Disclaimer #1 : this has nothing to do with fitness; this is a very personal, reflective piece I am sharing for your entertainment and because I am sentimental sometimes.
Disclaimer #2 : on second thought this post has everything to do with fitness; in my 24th year I grew more in the fitness industry than I ever could have fathomed.
I was going to title this piece “3:30 a.m. wake-ups, long drives and pep-talks with myself” because captures my 24th year like a really good tweet.
However, I might like to add “and netflix and powerlifting” to the aforementioned list.
It’s my birthday today and I want to take a moment to reflect on my 24th year because I am a big fan of looking back.
Reflection is important to me; I always discern huge takeaways when I take a moment to heed hindsight and view my life with an outsider’s perspective.
I was on a date with a guy a few years ago who asked me a very interesting question, or requested information, rather.
He said, “Tell me about Garrett in high school.”
I will never forget his curious request.
Here is what I have to say about my 24th year so that in case anyone wants to know in 10 years, I will be able to look back and tell them exactly how I saw it.
Scroll all the way down to the end to see Crossroads of Fitness is offering for my birthday.
This is 25.
I am 115 pounds, 5′ 2″ and I can deadlift 250 pounds.
I am actively competing in powerlifting and NPC bikini competitions, running my own fitness business out of my Boston apartment and teaching fitness classes at Barry’s Bootcamp and Cyc Fitness.
I am the 5 a.m. teacher in the city.
I live for the mornings with my regular bootcampers.
I get up at 3:38 a.m. every day to ensure I am wide awake to be the best instructor I can be.
I live alone and I’m single.
I’m obsessed with my apartment in Back Bay and I drive a Volkswagen that has more dents and scratches than it should.
I never thought I would live on the east coast.
I always assumed I would have a kid by 25 because that’s when my mom had me.
My purpose for writing this is that I realized our entire lives we are constantly looking ahead to the next thing– going to college, getting a job, settling down, having kids, then having our kids grow up and move out— in each chapter we feel like we haven’t “made it” because we aren’t in the next chapter yet.
I almost didn’t write this because I was feeling like, “what do I have to say that matters about being 24 going on 25?”
I’m not married; hell, I’m not even dating.
I’m navigating the seas of running my own business– and business hasn’t “made it” yet for that matter.
I told my mom I was contemplating whether or not to blog on my birthday.
Mom said, “You need to embrace your now. Tell you story.”
“But what’s my story?” I asked.
“The story is that you don’t know everything yet, but that’s okay. You’re doing well and while you’ve been through a lot of shitty things this year you’ve had some incredible things happen too. Tell it.”
From the first day or my 24th year until now powerlifting has been something I do at least three times a week, every week.
It’s my hobby, my sport and my arduous yet pleasing endeavor.
When given the option of running or deadlifting for exercise, I choose picking up weight a few times and putting it down over running every single time.
I have fallen in love with how powerful it makes me feel and its side effects on my physique aren’t too shabby either.
My first powerlifting meet was in January this year.
I was underprepared for it though, as one is when they decide to compete six weeks before the meet.
I am currently preparing for my second meet in January 2016.
At 23 I could not squat more than 120 pounds, I couldn’t deadlift more than 175 and I didn’t really know how to bench press.
“Start before you’re ready,” right?
That has been the theme of my 24th year, btw.
I have come a long way since then and I love it even more every day. It is fun to be so passionate about a hobby in your twenties.
The empowered feeling I have, the confidence I exude in day-to day-life and the strength I feel emotionally is a direct result of building strength in the gym.
My physical strength makes me feel unstoppable.
Two huge wins for me at age 24 were the 24kg chin-up and the 250 pound deadlift.
If you are interested in getting stronger, check out this article I wrote and/or email me!
Which brings me to my next point: I started running my business like a company and not like a hobby.
Writing, Coaching & Pep-talks
I like to write.
I am no Hemingway, (in fact my college journalism professor once told me that I write like a Chinese down-hill skier– bombs the way!!!!) but I care about writing.
Sharing things about life and helping people matters to me.
Writing articles about nutrition, strength training and motivation each week throughout my 24th year helped me reach more people.
I wrote over 50 articles about things I love like handstands, lifting, eating healthy and teaching people how to make good habits.
Day one of my 24th year I was working a nine-to-five job in real-estate development, teaching fitness classes and coaching three clients online.
Flash forward and I’ve helped over 100 people lose weight and/or get stronger.
I’ve built some incredible relationships with my clients and I can’t imagine life without them.
In some ways I feel like I have 60 kids!
As far as real-estate goes, in July of this year I parted ways with my day job developing gas stations.
It’s important to know that while I found it to be a slow business at times I truly enjoyed the work.
I will never forget the random meetings I had in backyard sheds, Dunkin Donuts, parking lots and small-town coffee shops with elderly men to negotiate prices of land. I will never forget all the unique municipalities I worked with, observed and negotiated with. I am thankful for the experience I gained in the development job.
In July the gas station client which my company worked for was slowing down.
Therefore the company which moved me away from my friends and favorite city essentially changed my life in 2014 only to let me go a year later.
Lucky for me, my heart has always been in fitness.
By letting me go they gave me the push I needed to put 100% of myself into Crossroads of Fitness.
It was scary as hell.
It was invigorating like a polar bear plunge at 5 a.m.
July to September was a challenging transitional time for me: I went from having a nine-to-five job that involved driving all over New England (I had Maine, New Hampshire and North Shore territory) to having that full 8 to 10 hour window wherein I could work on my business and write.
My teaching schedule remained in the “before and after work hours” category.
I had to figure out how to manage my long days. I had to learn how to work alone.
I had to come up with my business plans, goals and more but it all sounded better than applying for another nine-to-five job.
This was my time to go after exactly what I wanted to do.
At the same time this job transition occurred I also went through a break-up. I had never felt so alone; I used to work from home most days with my ex-boyfriend. In one week I lost a job and a comrade.
Relationships come into your life for a purpose. I am thankful to have learned a lot from my ex and enjoyed good times.
I was fearful of letting myself down during this transitional phase. There were so many what-ifs.. I worried I was alone too often. I worried I might fail. I worried about a lot about silly things.
I had to be my own coach.
One of my favorite things I said to myself was. “I got this; it’s all funny.”
I reminded myself daily that, “It’s all fun and silly and if “___ (insert negative outcome)___ ” happens, so be it, it will make me stronger and I better laugh.”
The good news is, I crack myself up.
Business and such
It turns out I am pretty good at being my own boss.
It turns out that I very much enjoy my “me time” at 3:30 a.m. when I eat oatmeal, plan workouts, answer emails and listen to Civil Wars Pandora station. Oh yeah, I drink pre-workout then too.
It turns out that I really miss driving all over New England.
It turns out that I figured out how to not only match, but surpass my real-estate development salary with my own business.
Social life (or lack thereof)
Because I teach at 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday and personal train at 6 a.m. on Fridays I can’t exactly be a social butterfly on week nights.
I go to bed early with the aid of Netflix and sometimes Benedryl.
I spent my 24th year thoroughly enjoying Scandal, The Mindy Project, House of Cards and of course, Nashville.
I spent a lot of 23 and 24 feeling lonely. At age 23 it was because I lived in airports (78 flights in one five month stint), and at 24 it was because I moved to Boston knowing zero people and beginning to date someone early on– it held me back from going out as much as I would’ve if I had been single.
While there were some lonely days I must note that through Barry’s Bootcamp and Cyc Fitness I have made some incredible friends who are incredibly supportive.
With low-key evenings, I quickly realized that my early morning/early evening lifestyle would bode pretty well for setting my sights on a bikini competition. Because I can’t really go out much during the week, I have little nutritional temptations.
Looking back I do not regret my nights in watching Netflix because it gave me the rest I needed to get up early and coach, time to reflect and the ability to stay on track with nutrition and ultimately place second at my first NPC Bikini Competition.
I was totally OK for me to spend time with me; and I am thankful I did. I learned more about who I am (I am always learning), figuring out where I want to go and how I can help people.
In my 24th year I didn’t travel as much as I have other years and I loved being more of a homebody.
In my 24th year I received my Precision Nutrition certification and my NSCA-PT certification.
I wrote an ebook. (Enter your email on the side bar and you will receive your own copy!)
I decided in my 25th year that I want to finish working on my private pilot’s license.
I decided I will finish my real-estate brokers license in 2016.
I kept in touch with my college friends and am thankful for them.
Nothing ground breaking happened besides realizing I can be my own boss.
Fortunately my friends and family members are healthy.
As for my health, fortunately, I made zero trips to the ER for first time in my life! I typically wind up there for an asthma attack once a year.
I look forward to competing in my second powerlifting meet in January and my second NPC bikini competition in April.
I’m doing back flips once a month to maintain the skill.
I can’t wait to write more articles and help more people.
There are some big things on the horizon as far as products go for Crossroads of Fitness, so stay tuned.
Special Birthday Offer
In honor of trying to help more people in my 25th year, I am going to give a 30% off discount to anyone who signs up for a 12-Week #Daretoeat Program between now and January 1st.
Email me (email@example.com) if you are interested in getting started on a fat loss plan or working on strength goals with me.
I cannot wait to see what 25 brings!
This is an exciting time in my life and I kind of wish I could freeze time right now.
Life in limbo (not knowing where you will live in a year, how your business will be doing or how it will grow) can be an enthralling experience.
The things I can count on are my family members, my obsession with lifting heavy, my friends and my passion for eating oatmeal and Quest bars.