John Hermsen: My Personal Fitness Journey
Welcome to this week’s trainer talk blog. Today we will be talking about my personal fitness journey.
Looking back on how this all started for me is actually harder to do than I thought. When I was three years old I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. This condition affected my lower body mostly and being the youngest of three boys I found myself having a harder time that normal keeping up with my siblings. There were certain activities that were difficult or impossible for me to do when I was younger and I would find myself in the kitchen with mom baking or “helping” as she called it. It was more like eating cookie dough than helping but mom appreciated the company and so did I. As a result of this let’s just say I found myself a little bit “husky.” I would still go swimming but I would wear my t-shirt in the pool and would never be “skins” when playing basketball. I was always aware that I looked differently than my friends and I was extremely self-conscience about this.
When I was 12 I had an accident that left me with a shattered humorous and elbow. Even after doing physical therapy my left arm had and still has incomplete range of motion. I had to accept the fact that my days spent dreaming of being Michael Jordan were over, even though being a short, husky, white kid with limited basketball skills may have had something to do with it as well. My physical therapist recommended I used strength training to increase the bone density and strength of my arm. So at 13 years old I picked up my first weight and I can say that my life was never the same. From the time I was 13 until I graduated high school I lifted weights at least three days a week and I found myself not only shedding my husky body but also finding the confidence that would shape who I was and what I expected from life.
During and after college I continued to lift weights and would easily spend two hours a day, five days a week in the gym. When I was 25 I was at the strongest I had ever been but, looking in the mirror I saw something that I didn’t like. Even though I was spending x amount of time and days a week working out I just looked thick. At that point I was 233 pounds and cut for 12 weeks to do my first bodybuilding show and weighed in at 187. I would love to tell you I did well but, in reality I got dead last and was so embarrassed that I didn’t even go back to the night part of the show. What I can say out of this experience is that I learned what kind of person I am. I could have quit and never competed again, but instead I am six weeks away from my 15th show. I didn’t quit, I just kept finding another level of how hard I can work.
We all will have moments that don’t go as we planned. We all will have set backs. We all have our own limitations and excuses. I challenge you to always find another level of how hard you can work, not only in your fitness journey but in life as well. Never settle for what you have in front of you; if you want something go and get it. If you ever find you need help getting to your goal come and talk to me and we can figure out a plan for you. There is always a way to get to your goal but sometimes it takes a little help from someone else to get there. Do whatever it takes to achieve your goals and remember not to quit, but to keep going, achieve your goals and then set your next goal!