It all really started when these cannon balls (kettlebells) with handles provided a different type of training routine for me. I really had never picked one up until I started coming to work with Angie before she opened the gym. Come to think of it, my first kettlebell swings were with a woven basket with a couple ten pound plates put inside. I was following a workout plan from a magazine and did not have a kettlebell, so I found this basket in the same room and started using that. Funny stuff! Anyways, my mom had been doing some training with Angie and after hearing her talk about it, I wanted to check it out. After meeting with Angie a few times, I found that I really enjoyed training with the ropes, kettlebells, and suspension systems. At this time, I was at a crossroads in where I wanted to take my career. On one end, I was waiting to hear back from Physical Therapy programs and the other end, I started thinking about personal training as my next option. When the physical therapy school option did not work out, I jumped on board with Angie to become a trainer at the gym she was about to open. I cut down my hours at my old job and then eventually started training full time. While at the gym, I really got interested in kettlebell training. I started looking up videos, books, and websites to find out more about these things and if there were courses coming to my area anytime soon. I stumbled upon what was at the time the top kettlebell training certification, the RKC. After watching videos and reading on the site, it looked really intense! A three day certification that teaches you how to use them properly and teaches you how to teach others, just what I needed! I started looking into dates and times of certifications but then found out that an organization called StrongFirst was starting up. One of the creators/head of the RKC, Pavel Tsatsouline, split off to form StrongFirst, along with many other top instructors. I started following them and found out they were going to have their first kettlebell certification here in Houston! It looks like it was meant to be. I signed up and dove into the deep end with kettlebell training. I met some other friends in the Woodlands that were already certified and started making a trip up there every other weekend to train and get some help from them. Great group of people. I will always be thankful for the help that Francisco Marentez, Jeremy Travis, Brad Cykala, Jorge Amaro, and Laryn Toups provided. I also took a course with Master Instructor Karen Smith leading up to the certification to get even more help. All training was complete and the weekend arrived. I made it through the weekend and learned a significant amount of information on kettlebells and strength training in general. It was one heck of a weekend with everyone from StrongFirst, my team leader Master Instructor Iron Tamer David Whitley, teammates, and assistants. I felt very proud that I accomplished all of the strength tests, written test, and made it through all of the tough workouts during the weekend. Ever since that weekend, I have been enjoying my kettlebell training and teaching others how to train with them. My journey has been really great these last few years, but let me take you further back.
There I was, plopped on the couch at my apartment in college. I was done playing on the football team and focusing on school now…and the bag of Cheetos next to me. The fridge was stocked with beer and I was set. After I hung up my cleats, I kept working out for a few weeks and then laziness set in. I was burned out. My life became playing video games, going to class, and continuing to eat whatever I wanted. It did not take long for me to start gaining a few pounds. It got worse after my dad passed away. THE worst experience of my life. It was really tough on our family and still is. It is never easy losing a family member. All motivation had left me and beer was for dessert most nights of the week. I was torn up and in a bad place. I quickly ballooned to an unhealthy 230 pounds. I was in a rut that I could not get out of and on some days did not care that I was in one. For a good year, I was angry, bitter, selfish, questioned my faith, and just was not myself. I met with a counselor at school and sometimes met with one when I was home. I needed help and needed to find ways to cope. At this time, I had recently started talking with a neighbor back home, Alejandra Rodriguez (last name now Grimsley and the mother to our son). I was in a dark place and she became my light. One day something clicked in me and I realized that I better get out of the funk I was in before I lost my chance with her. I think God hit me upside the head and knocked some sense in to me. Things in my life started to seem not as bad and I had hope again. Down the road we became engaged and now I needed to look good for the honeymoon! That became my motivation to start exercising again. I got down to about 210 for the honeymoon and knew I could do better. I kept tweaking things in my diet and got after it in the gym at Iron Strength. I stayed disciplined and learned how to eat better and was able to drop under 200 lbs. These days I am at around 185lbs, gaining strength, and feeling better.
I wanted to share this not because I want you to read a sappy love story, but because we all come across dark times in our lives and get in a rut. Just remember there is light that awaits you. It may not be shining through just yet, but it will. Keep the faith and stay positive. The road to a healthy and strong life is not always smooth. Strength is more than how much weight you can lift, it is about what you can overcome.
I am motivated to stay strong and confident for my family and our future. I am loving where I am at with my ‘journey’. My journey to strength will last the rest of my lifetime. I have learned so much these past few years and look forward to the road ahead.
Be Confident. Be Strong.