If you really knew me then you would know this…

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Just a heads up, my mind thinks in pictures. You can also tell this by my stick figure drawings on the whiteboard at the gym. SecondIy, I am not the best at putting words on paper so bear through any typos and bad grammar please.

I thought it would be fitting to post a blog on my fitness journey for this #TBT. Looking back at all the years, I find myself a little overwhelmed with all of the great things that have happened. I’m going to take you through some of the major steps of what brought me here today.

First, please meet the people that have been there for me since day one. You would probably not be reading this if it were not for the love and support from my grandma Joyce and grandpa Lee.

Also, a big thank you to my sister Michelle and brother Doug for always listening to my ghost stories.

My fitness journey begins with an introduction to CrossFit. At the time, I had no idea what it was. I just knew that some of the best UFC fighters were doing it, so I had to check it out. Below is a picture of me and Cody Joe hitting a rowing workout in the hanger bay of the USS Ronald Reagan.

I was introduced to CrossFit during my first few weeks in the Navy. I immediately fell in love with the idea of working hard in the gym, while having fun doing it! It was unlike any other workout that I had ever done before. What my friends and coaches didn’t tell me was how it would change my life forever.

I dove headfirst into pushing it as hard as I could. I learned as much as possible about what exactly it meant to be “in shape”. I put in the work inside the gym and focused on eating healthy. Then something amazing happened! My body started to change, along with my mindset. I started to feel better, both physically and mentally.  At this point, I knew that I had found something special. I knew that if it worked for me then it had to work for someone else too. Had to find a way to guide others to what I had discovered. The Navy quickly became my second career.

I was fortunate enough to be able to meet this group. Coming out of the military, I had aspirations to become part of the coaching team at CrossFit Memphis. What I knew then, was just a gym. I had no idea that the people inside would soon give me a chance to make a difference. With a little faith, they brought me into their lives.

Upon first arrival to Faction, my mentorship began very quickly. Learning from the best was no easy task. I was under the spotlight at all times, but his was my time to make it work. I had left a stable career and took a chance. Yes, I was scared to death, but at the same time, my passion trumped everything else. So I put in countless hours and worked my butt off during the internship.

I started learning the ins and outs of what it meant to be a coach. Coaching, as I knew it at the time, was doing exercises correctly and cheering people on as they did the workout of the day. I was way off! What I was missing was compassion and understanding of where someone was coming from. At the time, I had no one else’s goals in mind except mine. 

After my internship, I was given the opportunity to coach the morning classes for Ashley. From day one, I started to understand what the role of a coach really was.  It was not about me anymore, it was all about the athlete. My understanding of what is was to be a coach took a bit of a turn. I started to learn about leadership, like nothing else I had ever known before. I started to learn from the people that I was coaching and being coached by.

Progress has not always been linear. What I mean by this is that it has not been an easy road. There have been days when I just felt like giving up. There have been times when I have felt like the weight on my shoulders has been too much to handle. Along the way, my mentors have literally taken their shoes off to help me get through it and keep growing. I have learned that I don’t always need to get it right all the time. Sometimes failures are blessings in disguise.

Fortunately, there have always been times during the chaos that I could still see the good stuff. My support team at home has also taught me a lot about coaching. They have taught me to love unconditionally and be patient. Nothing good comes fast, and even if it did then you wouldn’t appreciate it as much.

Now with CrossFit infused in all parts of my life, magical things are happening. Keeping in mind that everything I learned in my early days of CrossFit, still resonates with me every day. Working hard towards goals, and investing as much energy in being the best physically and mentally, has made me the happiest that I have ever been.

As my team grows, I grow. We get stronger every day. We take it one day at a time and try not to live too fast. We approach every day as an opportunity given, and try to make the best of it. Hard work is still in our blood and will always be.

If you really knew me then you would know this…

1) You would know that I’ve seen a lot, even though I still look 19.

2) You would know that I am beyond grateful to have had the experiences that make me who I am today.

3) You would know that my family is one of the most important things in my life.

4) You would know that  Faction is everything to me. My team is everyone from our staff to athletes, you all make this work.

Know that this is just the beginning, I will only push harder to be the best that I can be. I will work as hard as possible to spread the love that I have for health and fitness. I will keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Here’s to reflecting on the good times. Take a good look at where you are today, and how you got there. Stay focused on your goals and don’t let anything distract you.

See you in the gym!