I know that seems like a common statement. If you have heart disease on the cusp of another cardiac event, good nutrition and fitness will save your life. If you are underweight, struggling with anorexia, and it hurts to even function daily, a nutrient-rich diet and strength-training program will save your life. It’s kind of funny how something as simple as going to the gym and eating right can have such a huge impact on our lives.
For me, I was on the verge of severe depression. Graduating college and moving back home—and having my heart broken—sent me into a tailspin. I could not get out of bed, I would not eat, and before I knew it I had lost twenty pounds and wanted to die.
It wasn’t long before I made that declaration that a basketball coach at my old high school reached out to me asking if I wanted to be an assistant coach for the girls JV team. I jumped on the opportunity and was excited to start, but then it hit me:
how can I be a good coach or a role model to these girls if I’m sitting here getting more and more underweight and wishing my life was over?
I knew that needed to change.
I needed to put on muscle. I, at the very least, needed to get my weight back to where it was—where I could actually fit in my jeans that used to rest snuggly and perfectly on my hips. It wasn’t enough for me to just pig out, though; I wanted to do it the right way. I didn’t know where to start! I didn’t know the first thing about bodybuilding or muscle growth, so I signed up for a personal training course and began studying. I figured if I’m going to be a coach, I might as well be a personal trainer too (and, let’s be honest, it wouldn’t hurt to have a fall back job in case the acting thing didn’t pan out).
I studied really hard—probably harder than I ever did in college—and two weeks before Christmas I was a certified personal trainer. It took me four months to prepare for the test, and during that time I began to eat more (and more healthily) and I even braved the most intimidating part of the gym—the free weights.
Things were starting to look up for me and I was on a good track to being back to my old self, depression free. I didn’t want my life to be over anymore. It was liberating to have a goal and to strive toward it instead of sitting idly by waiting for the end to come. For the first time in months, I was excited for tomorrow.
There’s something about being able to look back to where you started and then to see how far you’ve come. There’s a reason why things like Throwback Thursday or Transformation Tuesday exist; to see where you were side by side with where you are is a profound experience. For me, being able to lift a certain amount of weight one week and then being able to lift more the next week is one of the best feelings out there; to feel my body being stronger than it used to be made me hungry for more. I look back at where I used to be, physically and mentally, and I could not be more proud of myself for being where I’m at now.
I’m now in my fourth year of coaching, and I would love to think that I have become a good role model for the girls I coach. I think I am, and I know I wouldn’t have been if I didn’t find my passion for lifting. Hell, without lifting, I might not have been able to write this now. But I’m here, and I get stronger every day, and I want to help and inspire others to feel the same.