There are many reasons why someone may embark on a fitness journey – it can be for aesthetic reasons, health reasons, performance reasons etc. I remember when I first started on my fitness journey, my main focus was to be thin and to weigh a certain amount. I became obsessed with numbers – the number of calories I ate, the number of calories I burned, the number on the scale every single day, and the number of hours I spent working out. As a result, I did lose a lot of weight but I was missing out on other things in life. I would go out of my way and skip important events to meet my calorie burn of 1,000 calories a day, I wouldn’t eat foods that didn’t fit my calories or my macros, and I would become frustrated when the number on the scale didn’t change. Looking back, I remember I went a few months without eating a single donut, or slice of pizza, or scoop of ice cream. Man did I miss out! I’m not saying that I eat these foods all the time now, but I don’t stress out about it if I choose to have a treat. Life is all about finding balance, and my life was not balanced at all back then; I had a very unhealthy view of fitness. At the time, I had just changed my major to kinesiology and was beginning to learn about anatomy and physiology and the principles of training. I was completely amazed at the way our bodies could change, adapt, and grow. I applied what I learned to my own training, I found different ways to challenge my body, and I saw dramatic changes in strength and stamina. My focus slowly changed from wanting to look a certain way, to wanting to be stronger and faster. I realized that I could never change my body to be perfect, but I could change my body to be stronger. My obsession with numbers still remained, but now it was the number of pull ups and push ups I could do, the amount of weight I could push and pull, and the number of burpees I did a day (yes, as hard as you find it to believe, I love doing burpees!) I’m not saying that my weight and the amount of calories I eat don’t matter to me, I just choose not to obsess about them. I train to be strong, fast, and explosive, and I eat to nourish by body to be able to train at my best; the weight and appearance take care of itself. And, even if your body doesn’t turn out to look how you had expected it to, how can you not love it when it is so strong and fit? This strength that I slowly built made me a lot more confident and so much happier. This newfound strength didn’t only make me feel better about myself; it helped me enjoy life more. It feels so good to be able to climb ropes, walls, rocks and mountains and to be able to lift heavy things off the ground. I don’t shy away from many things in life because I know that even if I don’t have the strength to do it now, I can definitely build it. And, I am not only talking about physical strength, but also about mental and emotional strength. It breaks my heart to see people shy away from many things in life, because of fear of not being able to do it. You may not be able to do something on the first try, but you do have he ability to grow and adapt. Take the time to read, to exercise, to help people, to meet people that will encourage you, and to engage in deep conversations; you will grow a strong body, strong mind, strong heart, and a strong character. Fitness has helped me grow so much, not only in my athletic capabilities but also as a better human being overall. I’ve learned that if I apply the determination, the drive, the accountability, the consistency, and the heart that I apply to my fitness goals in other goals in my life I will be successful. My goal is to use my knowledge and passion for fitness to teach others to reach their goals so that they too can become confident, strong, and successful. I don’t like to create hard workouts just to torture people, although it is fun; I do it to show people what they are capable of doing. Once people can see that they are capable of doing what they once thought they couldn’t, things start to fall into place, their confidence goes up and success starts coming their way. Imagine a life where you can wake up everyday and feel good about yourself, where you can feel strong and capable, where you’re not afraid to do anything because you know you can. A life like this is what I want to promote, not a life where you feel that you have to look a certain way.