The disastrous summer of 2017 was spent hospitalized, handing over the final shred of hope to doctors that only ended up to exasperate the problem. I returned home feeling wounded, damaged and for the first time ever, completely depleted of any faith in returning to a fitness lifestyle and tennis in any form whatsoever. For some reason I decided to come forward and publicly display my vulnerable condition, and challenge myself to at least restore a basic workout routine and overcome what I could within 100 days. Did I achieve this. You bet your sweet ass I did.
2018 brings forth a new era of fitness for me personally and before I move forward I would like to briefly dissect two periods of my fitness life.
During high school I went through a period of Mild Anorexia, which transformed into overeating and becoming overweight. During my sophomore year at college I remember the exact moment I reached out to one of my professors who set a meeting with the head of the university gym. I knew nothing about muscle group, workouts etc. (THE SHOCK AND HORROR! NB DO WE EVEN REALLY KNOW YOU?!). The Head Coach kindly spent 30 minutes taking me through a basic workout routine and gave me a sheet of paper to track my progress. My best friend, and I ended up buying mountain bikes during the spring and discovered trekking areas we attempted bright and early after morning prayers, hours before class would even start. One day we ended up playing tennis right by the forest entrance to mix things up. Again, I knew nothing about scoring or what a backhand was etc. (NB…. WHO ARE YOU?). That Summer, The Head Coach saw my progress and awarded me Lehigh Athlete of the Week. My prize was a t-shirt, but boy did I feel like a million bucks. After a Bike and Tennis session with my friend, we headed home to get our weekend Pizza treat and turned on the TV to find the US Tennis Open with a bald athlete with a headband and sleeveless tennis shirt on. The commentator mentioned the calamities that this player had to defy to even make it into basic high school tennis, and after a freak accident he is now back on tour again. His name is James Blake, and anyone knows any information about my Tennis, know how he was pivotal in me pushing myself towards Semi-Professional Tennis Competition.
I continued to challenge my body by getting deeper into Strength Training, Boot Camp Work, Competitive Tennis, Mountain Biking, Road Biking. Long before the P90X Craze, Ironman Triathlons and the Opportunities that Social Media presented for Fitness Individuals I drove towards 14% Body Fat, and secured Two Championships in an undefeated run from December 2011 towards June 2012 where I became the first JC’s Academy League Champion. This was not an overnight success, as I endured crushing loses in the 2009 and 2010 Lehigh Finals in the United States, and FCTG 2010 Final. (Ask my sister and motivational coach, who had to deal with my tears!). In the Summer of 2012 I hit my prime, and was about to break out towards competing in Queens, England and Dubai. This was also the moment, where EVERYTHING CHANGED.
Career-wise I was reaping the rewards of a surging Fiber Optics/ Data Management company that spanned across the Arabian Gulf, alongside establishing an award-winning entrepreneurship endeavor, and taking on various Real Estate Construction Projects. I was also revoked my bachelor status (Sorry Ladies, She’s really good with knives.). Physically? I was misdiagnosed and we now know that a surgical mishap occurred which gave me Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. (Pain all the time, Root Cause untraceable, If it flares up I can’t use the stairs, drive, you get the picture).
Chronic Pain is a cancerous feeling that infected me mentally, beyond the crippling physical agony that I endured on a daily basis. Four months of continuous effort and adjustments were made to rediscover my body bio-mechanically and finally being in the rightful hands of a genuine physiotherapist that understands my condition. I went through the motions with various dieting routines, carb cycling, intermittent fasting, binge eating etc. My main priority shifted from wanting to lose weight to truly becoming functional again. Full disclosure I did gain weight during this time period, but after 5 years of agony, Hot Dang, I became functional again! (if you see me in person ask nicely and i’ll let you touch my Glutes of Steel).
I never thought I would be able to comfortably squat, dead lift or perform demanding exercises or even come back to tennis ever again. Here I am making Kim Kardashian proud (MALE GLUTES MATTER). During the four months my narrative changed. I stopped talking about flare ups (even though they still do occur), but focused on Gratitude & Recovery. Guess what. It freakin’ works!
I deleted every post from my Instagram to start this new Era. Please understand that I hope to provide Positive Content that can be applicable to anyone that wants to stay driven and make beneficial changes towards scaling their own personal summit. I may not know you, but I am seriously rooting for you with all my lungs! GO YOU.
I’ve written some really awesome goals for this year. I’d list them, but Id much rather show you. Write some yourself, and don’t let anybody discourage or sway you from your dreams. GO YOU.
Im grateful for you, and I hope that I can drive you to push yourself in whatever your heart of hearts desires.
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