How My Body Feels After Playing Sports
Here's a look back on my weight gain and college football experience. There's a lot to look forward to in the future as I improve as a personal fitness trainer!
Sometimes people ask and assume that I've always looked the way I do today. Trust me, that's not true at all. My cousin Richard, whom I love and consider one of my closest family members, famously labeled me "Cousin Pudgy". Looking back on my body since I started playing sports in high school, a lot has changed.
Here are some specific things that have helped me feel better:
- Performing more back exercise for both muscular growth and strength
- Performing more and more hip thrusts and other glute exercises for stronger and a better looking posterior.
- Losing weight and body fat after college.
- Working out more frequently, the more I exercise the better I seem to feel
- Eating better and learning how to cook has helped my pockets and all of the above.
What seems like such a long time ago, 2010-2013 I played college football for The University of Missouri. Here's a slightly embarrassing link to a nappy haired roster photo of me in my last season. It was the middle of camp in the summer and not a single person had a comb.Now most of the time, people reflect on their college experience as the glory days, and truly I enjoyed mine-there are however some lasting effects.
Weight Gain can be Rough
Playing out of position in college at 245lbs (defensive tackle, where the average athlete might be anywhere from 280-310+),I had some pretty tough standards to meet. I still think from time to time about trying to reach the 600 lb squat goal I fell ~10lbs short on.
These were a few of the several goals I was required to meet for my position:
- Squat: Projected 600 lbs (510 lbs x 5 reps)
- Bench Press: Projected 400 lbs (340 lbs x 5 reps)
- Vertical Jump: 28 inches
Coming in to college I weighed 224lbs. I know exactly how much because after I finished my high school career I had always felt overweight so I dropped down to 203 to see what that felt like. At the time I felt really light and weak to be honest. It was probably a little too low but, you couldn't tell me not to hit my goal.
What I put my body through for the love of sports and my teammates was rough. I'd do most of it again, smarter of course. One of my most powerful memories from practice was when I cried in front of two of my closest teammates that I considered little brothers, Evan Winston and Harold Brantley.
Harold and Evan were young and hungry Redshirt freshmen defensive linemen at the time this happened. I was dealing with a major hip flexor problem from a muscular imbalance and core weakness that left me in wincing pain, even at rest. For a brief, uncharacteristic moment I snapped at then defensive line Coach Kraig Kulagowski and told him I didn't want to perform a drill. Never would I quit on my friends but, the thought crossed my mind. Harold and Evan saw something in my eye and offered to take all of my reps for the remained of scout team practice.
Coming full circle from that day I worked harder to fix my weakness and reflected on what was truly important to me. Ironically, a teammate I've briefly lost touch of from time to time, told me that after all my years and hundreds of teammates at Mizzou, I'd only speak to a few. It helps that I have no sense of time.
What I remember are the relationships I've shared. What I feel still to this day are the aches and pains of playing. My surgically repaired right knee hurts, the stress fractures that occasionally plague my hands fade but, the stiffness can be more frequent, the tightness in my hips goes away but, only if I stay active.
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Now I feel Great
Hopefully this doesn't have a sad undertone because honestly, most days I feel great. What's really important to me is being able to stay feeling great and enjoying time with friends. If someone wants to take off on a random bike ride or venture off on a hike, I want to be able to join without worrying. I want all of my clients to be able to do all of these same things.
As I continue to learn I feel even better and that knowledge and experience is what gives me the confidence in my ability to help anyone, old or young, look and feel strong. Bad knees, bad shoulders, injuries? I've been there and done that before. We can figure out a way to work around those things so you don't feel held back by your body anymore either.