I’m not sure exactly where my “journey” started, but I am sure glad that it did.
That’s me back when I had no idea what fitness, health, and nutrition were. Ignorance was certainly bliss at that point (I actually remember that specific cupcake). To be honest when I was younger a large portion of my life revolved around food. I was terribly attached, mainly emotionally, to foods like my morning bagel and my evening M&M’s. My palette was refined to the point where if the food crossing my lips wasn’t a cheeseburger, chicken fingers, french fries, bread, soda, or candy I wasn’t going to enjoy it.
Fast forward to the start of high school after a long childhood of always being bigger than the other kids. With the prospects of being surrounded my “flourishing” young women I thought it was time to make some changes. Instead of my summer reading I started my slow distancing from the foods I grew up with. During basketball season of my freshman year in high school my body started to change in the way I’d always secretly wanted.
To say my life changed dramatically would be an understatement. My performance in sports increased, I actually had a semblance of self confidence, and my social life picked up. As I reflected on my evolution while still in high school I realized that health and fitness had a positive impact in my life, and it could do that same for anyone. At the time I started to consider a career in Athletic Training. I had a few injuries, as well as an uncle that introduced me to Athletic Training. As the time to apply to college rolled around I sought schools which offered a Kinesiology program.
Throughout my years in high school I did cursory research into health trends. Though I’m a little ashamed to admit it now, my main source of training and nutrition information was Men’s Health. Little did I know it would be that magazine that would change the course of my…literally.
During my spring break of my senior year in high school, I was looking for an internship in my general field to fill my summer vacation. I thought spending my time at a gym would be fun and potentially educational. I had sent emails to three or four health clubs without any response whatsoever. I had purchased the latest issue of Men’s Health on the flight down, but had yet to open it (my attention span back then was terr…..o yea….terrible). I saw an article which contained “The 10 best gyms in the United States” and I thought to myself, “One of them has to be in New York City. I flipped the pages and JACKPOT….Peak Performance.
(Yes, that is the original issue from the Spring of 2010)
With very little optimism I went to their website and shot off another email containing how I would pretty much to despicable things for an internship of any kind. As if it was meant to be, on the same day I committed to attend Penn State University, I received an email from the director of Personal Training asking if I could come in for an interview. Needless to say I freaked out. After agreeing on a date for the interview I put on some business attire and ventured downtown to the training heaven that sits 8 floors above the New York City streets.
I knew I was in the right place when I walked in and saw a Men’s Health photo shoot going on right in front of my eyes! I always believed dreams could come true, but not this fast. I was clearly overdressed in my shirt and tie as a greased up dude posed on the other side of the division. Apparently I made a good impression and I was invited to be a part of Peak Performance’s first class of interns.
My first summer at Peak was filled with as much exposure to great training as my mind could possibly handle. Not only did I shadow almost every trainer at Peak, but I also trained out on the floor with the big guys. I learned, hand on, so much about how to design programs and train people effectively. I came away from that summer with something I wasn’t expecting to have…a passion. I was ready to dedicate myself to becoming the best trainer I could possibly be. I decided Athletic Training was not for me. Athletic Training is a vital occupation that brings athletes a vital, in-game, preparation, and recovery oriented medical service. I didn’t wan’t to just get athletes back to their baseline…I wanted to make people awesome.
(By the way, that’s where I was at before my first summer at Peak)
I spent my freshman year at school learning as much as I could, but I soon realized the practical experience I gained at Peak was invaluable and it gave me a vast advantage over the rest of my peers. I was also able to pick up my first certification (High School Strength and Conditioning Specialist from IYCA) during my freshman year. When the summer after my freshman year rolled around the only logical choice was to go back to Peak Performance.
My second summer at Peak was filled with more intense and involved learning. My summer culminated in helping Joe Dowdell put together his part of the Peak Diet and Training Summit. I also learned about what it takes to really make a body transformation happen, which is a personal experience that taught me very much. I left my second summer at Peak Performance even more assured of my career path and with a beaming optimism. I was ready to take the world by storm. I also left Peak that summer looking like this:
I wanted to maintain and build my profile as a fitness resource to people looking to maximize their potential throughout my sophomore year in college, but it turned out my course load dominated my time. I decided to bear down and work hard to get the grades I wanted. While in high school I couldn’t care less about the history of the French Revolution, but now that I get to study Kinesiology and Nutrition, my passion for school is crazy. I geek out hardcore when reading, hearing, or talking about health and fitness material. I finished up my second year in school accomplishing the academic goals I sought out to accomplish.
NOW I’M BACK! I am currently in another summer at Peak Performance doing everything I can to become the best trainer I possibly can. I am also in a rigorous and beneficial internship with a very well respected nutritionist. I am working on some big projects and completing another certification. I am just starting to seriously plan for the future and the plans are BIG! Everyday I wake and seek to maximize my potential in the hopes I can do the same for those who I work with and come across.
I can’t wait to see what the rest of my journey is going to look like, but I hope you can come along for the ride!
Maximize Your Potential