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Fitness Saved My Life...Literally

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

Working out can be a daunting task and often times can be more of a pain to accomplish, especially incorporating it into other tasks of our busy lifestyles of parenthood and household chores. It just seems like there is always something that unexpectedly comes up and prevents us from working out. For my wife and I, this was accurately true.

Let me start off by telling you a bit of my story of how I started my fitness journey. When I was little I dreamed of being a Physical Education teacher and when I became older I joined the U.S. Marines where fitness is an important aspect of the job. I was a "green, lean, and mean fighting machine" but of course the physically demanding training took a toll on my body and I had to live with recurring injuries. What do most Marines do when they get out of the military? They join a law enforcement agency and that is exactly what I did.

I found myself yet again in another job where being physically fit was necessary, but I was also dealing with something much more difficult; depression. I endured many difficult circumstances in the Marines and lost my brother when he was killed serving in Afghanistan while he also was in the military. Unlike the military, most if not all [federal] law enforcement agencies do not have a strict body fat limit. I gained about 50 lbs as I developed a coping mechanism with unhealthy foods. I used foods as a form of self-soothing.

Over the years I gained more weight and slipped deeper into a hole that I couldn't get out of. I reverted to the excuse that "my body is broken from the Marines and law enforcement" so I was physically unable to workout.

In 2015 my clothes weren't fitting me well anymore and I told my wife I needed to buy new clothes. We went to a department store and I could no longer fit into regular clothes, I had to go and try on clothes in the "Big and Tall" section. I felt so defeated and so unmotivated. Even my family doctor told me I needed to lose weight because my visceral fat (fat surrounding the abdominal organs) levels were extremely high. My liver enzymes count were triple what it should be.

As hard as it was for me and it went against my pride, not only as a "man", but as a U.S. Marine and active duty law enforcement officer. I made the decision and hired a personal trainer. I loved fitness so much that I went on and competed in amateur bodybuilding and placed top 5 among other elite athletes. It was wonderful. I had visible abs all year round. One of the most important take aways from this lesson was my eating habits and developing a healthy relationship with food.

I loved the way I looked and felt, of course not during peak-week though (the week prior to going on stage for a show). I felt amazing and I learned fitness habits to maintain my physique. I even went further down the nutrition rabbit hole and started eating plant-based only, then eventually went all-in to become vegan. This was like a focal point for me and being vegan has helped me with my fitness journey.

In 2018, I wanted to dive deeper into fitness and share my passion with others so I went and earned my Certified Personal Trainer credentials with the National Academy of Sports Medicine and specialized in fitness nutrition earning my Fitness Nutrition Specialist certification. It was awesome, I was living out my childhood dream and worked part-time as a personal trainer for a local gym in Manteca, California. Then it happened again...I gained weight...

In 2020 while I was performing my duties at work and I noticed my right leg became doubled in size. I could hardly walk and needed up in a wheel chair to be taken to my car. I went to the hospital and learned that I had a blood clot in my leg and also blood clots in my Inferior Vena Cava (IVC). Well, one of those blood clots broke off and went to my lungs. I had a pulmonary embolism and those are deadly. The doctors and medical professionals had to quickly get me breathing again. I was intubated and moved to the Intensive Care Unit where I was unconscious and fighting for my life for about two weeks or so.

When I came to my senses the doctor explained what I experienced and one of the reasons why I survived was because I was in extremely great physical shape. Once I was conscious I was released from the hospital after a week, but I could barely walk. I needed help to walk again. My body felt like I was hit by a big rig and couldn't do much physically. When I got home, of course I was happy to be alive, but I was helpless. I needed help with everything. I gained weight and fell into another depression. I was frustrated because I couldn't move well and I learned that the doctors basically had to "rotor-rooted" my veins to help clear out the blood clots. They drilled my veins as clean as they could. The aftermath of having my veins drilled was painful. I went from 190 lbs to almost 250 lbs. I had to start over and I did.

I had to dig deep and incorporate this new lifestyle that I have. I had to take my life back and take control over it and not fall victim to my depression. I began every morning with a 20 foot walk and as the weeks passed I was able to walk longer. I then started working out. Simple 10 minute workouts with nothing more than performing squats and toe touches (at the time I could only touch the lower portion of my thigh). I kept at it and started eating more vegetables and fruits. I created my own fitness program that would help me for my needs and I strictly followed it. I sticked to a regiment and here I am today...

As of today I am 200 lbs and living my life to the fullest I physically can and sharing my story with others so they too can have the life they desire. Its not easy, but if you keep working at it and change your mindset of "I can't" to "I can" then you too will have the results. Fitness doesn't start in the gym. Fitness starts with your mindset. Living the fitness lifestyle means to find the motivation to get up and do what you need to do to reach your goals. The first step is to make the decision and second step is to stick with it. As a fitness trainer I will tell you this, trust yourself and change your mindset. As cliche as this may read but "the glass is half-full" and not "half-empty".

If something isn't working for you, change it. What is "it" you ask? "It' can be a number of things. If you're still reading this and got this far, chances are you are still looking for answers. I can't give you answers as your journey is different from mine, but I can tell you that only you can make those changes. I can only guide you. Stay tuned for the next blog post as I will be detailing the tips and tricks I use to obtain and maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Special Note

To get you started on your fitness journey and to serve as a focal point, I have included a link to RK Fit WOD which contains curated workout programs that I have tried and developed. It is completely FREE to you, but you need to promise me one thing. Promise that you will NEVER stop striving to be a better version of you!

I'm ready to work with you when you are. Hire me today for a FREE fitness consultation:

Coach Herman

(909) 532-2455

Virtual Fitness Training Click here to get started with me today!

2 comentarios

Let your journey to healing be a beacon of inspiration to those who say "I can't". For those who do think that sentiment... It's not that you can't, it's truly that you choose not to. It takes work a dedication & most have been groomed into trying to find the easy way. There is NO easy way. Life is hard, so get harder than life!

Peace All


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Herman Hildo
Herman Hildo
31 dic 2021
Contestando a

That is great insight Wizard. I absolutely agree in your statement of "I can't...I choose not to." and believe we, as human beings, are incredibly powerful that we can fall victim to our own self-limiting and self-defining habits, Once again, great insight.

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