hit me square in the face. I have always played a random assortment of sports (football and basketball being my two main ones) my entire life and have exercised since I was a young kid. In my youth I was decent enough to play and make a slight difference, but not good enough to get noticed as an athlete, star, play-maker, etc. or what have you.

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My sports journey started off in my youth days, around 5 years old or so. I played little league soccer, basketball, football and baseball. From there I continued to work my way up to varsity level sports by the time I finished high school. My life basically revolved around sports and fitness, in some form or fashion. I began lifting weights seriously upon entering seventh grade athletics, in which we would be required to hit the weights as part of the program. If my memory serves me correctly, I did play around with weights prior to athletics when visiting friends and families houses.

The moment my love and passion for fitness, weightlifting especially, formed was during my freshman year of high school (2002/2003). It all started thanks to my father. He is the one who introduced me to real weightlifting…minus a few flaws. My memory of my father was an old school bodybuilder type, who learned how to lift in his youth in the gyms of Chicago and Houston area. FYI, my dad goes about 6’3” and 220 lbs. of muscle (or least in his prime years). Today, he is pushing 60 and his body is wearing down so he is not able to keep up the same as he did (15) years ago when he was teaching me.

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^ Old School Bodybuilding (pretty much what I grew up with learning and doing)

My weightlifting journey started in my hometown of Bellville, Tx. We only had two gyms in the town (surprisingly). We had a family membership at Optimum Fitness (local), which was conveniently located right next to my father’s business at the time. We were in there 5-6 days a week lifting weights on what would be considered an old school bodybuilding style routine. We eventually moved over to Rusty’s gym after Optimum Fitness went out of business. Rusty was an old school bodybuilder who previously competed in amateur bodybuilding. His gym had that classic bodybuilding era look and feel.

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^ Inside Rusty’s Gym in Bellville, TX

For the next four years (03-06) my dad and I (accompanied by friends over time) would train hard and heavy. My dad taught the classic bodybuilding exercises and routines that I still adhere to today from time to time. I spent my best days in the gym after school hitting the weights. In fact, there were several days of the week I would hit the weights twice. I did not try too hard at school in order to save myself for lifting with my dad. I learned so much more from him than I did from the coaches in school. There were not too many kids who were as committed as me. I hated missing days in gym, which I guess why I still hate that feeling today.

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^ Frank Zane – Mr. Aesthetic (favorite bodybuilder, other than Arnold)

My high school years is where I got my start into bodybuilding and weightlifting. It was here I learned about Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, Franco Columbu , Lou Ferrigno, Mike Mentzer, Serge Nubret, Steve Reeves, Lee Haney and several more. My passion for fitness led me to continually study anything I could get my hands on. I still continue that today by reading, listening, watching at least one thing daily regarding fitness.

After high school I went to college at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi (2006-10). I continued to hit the weights there, early and often. It took me some time to meet the right people there who shared my interests, but after doing so I had a group a friends who would regularly train together. I continued doing the bodybuilding style routines for the most part of my college career. During my there I worked for the Rec Sports department and played every intramural sport available. My passion for sports and fitness continued and led me to majoring in Kinesiology.

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^ I am certified as a C.S.C.S. strength coach (background in S&C)

The further into my academic studies I progressed the more I became enlightened towards other fitness avenues. Strength and Conditioning began to have a foothold on me at that point. I became interested in training like athletes and wanted to pursue a career in athletic training. I began to incorporate more strength and conditioning principles into my routine from this point on. It was also here I was able to interact with the strength coaches and teams and learn along side them from time to time. I also began to focus more attention to strength sports and lower body performance.

Once I graduated college I bounced around a bit before settling at Texas State University for my masters. I spend nearly a year in my hometown before moving to San Marcos (2010/2011). During that year I was back at Rusty’s gym at least 5 days a week. In that time I had the privilege to be part of a wonderful crew of friends and family that were also dedicated to lifting weights and being healthy. It was a community of brothers and sisters who motivated and pushed each other while we were there. My dad lifted at this time and was still going somewhat strong. There were a few other parents of my friends in there as well, but by now the youth of yesterday had taken over, working towards building that next line of names in the legacy.

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At Texas State, I split my time working out at the Rec Center and SMAC Fitness (2011-2013). The SMAC was a local gym in downtown San Marcos where all the locals and dedicated students would go. By far, the SMAC is my favorite gym of all time. It was the true definition of golden era bodybuilding and power-lifting gym. It became my staple after getting a job at the Sheriff’s office in town. I would be there by 5 am every morning before work. I spent most of my time there bodybuilding, with a heavy emphasis on lower body work.

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^ Inside SMAC Gym in San Marcos, TX

To note: up until this point I was never really that strong, even after all my years lifting. I was definitely stronger than most people my size, but I never focused on true strength.

Upon graduating Texas State, my now wife and I moved to Houston once she completed her degree 6 months later. I began a job at 24 Hour Fitness as the assistant fitness manager. I lasted only 6 months there because it was not my cup of tea. I did train there though during my time and for the next 6 months as well, mostly bodybuilding style routines 2013-2014).

Once I moved into my current place of domicile, I began working out at the Rec Center of which I am in charge of at work (community college). About the beginning of 2015 was when my new level of knowledge, interests and training philosophies began to take off. Due to social media and the wealth of information online, I was able to explore the multitudes of fitness avenues out there today. I came across a guy online by the name of Cory Gregory. He had a program called Squat Every Day. From there I followed and researched everything by him and others that he mentioned. It was then that I became enlightened about my modern day approach to fitness, albeit later that year I was enlightened once more.

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My approach changed slightly at that point, moving from a bodybuilding style only routine to a strength based routine on a bodybuilding split. Basically, I wanted to get stronger. I have since been introduced to the likes of Westside Barbell and Louie Simmons. I began squatting everyday for a while then and have since done so on and off again for the past two years. I made significant gains in strength by changing my approach to this power/strength bodybuilding routines. Later in 2015, I truly discovered CrossFit, thanks to my brother in law who owns and operated a CrossFit box.

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^ CrossFit – what it looks like to many, but I forge it into a combination of all training methods I speak of (picture putting all the images on here together)

2015 was actually a big year for me, fitness wise. I discovered so much content and areas of fitness I had previously been blind to. I have encompassed all those areas of fitness into my current philosophy and training mentality today. Another big discovery I made was the ability to train at home. Garage gym training hit the spot for me. P.S. I forgot to mention I had a gym membership at Gold’s gym from about early 2015 to summer 2016. Once I discovered garage gym training, the rest is history.

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^ Not my garage gym but what I aspire it to look like

Ok! I will tell you about the history that led me up to present day. After changing up my routine to incorporate a mixture of bodybuilding, power-lifting, Olympic lifting and CrossFit, I found it challenging to make those exercises and routines a fixture into my daily regime at your big box gyms and the local Rec. We also could not afford a family membership at the local CrossFit box and Gold’s gym either, so I decided to start my own home gym.

The garage gym all started with a dream and a squat stand. I wanted to have the freedom to do whatever I wanted in the gym. I bought a used barbell, weights and a Wieder pro squat rack/ pulley system. It was in the fall of 2015 my project began. I think I bought, sold and traded equipment for the next year before making a big enough splash to have a decent amount of equipment to quit going to Gold’s gym. Little by little I have continued to upgrade and add onto the garage gym. While my wife and I are still figuring out our future and not settled in to our current location permanently, my garage gym will continue to be a work in progress.

Back to the training side before I make it to present day fitness journey, I spend the bulk of 2016 incorporating the different style of training mentioned above and learning about them as much as possible. I dived deep into CrossFit and have since been learning from the likes of Coach Mike Burgener, Barbell Shrugged, Kelly Starrett for mobility, Coach Travis Mash and many, many others in the sports of CrossFit, power-lifting and strength and conditioning.

^ Footage of current training modalities

My current training for 2017 are focused on becoming stronger and better conditioned. I truly am on a quest to be the best human being I can be physically in terms of ”the other guy”. I have evolved my fitness to include all aspects of it, including, but not limited to nutrition, strength, mobility, movement, mental, CrossFit, etc….

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^ Multiple methods of training these days (better human being)

The foundation of my fitness journey has its roots in classic bodybuilding. Today, I do not follow that same style of training as often. My love for it will never cease to exist, because as Arnold used to say, ”its all about that PUMP.” My focus these days is constantly improving myself and trying to be the best all around human being I can be. I want to be physically conditioned and trained to handle any type of situation. While I may never have the desire to compete, my goal would be able to compete in any area of fitness on the same day if possible. Not many people I presume would be able to say or do that. That is how I look at my current state of fitness and training mentality. I want to be ready and able to do just about anything. If disaster or emergencies strike, I want my training to reflect what it would take to conquer the challenge.

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^ My garage gym w/ my pup Malakai and training partner Ryan (funny I am never in my pictures b/c I am taking them)

This is my fitness journey up to date. There is a chance I may have missed something, so ask questions and I may remember something else or just be happy to help and respond to anything.

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