I am a born and raised Mainer, otherwise referred to as a "Mainiac" (clever, I know.) In my early highschool years, I was addicted to fast food, candy, candy, candy, and had this really weird thing for Funyuns and Lunchables. In short, my diet couldn't have gotten any worse. Miraculously, I was always thin but realistically quite unhealthy. I felt sluggish, lethargic, and generally unhappy with myself. A newbie at all things athletic (I played soccer, once...) I began my infinite journey with the help of Tamilee Webb. You know, Tamilee Webb, the cute blonde girl that made millions selling Abs of Steel VHS tapes? To my advantage, my mother had jumped on the exercise tape craze during the 80's and 90's and allowed for an extensive collection to explore. On my sixteenth birthday, I asked for a stationary exercise bicycle. I literally rode the pedals off that thing, relishing in the challenge of a vigorous bike sprint workout that left everything on the floor but my heaving breath. I found it intensely satisfying to push myself to that threshold.
I played around with my diet in the meantime, eliminating that, restricting this, and eventually ended up on a diet consisting of skinless chicken, canned tuna, salad, reduced fat everything, "whole grain" bread, soymilk, and over-priced, organic cereal. I did some light weight lifting, and a whole lot of intense cardio. I was undoubtedly still a skinny thing, but I was also looking a bit emancipated. My nails were brittle, my hair was thin, my joints hurt, and I was always hungry.
A few years later, I ended up having one too many saki bombs on my sister's birthday and ultimately rode my bicycle into a mailbox that night. Kidding aside, this was truly the moment that ended up changing everything. Despite going a speed of about two miles an hour, I was a bit uncoordinated and put nearly all my weight onto my left arm when I landed, impinging the delicate rotator cuff muscle of the shoulder (and getting blood ALL over my new white pants...Typical.) The rotator cuff may not be one of the prettiest group of muscles ever, but they are incredibly vital for elevating the arm, rotating the arm, and stabilizing the shoulder joint. The next morning, I woke up with a killer headache and an inability to lift my arm without excrutiating pain. It taught me to never take my shoulder's health for granted, as you can only imagine how uncomfortable showering and dressing was (but I was still biking at this time, of course. It was summer in New England, what do you expect!)
Enter physical therapy and a young, wise male therapist. He questioned everything I did in terms of nutrition and fitness, and I loved the challenge. He inquired why I ate dairy (I really don't like dairy, but thought I "needed" it,) why we should eat grains, and why I didn't pick up more heavy things. Nobody had ever asked me these things before, and it stemmed my curiousity. Like anything else that gets me going, I researched the death out of these new concepts he presented me with.
Six weeks later, I was lifting weights overhead and doing push-ups pain free. I began eating a diet free of dairy, grains, legumes, wheat, and sugars. I never counted calories, ate until I was satisfied, and began getting leaner and stronger (despite eating WAY more.) It was the first time in my life I actually felt healthy. And you know what, I have NEVER felt or looked better!
This was the inspiration that pushed me to look into personal training and physical therapy as a means of work. I currently hold an ACE (American Council on Exercise) Personal Training Certification, and will graduate with a degree in Physical Therapy Assisting by August 2012. At some point, I'd like to get my CSCS Certification (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), a massage therapist certification, and explore more topics in homeopathic healing, acupuncture, and chiropractor practices.
To your health!