You mean I just have to show up?

July 25, 2018

Bear with me, this is a bit of a self-congratulatory blog, but still related to fitness.


I finished my bachelor’s degree in exercise science at the age of 38 last December, and while you do not need a bachelor’s to be a personal trainer, I am so glad I furthered my education and pushed myself to do something that was beyond my comfort zone for a number of years.  The biggest lesson I learned as an adult going back to school is that by simply showing up and participating as best we can, we can finish what we started and complete a seemingly overwhelming goal.  

Let’s back up to when I was 18 in my senior year of high school.  I had no clue what I wanted to.  I was also struggling with my identity as a young gay man.  I was not in a great place to decide what I wanted to do the rest of my life.  I began in nursing school at Purdue University and changed my major to computer science, English, and then eventually dropped out.  I worked for years doing coffee shop gigs and held down some office jobs doing some menial work in cubicles.  I started working out regularly at a gym downstairs from my office on Wilshire and felt the positive effects that exercise had on both my mind and body.  I decided I wanted to help others feel this same way too.


The next step was to get certified as a personal trainer.  I got my ACE certification after completing a 12-week course online through a local community college.  It was tough, and it was actually taught remotely by a professor from Purdue.  I was living in California at the time, so this was exciting.  I watched the lectures after work and completed the studies.  I took the exams and passed.  I still worked my office job for years before I actually was able to go and coach others in a gym.


I started working at 24 Hour Fitness while deciding I wanted to finish my bachelor’s degree.  I took more courses at Pasadena City College for about a year and a half part time before transferring to California State University Los Angeles.  It was tough and a shock to be on campus again.  I did not always do my best in my courses, but eventually I got back into the groove, completed all the work and transferred.  I had to complete courses that I thought I might not finish, but I showed up, did the work and talked to professors when I was struggling.  Sure, I may be able to do better if I did it again, but I learned so much about myself.  I learned to not give up.  I learned that showing up, having the right attitude, and engaging got me through it. No, I did not get A’s in quantitative chemistry, but I learned what I needed and completed the courses.


I am grateful for the opportunity to return to school as an adult.  My degree has given me a better insight on how the human body functions, but more than anything it has taught me that we are capable of so much.  There were days I struggled and didn’t think I’d complete a chemistry or physics course, but I showed up and participated as best as I could and finished the degree.  I am proud of that piece of paper, and I am also excited to use that knowledge and ability to persist to help others.



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