A New World

26
May

A New World

The world is finally catching up. I can see change on the horizon. The days of sacrificing our health for the almighty dollar are coming to an end. A new era of putting our health at the center of our life and living for more time and more memorable experiences is at hand.

You see this has been my mission since opening Live Free. I learned this lesson early in life when everything around me was falling apart. I had just started middle school and my parents were getting divorced at the time. I was short and fat for my age, so my confidence and self-esteem were at an all-time low. I couldn’t control the fact that my parents were getting divorced or how I was treated at school, so I began to look for ways to regain some positive momentum and self-control over my life.

So I did what any 12 year old does when they need guidance, I followed Batman. You see Batman was just a regular guy, but he could beat up anyone in a fight, and looked damn good doing it too. This inspired me to start training like Batman, running, lifting weights, and even taking Kung Fu. Slowly but surely I started to notice a change and so did everyone else. After a few years of training I was bigger, stronger, and starting to command respect. This is when I realized how important it was to build my life around my health. By focusing on my physical health I was able to improve my mental and emotional health at the same time.

Fast forward 20 years and I was at another crossroads. I was fighting professionally and working full time as a firefighter. I would work a 24-hour shift, barely sleep, and then proceed to train 2x a day on my days off. Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, strength and conditioning, you name it MMA fighters train it. This not only began to stress my body out tremendously it also kept me super busy and away from my growing family for most of the day. I had a house, 2 cars, and credit cards up the wahzoo. I was in a job I didn’t like, had very little time with my kids, and a strained relationship with my wife.

I remember driving to the gym one day before training, passing by a park full of parents and their kids playing sports, and thinking what a selfish person I was because I wasn’t out there with my kids. I also began to notice a pattern as a firefighter of people dying of preventable diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. I would try to explain to our patients the importance of taking care of themselves but most of them were too far gone by this point to really make changes. I was burning the candle on both ends but doing very little for my family or the world.

The combination of physical, financial, and mental stress really began to wear on me and I got sick. That is when I realized that even though I was living the “American dream” it was really a waking nightmare. I realized that no career, no house, no cars, and no amount of money were worth more than being holistically healthy and having time for my family.

I realized that all I had was liabilities (things that cost me money), so I was really just working for them, cars, a house, credit cards, etc. I had no assets (things that made me money), businesses, income-producing properties, or investments. That’s when I decided to open my own business. At the time I knew I couldn’t just quit everything, so I did it in steps. The first step was to make my wife happy. I told her to quit her job and join a CrossFit up the street. She had never worked about before and I knew she would benefit from training like I had. I didn’t have time to train her and I knew from a friend that Crossfit would provide her with coaching, programming, and community, all things that would help her stick with her training.

Little did I know how much this one decision would affect our lives. Not only did she get in amazing shape, but she also gained confidence she never had before. Her hard work and determination were on display every day, and people began to notice her. The way you work out says a lot about your work ethic. One day a woman asked her if she wanted a job as a sou chef, working 3 to 4 hours a day cutting vegetables and washing dishes for her catering company. This fit her life perfectly at the time and my wife went all in.

Fast forward a few months and the woman leaves for France, leaving my wife out of a job and clients without their meals, so we decided to open our first business cooking for athletes called Rxnutrition. Now my wife went from being out of shape and hating her job to being fit, feeling great, and having her own profitable business. She had more time, decided who she worked with, and structured her day the way she wanted. Having control of her life totally changed her quality of life.

Unfortunately around this time I began to hit the wall. The lack of sleep from work and being in a constant state of fight or flight from MMA began to tear me apart. I began to wake up every night at 3:30am with a pounding heart. After some google research I decided to seek professional help, and I went to see a naturopath to measure my hormone levels. As you can imagine my hormonal profile was a mess. Everything was upside down and I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Adrenal Fatigue. Adrenal Fatigue is a disease similar to diabetes where your adrenals produce so much adrenaline and cortisol over a short period of time they begin to malfunction. You are tired in the day and wired at night. I had depression, anxiety, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts at my lowest. There is no quick fix for this either, just as it took years to manifest, it also takes years to recover. The first step was to basically lay on the couch for 6 months. So I stopped fighting, stopped Crossfit, left the fire department, and I started my recovery.

This is when I really started to understand what health was. Health is not 10% bodyfat, Deadlifting 500lbs, or having a sub 3 minute Fran. Health is 8 hours of sleep, a good sex drive, balanced training, nutrition, and recovery. More intensity is not always the answer, sometimes you need to slow down to speed up.

That is why I opened Live Free Crossfit. To teach you the lessons I learned the hard way. To guide you towards a healthier, happier, more balanced life. To keep you from those preventable diseases I saw as a firefighter. Now more than ever we are starting to see the power of putting our health first.
This pandemic has put a magnifying glass on all the ways we neglect our health and the consequences of that lifestyle. Without our health we have nothing. You always hear sayings like god first or family first, well I disagree, I see being healthy as paying homage to the gift God has given us. In order to best serve God and our families we need to be healthy.

Being healthy isn’t 60 hour work weeks. Being healthy isn’t waking up with an alarm every day to stuff food down our throats, and rush off to sit in traffic on our way to a job we don’t enjoy to pay for a house we hardly spend time in. Being healthy isn’t waking up your kids early every day to sit in school 8 hours a day for 12 years straight, learning to memorize things they won’t even use as adults.

Being healthy is waking up without an alarm when your body is rested. Being healthy is training first thing in the morning because exercise lowers stress, improves immune function, and enhances cognition. Being healthy is letting your children sleep in and teaching them about nutrition, finances, and community. Being healthy is doing a job you love on your own time. Being healthy is living within your means, and putting new experiences over material wealth.

Living a health first life isn’t always easy. It means figuring out what you love to do and making money while doing it. It means being responsible for your children’s education. It means living within your means and investing your money in yourself. It means short term sacrifice for long term gains. It means zigging when society tells you to zag.
The pandemic has allowed a lot of us to realize that our kids can learn from home, that we can survive on less money, and that our health is our greatest asset. If you learn anything from this experience it should be how valuable your time and health are. Time is the only nonrenewable resource you really have, and putting your health first is the only way to create more of it. So take some time today to think about ways you can structure your life so that you too can live health first.