My Fitness Journey – A Michael Messana Tale

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No One Said It Would Be Easy

Everyone’s journey with fitness starts at different times of his or her lives. Some start in middle school. Some start in high school. Some start in college. Even some start later on in life, but that is the great thing about fitness.

There is no timeline for when someone has to start their journey.  One aspect of fitness that I have learned over the years is that it takes just as much mental strength as it does physical strength. Some days you will be physically ready to go, but mentally drained from work or just life itself.

There will also be days that you’re physically drained and sore from previous workouts, but mentally ready to go. This is the every day battle with fitness though! This is what makes fitness so rewarding!

Breaking through the barrier to say, “I’m going to keep on going, no matter how sore or tired I am, I am going to get up and move.” It’s easier said than done, but you need to keep that mentality if you want to be successful in the gym, or anything you are passionate about.

Here is how my journey with fitness really began.

Growing up, I was always active and enjoyed playing sports, while also running around the neighborhood every day. I grew up with two older brothers, which made it even better for me. We were very competitive with everything we did, but it was usually more of a competition with Matthew and Mark, due to me being the smallest weighing about the size of a feather.

Fast-forwarding some years, I went into high school at about 5’8” weighing no more than 140 lbs. My sophomore year I grew to 6’2” and gained about 20 pounds, but was still extremely skinny.

I never really worked out besides in my physical conditioning class every other day, but I couldn’t put any mass on regardless of what I was doing. This all changed though when I accepted a scholarship to play Lacrosse at Wingate University.

Freshman 15?

I graduated high school at about 6’3” weighing 175 pounds. This was when I really started to workout. We had morning lifts at 5:30 AM every day, then practice in the afternoon, and more lifts after that. My routine was what made the big change for me.

For the most part, I was eating, lifting, and sleeping. That on repeat for 7 days a week got me in a good flow of working out and I started to really see results.

After my first semester in college, I gained almost 30 lbs. and was stronger than I had ever been in my life. Physically I felt great, but mentally I felt even better. It wasn’t just because of the fact that I wasn’t the tall skinny guy anymore, but because of the passion I felt for fitness after seeing what it could do for me.

Hard work and dedication got me to where I wanted to be, but of course life is going to throw some curveballs at you when everything is going as planned.

I ended up having surgery for tearing my labrum in my hip, which put me out of lifting and running for almost a year. Although this was a big hiccup on my fitness journey, I came back stronger and more motivated due to the extra weight I put on (majority fat).

Harder the Fall, the Stronger the Climb

Fast-forward another couple of years. I transferred and graduated college from N.C. State, and moved back home to Charlotte.

Unfortunately, this was when another hiccup happened in my life, and life really hit me in the face out of no where. Physically I felt fine, but mentally I wasn’t in the right place that I needed to be.

This made me stop really working out and put me in a slump that I didn’t know if I would’ve been able to get out of. I was just eating a lot and trying to cope with some events in my life that affected me a lot more than I thought they would. This is life though.

There are going to be obstacles you have to face every single day. Regardless if the obstacles are big or small, you need to keep on moving and get yourself right, no matter how hard it may seem at the time.

Fast forward some more, I found Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and realized that everything I was facing was just part of His plan, and that I needed to get up, keep moving, and stay motivated to what I was passionate about.

The gym is always where I have felt the most “at home” for many reasons. There is just something about the gridiron feel when you walk into the gym and hear the steel clanking around.

Everyone there is in a different season of their fitness life, and it’s awesome to see the effort and dedication people have towards bettering themselves. It doesn’t matter if you are big or small, the gym is a place where you can focus on YOU and only YOU, and that is one of the main reasons I enjoy it so much.

I’d be lying if I said it’s not rewarding to see a big difference in body change, but it takes time and effort. If there is one thing anyone gets from reading this, it is that fitness is a marathon, not a sprint.

It will take you a lot of time and determination to get yourself where you want to, but it is POSSIBLE. Focus on your NUTRITION and doing 1% BETTER every day! Once there is a routine that you have down pat, you will see how great the fitness life can be for you too.

I am currently about 6’4”, weighing 205-210 lbs. Since college (2017), my weight has fluctuated from 200-220 lbs., which is normal for me based on how I have cutting seasons (losing weight), and mass building seasons (gaining weight).

Once you get a routine that you can stay motivated and dedicated with, you will start to see the difference in how your fitness journey truly can be.

All Gas, No Brakes

I know we are in some difficult times right now with COVID-19, but let’s use this time to reflect, and get ourselves mentally prepared for when the gym’s do open back up. It will be ALL GAS, NO BRAKES! Hope you all are safe and have a great start to the week! 

Let us know if you have any questions regarding your fitness journey. We would be glad to help!

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