When you think back on some of the greatest times you had growing up, what comes to mind?
If you’re like me, it was youth athletics!
There is so much excitement and fun during these times. Kids create such a strong bond with their teammates that can last their entire life. They also come out with so many life lessons.
Speaking from my experience, some of the most passionate and dedicated times in my life have been from the sports I played and the work I put into bettering myself for those sports.
I was a football, hockey and track athlete growing up. Starting from when I first started lacing up my skates at around 6 years old, I could feel the competitiveness come alive! The rush I got from these sports was everything to me growing up and that doesn’t change in kids now.
I was always one of the smaller kids growing up but I was faster than most and I was able to get around people with that speed.
Once I started high school, I notice the size of the older guys on the football field, the track and the ice. I knew I was going to struggle against people that were just physically bigger and stronger than me.
By no means did that mean I wouldn’t try my hardest to take the biggest guy on the other team down but there is only so much a 100-120 pound kid can do against someone that is 40-80 pounds heavier.
At this point my dad and coaches showed me the importance of getting into the weight room to get stronger to perform better against stronger, faster and bigger kids.
At first, I would go in with my older brother during the summer to follow along with the high school weight lifting program, and that was a great starting point for me. I needed to learn the fundamental movements to get stronger and do them right to make sure I didn’t injure myself. But only lifting in the summer does not get you far enough.
By the time my junior football season ended I still wasn’t performing as well as I wanted to. In track, I was disappointed I didn’t make it to the State track meet in the 100m dash. I was about 2 places back from making it at the sectional meet.
That is when I completely dedicated myself to the weight room - working my tail off to become the best athlete I could possibly be. From lifting weights early in the morning to running routes and working agility drills in the afternoon.
After football season I had an even bigger fire burning in me and I fell in love with the process of bettering myself in the weight room! I researched everything I could find in improving my athletic performance. Finding articles on what to do to get faster, what the most effective exercises were to gain strength and then applying that to early mornings or late afternoons in the weight room.
The one exercise I focused a lot of my effort on was the back squat, which I still believe is the best exercise to gain strength, size and speed!
My senior year I hit a 420 pound back squat for 2 reps before track season started and continued to workout and lift in the mornings in the spring during track. Building myself up with the back squat took me from not even making it to State in the 100m dash to placing on the podium at State that spring!
My point in telling you this story about myself is that dedicating yourself to getting stronger and pushing yourself in the gym is going to get you to your goals no matter what that goal is.
Whether you are currently in middle school, high school, or in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or 60’s, it doesn’t matter what your age is.
The gym is a place to work on bettering yourself, giving you the confidence and energy to crush your goals in life! Get to work and keep that fire burning inside of you!