Sometimes, Your Choices Are Made For You..

I was five weeks into my final semester of undergraduate studies when I underwent a major surgery. I had thought that I was in shape and healthy.. I exercised religiously and ate well. I just couldn’t understand why my body had failed. I had been following the conventional wisdom of the gym mentality; exercise for strength and endurance, eat to give my body the fuel and nutrients that it needed to rebuild stronger and better. Even when I didn’t feel like it or had better things to do, I went to the gym to grind out another workout. It took me a while to figure out, but in the end I wasn’t listening to my body, and what I considered a failure at the time of the illness was simply a natural reaction to all of the things that I had been doing to myself. Sometimes things happen for a reason.

During the first bed-ridden months of recovery, I began to read about health and nutrition to give myself a break from my scholastic pursuits (my teachers were very understanding and allowed my final exams to be the grades for their courses). I learned a great amount about myself during that recovery period, both from research and personal experience. As soon as my body was able, I began to rebuild.

Sadly, my surgeon did not even recommend physical therapy and I had to do it all on my own. It was difficult in the beginning; yet nowhere near as hard as it is for people who suffer from brain or spinal trauma. The first day I went for a walk, I was out of breath by the time I had gotten to the bottom of my driveway. There were good days, when I could really tell that I was making progress. But there were definitely setbacks; days when I pushed too hard or moved the wrong way and was reminded of the intense pain that I felt after the surgery. I slowly learned what I needed to do to rehabilitate myself, and just as importantly I learned to have the patience to only do what I was capable of.

A year later, two very important things happened at that time. One was that I began to study martial art under a very capable teacher. I had always wanted to learn self-defense, but this was so much more. What I had thought to be the very end of my road to recovery became the first insight into how much further I could go; how training could stay fresh and exciting instead of falling into the tedious pattern of effort and boredom that it had been. The other thing that happened was that people started to ask me about exercise and nutrition. I realized that my obsession with the hows and whys of my body; the processes that led to my surgery and the methods that I had learned to speed my rehabilitation, had all culminated in a first hand knowledge of how to train others.

Now I’m a personal trainer. I help people to become more capable and confident in themselves. The focus is often on reshaping their bodies, other times it is on being healthier, or accomplishing a goal that seems to be out of reach. Many of my former clients come back for a refresher course after a layoff, or when they want to conquer a new challenge. So whatever the goals, and however difficult things seem to be; I’m here to help. Remember; it’s only impossible if you refuse to try!

I’ve founded Chicago Fitness Training to address a deficiency in the field of wellness and fitness. Sitting in a room filled with machines and trying to “feel the burn” without addressing the past and present conditioning of your body will not get you the results you want. It might not even result in any positive change at all. Our trainers will educate you on how to do it right. This blog came from that same desire; there are only so many people who can be helped on a one-on-one basis, but every one of these posts has the chance to inspire or guide someone who needs help on the journey that we all have in common.

So keep improving, and check back often. As my own training changes, my studies expand, and my experience with clients gives me new insight; I will continue to share, explain, and motivate others to feel their best, achieve their potential, and realize their dreams.

-Mark