Andrew’s (Andy’s) Fitness Journey
Going all the way back to childhood, I was a very active kid, constantly outdoors, growing up by the beach, always swimming and playing in the water. That active lifestyle continued right into high school when I became a year-round long distance runner. Unfortunately, throughout my high school career, I sustained some damage to my knees, took a break from running to do physical therapy/rehabilitation, and when I returned to running a year later, found out the hard way that I had developed exercise and allergy induced asthma.
After taking a break from exercise for several years, I joined a gym and started working with a trainer in my early twenties. I was able to use that experience as a way to learn how to exercise and stay fit despite my asthma. I was making a lot of progress at the time, however, like many people, life includes changing jobs, moving, etc. which led to me falling off the fitness wagon for the next several years.
As time passed and my exercise lapsed, I found my health gradually decline. My diet suffered and I put on a fair amount of extra weight on for the first time in my life. My asthma symptoms got worse, my blood pressure started to become a problem, and by the time I turned thirty, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. It was more than a wakeup call; an MRI showed initial degeneration starting to occur in my lower back and spine. I then spent the next few years struggling with fatigue and battling the side effects from various medicines including some heavy duty NSAIDs and other prescriptions.
I finally made a personal decision to stop the vicious cycle of pain meds, poor diet and lack of exercise. I decided it was time to get back in the gym, build up enough muscle to provide my back and knees with the support they needed and to change my diet to help aide in my overall health and wellbeing. I didn’t want to be a victim to disease and fatigue anymore, I wanted to live life to the fullest. I was thrilled to have Mercedes Club which had recently opened up by my office and provided me with an opportunity to realistically build exercise into my daily routine.
A few years later the results have been absolutely life changing! I am no longer on any blood pressure or pain medications and have found a way to manage my asthma while still effectively exercising. I was just over 170lbs when I joined the Club and at my last weigh-in I was down to 144lbs. During the first few years at Mercedes Club, I was able to make some real progress just starting to exercise and watch my diet, however I eventually hit a plateau. In October of 2015, I started working with my trainer, Jonathan Olivencia, and not only got past the plateau, but really started to see tremendous progress. I’m now in the best shape I’ve ever been in. When we started in October I was still up at 154lbs and 16% body fat. Today I am down to 144lbs and 10% body fat (shooting for 9% by the end of the summer). The work has been hard at times, and like anything in life, there are times when you take one step forward and two steps back, but my takeaway has been to just keep pushing, just keep putting in the work. Showing up is more than half the battle and the reward is how incredible I feel.
I cannot thank Jonathan and Mercedes Club enough! Their constant support and encouragement has meant the world to me and pushed me to continue this fitness journey!
All that said, I have more work to do and more goals to achieve. It is always nice to pause and celebrate the progress we’ve made, however, now it’s time to set my sights on the next set of goals and reaching the next level! Looking forward to the work to come!