Fitness to me is much more than a hobby or pastime. Throughout the years my fitness journey has been my purpose. Each day we are all faced with obstacles, some are merely tiny bumps in the road and others can be mountainous monstrosities that seem like insurmountable feats to overcome. Through it all, my escape has always been my fitness routine. Counting macros, program planning, and of course intense training became my mantra and meditation in order to destress, regroup, and beat the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Life is complicated and constantly changing but fitness is my constant in a world filled with variables… so I latched on; I planted my anchor and never looked back.
I have been forced to face an abundance of dark times throughout my life. First, was the passing of my father at the age of 5 which changed my interpretation of the world from the very start. I went through my youth feeling like an outsider, trying my best to fit in with my peers. I succeeded in fooling the outside world but my closest friends and family saw the truth. I was 100 pounds overweight and I didn’t take my own well-being seriously in any capacity. I was trapped in a vicious cycle of self hatred due to my inability to take control of my life. There was no denying that I was in a downward spiral and my health was declining. At 15, I topped the scales at 258 pounds. I was diagnosed pre-diabetic with a fatty liver and I couldn’t keep up with the other players on my baseball team anymore. It all finally came to a head when I was cut from a baseball tryout simply because I couldn’t perform anymore. I was ashamed and embarrassed and knew I was in dire need of a drastic change.
Fast forward 3 months and I was down over 100 pounds. After my baseball tryout let down I went on an extreme diet. I ate only proteins and greens and drank only water, making sure that I ran at least 5 miles a day. I had almost no rhyme or reason to my program except that I knew I needed to burn more calories than I took in. I succeeded in “losing weight” but even at 155 pounds my body-fat was still high and I lost all of my muscle at the same rate as my fat, leading to what we call in the training business being “skinny fat.” That was me, and I hated it. I began my weightlifting program to try to build some muscle but I failed due to a lack of nutritional knowledge. This was frustrating… here I was putting in hours of work to see very little results. I was spinning my wheels for the next few years making minimal progress. I needed a new plan of attack. Back to the drawing board!
It took me many years to gain a good understanding of nutrition. At around my 3 year mark of weightlifting, I finally developed enough knowledge of macro tracking to start changing my body. Around the age of 19 I was finally making “gains” in the gym. I was eating and training like it was my job and in many ways it was, being a newly certified personal trainer. I was cruising along getting stronger and more muscular and then suddenly life threw a huge curveball at me. My closest friend Rob, had suddenly passed away due to trauma from a motorcycle accident. My world was upside down and I was devastated. I had lost my best friend, my fitness partner, and my mentor who I admired and respected. He was a few years older than me and was incredibly influential as I took his constructive criticism about my fitness and personal life to heart, making many drastic changes due to his teachings. I could have easily given up as I had fallen into the deepest abyss imaginable. I was lost in a perpetual standstill and felt hopeless. The free fall began and where did I end up?…In the gym of course! I fell flat on my face but my foundation was fitness.
I went through my 20s keeping the same mindset, no matter what I went to the gym, no matter what I ate my meals, no matter what I would stay consistent and disciplined to reach my goals. Well, needless to say life hit me with other unfortunate events just like anyone else but I never faltered. Fitness was always there for me, something that I could hold onto and make tangible physical changes on a regular basis. I am now 29 years old, in perfect health per my last checkup and blood-work that I get done every 6 months. I am currently running two fitness oriented businesses that I make my living off of and honestly have never been in a happier place emotionally. I owe my stability and my growth as a person to my fitness endeavors. I only wish everyone could have a passion like I have found to help them live and thrive throughout their lives.
Motivation comes and goes throughout the journey of reaching any goal. When the motivation fades, discipline will keep you on track, allowing you to progress or at the very least help you maintain what you have already achieved. Life has indeed hit me hard many times. I have lost loved ones, dealt with bad breakups, lost jobs, and had severe bouts with anxiety and depression because of it all. Life, if we are lucky, at best is a long lasting game of “try to adjust.” That is why it is important to find what you are passionate about and make it your constant, your happiness. Fitness is my foundation and my fitness journey has kept me going through good times and bad. With all the chaos that life throws at us all why not make yourself a priority and put your health on top of the list of things you can control? After all we get one chance at this life, and I’d love nothing more than for everyone to take back their health and live a long and fruitful fit-life.
Written by Chris Eugenio
Personal Trainer, Unique Performance
Owner, My Way Labs