Monday 9 May 2016

Romagna: What fitness means to me

Fitness provides a lot of benefits. To name a few, it provides strength, cardio- respiratory endurance, flexibility, healthy weight and body composition, energy and optimal function of the body. But what does it really provide? I was recently asked that question: “What has fitness provided for you?” Well, fitness has provided me, like many others, with all the above attributes, but it’s been more than just a means to an end; it literally has been my life.
I grew up with a pool in my backyard, and when I wasn’t swimming I was shooting hoops, playing catch, making obstacle courses for my bike and putting on mock football camps in my front yard. When friends weren’t available, I did it by myself. Yes, I even played catch by myself; throwing the football high and far and trying to make the play before it hit the ground.
I was a multisport athlete throughout college and even met my wife on the track — yes, literally on the track.
Although I earned an undergraduate degree in English, I always found myself gravitating toward health and wellness. After my college sports career ended, I continued with martial arts, rugby and bodybuilding all while working in a variety of sales jobs. One day, my boss, who knew my real passion and likely sensed I was not happy, told me, “Go do what you love.”
Since that day, I have been a college strength coach, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, youth coach and for almost 10 years an instructor in the health, wellness and sport program at the University of Dubuque, and more recently the chair of the department.
To say that fitness has shaped my life is an understatement. So, what has fitness provided me?


Every day, I get to share my passion for health and wellness with students in the classroom, clients in the studio and subscribers through my writing. At the risk of sounding cliché: “It’s not work if you love what you do.” At the university, we often talk about vocation and calling with our students. I have found mine.


Because of my experience in fitness, I have been able to share my message everywhere from the Court Reporters Convention to a sixth grade anatomy class, and many places in-between.
I’ve gotten to travel to Miami, New York and Los Angeles, places I likely would have never gone if not for fitness. I’ve met the Incredible Hulk (he’s big) and I’ve met Jack LaLanne (he’s little) and I’ve been able to bring my family to Venice Beach, Calif.


As I stated, I met my wife on a track, and we have never stopped running. Fitness certainly has shaped our family.
My wife is a personal trainer and we have three girls and one boy who all value the active lifestyle. They are involved in track, football, dance, theater, soccer, baseball, lacrosse, hockey and basketball.
And, because of their involvement and busy schedules, they are good students. They, too, value fitness.


Arguably, the most important thing a life of fitness has given me is health. As I tell clients, “Without health, what do you have?” I’m fortunate to be able to lead a healthy, active lifestyle and keep up (for the most part) with my kids. I’m fortunate.
This article isn’t an attempt to grandstand but rather a message to let you know that maybe fitness doesn’t have to be your life, but it can be part of your life and it will certainly change your life.

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