Waco, TX

My fitness journey didn't begin with sports or a passion for exercise. Growing up, I spent most of my free time working on ranches, exercising horses, and participating in rodeo activities. After graduating high school in 1969 at the age of 17, I enlisted in the military and celebrated my 19th birthday in Vietnam. By the time I was honorably discharged just before my 21st birthday, I had developed habits that would shape my early adult life—smoking and drinking. By age 23, I was overweight, smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, and drinking daily, with even more on weekends. This was also when I began to struggle with PTSD, a condition for which there was no available help in 1974.

I found myself in a very dark place, unsure of what to do. A turning point came when a drinking buddy bet me that I couldn't jog a mile with him. Accepting the challenge, I quickly proved him right; I couldn't even complete two laps on a high school track. I couldn't stop coughing, could barely catch my breath, and my chest hurt. It scared me. But I also noticed that I didn't want to smoke a cigarette for a couple of hours afterward. This was a breakthrough moment. I realized that exercise might be my way out of smoking.

Whenever I experienced a craving for a cigarette, I would do as many push-ups, squats, or jumping jacks as I could or run until I was winded. The cravings would subside, and over time, they disappeared entirely. I haven't smoked a cigarette since. Exercise became essential for me, a key to reclaiming my life. It has been crucial in both my highs and lows. I see the gym as a sanctuary, not just a place to get in shape. In the gym, I can set a specific goal and achieve it. I can complete a perfect rep and create, through hard work and imagination, the best version of myself possible.

Milestones and Achievements in My Fitness Journey
1974: I started running to quit smoking.
1975: Running, swimming, and racquetball helped me manage PTSD.
1978: As an underwater recovery diver, I focused on running, calisthenics, and swimming.
1978: I took up boxing, incorporating running and calisthenics into my routine.
1981: Bodybuilding and powerlifting were pivotal in my journey to stop drinking alcohol and using cocaine.
1985: I competed in the AAU Mr. California (novice) and continued participating in drug-free competitions to stay motivated.
1991: A skydiving accident resulted in severe injuries: a fractured tibia, fibula, ankle, and dislocated heel of my right leg. After surgery, my doctor said my bodybuilding days were over and I might need a cane to walk. Despite this, I trained everything that wasn't injured. A subsequent fall resulted in fractures in my left arm and wrist, requiring more surgery. I returned to the gym the day after being released from the hospital and trained everything that wasn't broken.
1995: I became a NASM Certified Personal Trainer.
1997: Won the NPC Mr. California (Over 40).
2010-2012: Competed in the Firefighter Combat Challenge, setting Nevada State Records.
2012: Earned my ACSM CPT and underwent full right shoulder reconstruction, followed by cervical (C4-7) fusion in 2016, and right ankle replacement in 2020. Through each recovery, I utilized TRX, strength, and interval training to regain function and strength.

Fitness has transformed my life, giving me confidence and a sense of achievement. Being complimented and hearing that I inspire others is a gift and a blessing. It has made me a more positive and energetic person, improving my mood and energy levels. My future goals include entering a bodybuilding show, but more importantly, maintaining a great physique with decent size and staying lean. I plan to continue training clients, helping them achieve their dream physiques.

Today, I focus on offsetting the expected challenges that come with age. I run an active personal training business, concentrating on injury rehab, working with Parkinson's patients, and teaching boxing and self-protection skills to kids who have experienced bullying.

Exercise isn't just about physical fitness; it's about mental resilience and finding a sanctuary where you can achieve your goals. My journey is proof that with dedication and hard work, you can overcome any obstacle. Whether you're dealing with smoking, PTSD, or recovering from serious injuries, fitness can be a transformative force in your life. Join me on this journey to discover the limitless potential within you. Let's sweat, smile, and succeed together! Remember, consistency is key, and progress is progress, no matter how small. Embrace your fitness journey fully, and watch yourself grow stronger, inside and out!

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