I am the youngest of 7 children, now 6, but I'll get back to that. Because my parents had me at such a late age, I was an unhealthy child from the start. Undersized, underweight, ulcers, arthritis, scoliosis, acid reflux, gastro intestinal reflux, irritable bowels, deviated septum, migraines, cholesterol, anxiety, and the list goes on...
And forget about my parents playing with me outside, throwing the ball, teaching me sports, that was out of the question. It was the other way around, I had to help them because of their advanced age. I had to do everything on my own, and when we moved to the US, that also meant handling everything for my parents who didn't speak English. Tough for a 2nd grader.
I was bullied like many children, and so I got into the martial arts and then in school, I began to wrestle. Only after of course being cleared by my doctors to do so. The reason I loved to wrestle and train martial arts was because they weren't a team sport. It was one on one, and it was physical. Something I was never good at. That didn't matter, what did matter was that my life, my destiny, was in my actual hands and not in the hands of genetics, the doctors, or any bullies. If I didn't do well, I couldn't blame anyone else except my own mind and body.
I was weak, I was slow, but no one could question my heart and desire. No matter how much success or material things you have in life, there is a reason inspirational books or movies like Rocky or Miracle attract us. It's a reason why a billionaire will admire an athlete or survivor or hero even though he or she has everything. Because though that billionaire has proven a lot of things, they still have not proven their heart and desire, its still a question mark for them...maybe that's why some of them become adventurers...
I want to share that feeling with my clients...that I know I can't be broken. The other person just doesn't know it yet.
Even though I was training in fitness and martial arts consistently, I had a corporate job for years. I was very well paid. Then one day I got up from my desk and realized that this wasn't the life for me. I didn't want to be sitting at a desk my whole life. Sure I had money and I went out and bought things. For some reason that day though, I came to a life changing decision. I could have a life of entertainment, or I could find liberation in life. I wanted liberation. I didn't know how. I just needed more answers. I quit Dec 31.
So I got in my car, packed some clothes and traveled around the country for months and months with no destination or goal. I did however train at some of the best training facilities in the country. Facilities and trainers I had always known about and had always wanted to train with. So I did. Then after a while of traveling, some of them asked me to train and teach students.
When I felt too homesick, I came back to LA. And kept training and kept teaching...
That trip was not the biggest thing that defined me as a trainer, but it did help me deal with what eventually made me the top trainer in LA.
Not long after being back home, one of my sisters got diagnosed with cancer. She passed away quickly and I felt so powerless and though I thought I knew a lot, I realized I was very uninformed and so were most people, including doctors. I did however realize that gaining that sense of control over my mind during that trip helped me comfort my family. Because I wasn't the youngest of 7 anymore, I was the youngest now of 6. I had to redefine my role in my family and try to hold them together.
Next my father who is in his late 80s got diagnosed with cancer. This time I was more prepared and came up with a plan and got my whole family involved. This is real life though, and he's not cured by any means and at that age, death is more of a question of when. It's more about quality of life, and keeping everyone mentally viable.
Those tragedies are what truly define me as a trainer. The BEST personal trainer. Whatever you've got, whatever you've been through, not taking care of your physical and mental health will only make things worse.
All my decisions are split into two choices. Bad to neutral, and neutral to good. Meaning if I do something, at the very worst, it will do nothing, at the very best it will do something great. Or the other side, it will most likely be bad, at the very best nothing will happen. Just because nothing is a possible outcome of either choice doesn't mean it's the SAME CHOICE. Especially when you are acting on your health...
I've been fortunate enough to train with some of the best athletes in the world over the years. Professional fighters and champions, Olympians, top strength and conditioning coaches, performances coaches, college coaches, specialists in yoga, sports therapy, sports psychology, and beyond.
This gave me the road map to differentiate myself from other trainers who just look good, self taught themselves how to work out, then got a basic certification. My training and education is at the level of training world class athletes, but my niche is using that background to train the average person.
When I came back to LA and began personal training. I realized that most personal trainers...don't know anything. Especially science or how real athletes train or how to design a proper training program. I saw a need and decided to train regular people, instead of athletes. Why should only our athletes get in such good shape whereas the rest of the population was suffering? Why was all the information that our athletes have not trickling down to the regular guy or girl? Why was I seeing celebrity trainers on TV, on the radio, and in the best sellers list when the trainers of our own best athletes were keeping all the real information to themselves? It was elitist in my opinion. They say the rich keep getting richer, well the best in the world keep getting better and the rest of us were getting sicker and fatter.
I love an underdog story. It's why I love what I do and I am my clients biggest fan, and I constantly root for them. It's why I personal train.
Through my own health problems, the psychology I learned through sports and martial arts, and what I've learned through personal tragedy is that:
- No limitations can define your heart and desire.
- That an indomitable mind and spirit should be a part of any fitness goal.
- That to be truly superhuman, it's not about how good you look, or how strong you can get. It's about how you never get hurt or sick. There's plenty of people who look good and can lift heavy things. How many people can say they never get hurt or sick? Let's be superhuman then.
I know where my optimum weight is for athletic performance. I haven't solved all my own health problems. In fact I've given myself more injuries from years of sparring, fighting, and adventuring. But I know a lot about the human body now, what it can do, and things you can do for it. I still have pain but I manage it, I move on, I make it work, and no one can question my heart and desire.
It's a game of degrees and you make yourself better as much as you can whenever you can any way that you can. Don't aim for a perfect life, just aim for a better one.
Our struggles define who we are: http://www.allouteffort.com/2012/10/why-did-you-even-start.html
Eventually my father passed away: http://www.allouteffort.com/2012/10/rip-dad.html
I am reminded of a quote by Mark Twain:
"It's not about the size of the dog in the fight, it's about the size of the fight in the dog."