Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Tipping Point

MAYBE it was that bully in middle school who constantly made fun of you.

MAYBE it was the boss who took advantage of your work ethic while they sat in their back office, reading the newspaper in the break room, and not recognizing your efforts whatsoever. 

MAYBE it was the pair of pants that just didn't fit, the suit or dress that was just a little too tight, or the sly little comments from your spouse regarding your shape (or lack thereof). 

Regardless of the reason, it eventually happened: the tipping point. 

The day the bully got embarrassed, you stood up to your boss, and you signed up for a workout program with a trainer or for training sessions. 

It all clicked!  You had enough!  You had been pushed past your limit and it was time to seize the moment. 

Maybe you don't recognize that moment (hopefully you will soon), but we all have it, whether we know it or not. 

My Tipping Point?  7 years ago, May 5th, 2004.   

As an Athletic Training student at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, we dealt with injury after injury in the rehab room.  Ankles, knees, shoulders; you name it and we iced, taped and helped rehabilitate the injury or condition. 
One day, we were called to respond to ‘someone having a seizure’ in the main gymnasium where basketball practice was being held.  A friend of mine, Rich, had fallen and was lying there struggling to breath.  He was suffering from a heart attack at 21 years of age.  No matter what we did, no matter the CPR performed or the AED applied, Rich was gone.  Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged left ventricle, claimed the life of a 21-year-old classmate. 

(article on ESPN here)

It was my tipping point, and it changed my life forever.  I could no longer accept waiting for people to get hurt, working in training rooms, rehab rooms and physical therapy clinics.  This is not to dismiss any of those fields, especially because many of my friends and colleagues excelled at their respective fields, but those fields were not for me.  I struggled with my career choice, doing 5 internships during my college tenure (strength coach, corporate wellness, physical therapy, personal training, athletic training) to help me decide and whittle down my choices. 

Ultimately, it was the pro-active approach that won, and the fact I could change the way people approached fitness, athletics and health led me to find my calling in Personal Training.  As a result of consistently assisting in the prevention of disease, injury or dysfunction, I continue to find the field very satisfying and rewarding. 

Today, my clients' goals = my goals:
  • Help a father keep his cholesterol and blood pressure in check in order to see his grandkids graduate from college, even though his family suffers from a history of heart disease
  • Help a business manager fight off injury and increase his ability to maintain perfect posture, despite remaining on his feet for 12-14 hours a day
  • Help a mother increase her strength, lean body mass, stimulate bone density and prevent lower back pain from pushing a stroller and picking her kids up all day
  • Help a high school kid increase his self esteem through fitness and performance, allowing him to stand taller, and get a college scholarship to play the sport he loves  
  • Help a retired businessman lose more than 75 pounds in order to increase his mobility, decrease his knee pain, and increase his nutritional consistency
  • Help keep an ultra marathoner injury free, well-fed and hydrated as he prepared for a 6 day, 210 mile trek across the Gobi Desert, despite the fact that his injury list is too long to mention
  • Help those looking to keep Alzheimers, diabetes, arthritis, and heart or 'genetic' conditions at bay while other people consider themselves limited by their genetic heritage
My goals, along with those aligned by my client(s), have inspired change in those mentioned above, and will continue to provide structure and a foundation for fitness and function in their lives. 

For most of America (the 67% that are obese or overweight), health and fitness are prescriptions for the diseases they face as a result of their lifestyle choices, and only a reaction to realizing their poor state of health.  Side note /scary thought: this is the first generation EVER to have a shorter life expectancy than the previous generation. 

For my clients listed above, their health and fitness prescriptions are for the continued, constant pursuit of excellent health as they take their fitness levels to new heights. 

As a result of my tipping point, I have made many significant changes in my life that I used to think were not possible. 

The real question: When will you recognize your tipping point, and make the change?

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision…”
-Ayn Rand

Take vision, and then that first step past the tipping point; you will be surprised what you find. 

-Coach Kev

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