We all think we are going to wake up tomorrow and see the difference we dream of everyday come to fruition without actually doing anything to make it happen. This is simply not true. No matter where you are in your journey to a healthier you, there is always a beginning and that beginning requires action, from you.
Where we begin
My journey to a healthier life began in 1997 when I enlisted in the Marines. I was a 17 year old 130 lb 5' 9" senior with zero strength, endurance and understanding of how to achieve my goals. I came from a low income impoverished family with no resources to help guide me along my way. That is when I began to think outside of the box. I knew I had a dream, a goal of a healthier more successful me and the drive and determination to achieve it.
I started with a routine. I woke up early in the morning and walked the neighborhood to build my endurance and commit to my desire to achieve. My morning walks turned into brief spurts of jogging. My brief spurts of jogging turned into sporadic sprints. Before I knew it, my daily walks turned into daily runs. I felt myself changing. I could actually feel the results setting in the farther I ran. I was hooked. I was excited at the idea that I might actually make it in the Marines, as long as I remained dedicated to my plan.
In spite of all my running efforts, I was still at a massive disadvantage. How would I ever build the strength needed to make it through the most intense entry level physical training? How could I possibly maintain and build from a diet based on the free meals I received working my after school job at our local fast food restaurant?
My diet would have to stay as it was. At 130 lbs, I figured I would just eat anything and everything I could in an effort to build and maintain. My strength training, on the other hand, was an absolute necessity. Without access to proper fitness equipment, I was forced to get creative. I found two empty gallon milk jugs and an old broom stick. I filled the milk jugs half way with sand and began to treat them like a couple of dumbbells. I had no clue what I was doing, I only knew I had to do something.
My routine increased. I continued my daily run and incorporated my makeshift fitness equipment. I started with standing milk jug curls, as many as I could, as many reps as I could manage. Next, I took the old broom stick I found and slid the milk jug handles through each handle creating my very first barbell. I laid on my bed with my broomstick bench press creation and went to work. It was certainly not much, and my gains were marginal at best. But I took action, I committed to a goal and I took steps towards it.
My physical fitness routine was modest at best, but effective as I began to learn discipline and hunger for more. Months went by as I remained dedicated to my goal and committed to achieving a healthier life. The big day came quickly. I had graduated high school and was on a bus to Parris Island for Marine Corps. Recruit Training. I was nervous and unsure of myself. But, I was determined to give it everything I had. My preparations were modest and did not feel like they were going to be enough, though I would quickly learn that was not true.
We all start somewhere. We begin with a dream of change, we see an ad and want to live that way, we hear a story of success and wish it was ours. No matter where you start, you have to begin. Yeah, simple concept right? This is where our biggest problems come into play, ourselves. We say, I will start tomorrow. Or, I don't have the money for a gym membership. Or, I don't have time. Or, it's too hard.
Your first step must be to get out of your own way. Get it stuck in your mind that there is no other way to achieve without getting up and doing. You don't need fancy equipment or a facility to get started, you need to be creative. You don't need that negative defeatist perspective, you need to develop your own drive. You don't need hours a day to achieve something great, you need a little time to make your own health a priority. After that, you simply begin.