This was a very dark time in my life, as my health was in question, my parents and in-laws were disgusted with me, and I was faced with a long recovery period.
Through a series of circumstances that stemmed from that hospital stay, I eventually became diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was prescribed medication that helped stabilize my moods, and I realized that this condition was a major reason why I had been self-medicating with drugs.
Over the next 4 years (with a LOT of help from God), I slowly got my life back under control and I started chasing my fitness and physique goals again in earnest.
I was frustrated with my lack of results in the past, and this frustration caused me to throw myself at my training with wild abandon, with ever increasing training volume and intensity, and less and less recovery time. At the time, I was still ignoring my nutrition, with the false belief that I could out exercise a poor diet.
This left me with an ever growing waistline, low energy and libido levels, and little to show for the effort I truly was putting in at the gym. After years of effort with little to show for it, I decided that enough was enough!
I was going to go all in and figure this thing out that had eluded me for so many years. I began reading everything I could get my hands on regarding training and nutrition.
Articles, scientific research papers, training programs, blogs, you name it, I read them all. I subscribed to every fitness and strength training newsletter I came across on my search. I read reviews on bodybuilding and fitness forums as well to see what other people’s experiences were with those same programs and training concepts.
Not only did I read them, I implemented what I learned in the way I approached my training and nutrition. I experimented on myself, tweaked things here and there, and started to see some results for my efforts.
I also started to see common themes becoming increasingly apparent across all of the diverse literature that I was studying, which led me to begin developing simple core strategies that I implemented in my own training and nutrition.
In 2012, disaster struck my family twice in a matter of months, and put my fitness quest on the back burner once again.
First, my youngest son Coltan was diagnosed with a Congenital Cystic Adenomatoid Malfunction, which is a fancy way of saying that he had cysts forming in one of his lungs, and would require major surgery at some point.
Then, just over 3 months later, my oldest son Noah was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We were understandably devastated by this turn of events, and life became more about surviving rather than thriving.
We had 3 children at the time, 2 of which had serious medical conditions that required major surgeries, as well as daily doses of chemo, frequent visits to the nearest Children’s Hospital which was an hour and a half away, as well as monthly, 5 day rounds of steroids which were absolute hell.
My son would go into rages where he would destroy his bedroom and break things, he would scream at us that he hated us, and life became a living hell much of the time.
Add to that the fact that we were unsure if he would even survive, and we had to face the very real fear that cancer might take our oldest son away from us.
At this point I had plenty of reasons to abandon my fitness goals, but I refused to take this as an excuse.
After all, if I didn’t make the time to take care of myself, how could I expect to take care of my family properly?
How could I expect to be an example to my wife and kids if I just gave up on the things that were important to me?
How could I inspire my clients to take care of themselves and prioritize their health and fitness in the face of difficulties if I refused to do the same?