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My Fitness Journey: By Joe Rote

My Fitness Journey
By: Joe Rote

Growing up, sports were always a huge part of my life. As a kid, I was always outside playing or participating in some sort of recreational league. My love of sports continued throughout my childhood and into high school where I participated in Football, Basketball, and Lacrosse. Being a three-sport athlete, there wasn’t ever a time when I didn’t have some sort of physical activity to participate in. I think this is the primary reason why after I finished my senior year of high school, I was awestruck with the feeling of not playing a sport. For the first time in years my summer was wide open, no football conditioning, or passing league practices, or two-a-days in the blistering summer heat.

Like most 18 year olds, I basked in the responsible-free summer that occurred between my high school graduation and the beginning of my college education. It was not until I was on the campus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, that I realized just how big of a role sports had played in my life.

Arriving at school was the first time, I wasn’t surrounded by friends that I was on a team with. Needless to say, during those first couple months of school I felt alone, as most kids do during their first time away from home. I spent that time trying to find a way to fill the void that had been left by the sports that I used to play, and the camaraderie that came along with them. The day I decided to go to the campus recreational center was a day that changed my life. It was then that I was able to begin to satisfy the vacancy that I felt since going away to school. It was then I realized how working out would be exactly what I needed to feel whole again.

Although I played sports in high school, I had never done much serious training. I did what was required for football during the summer, but wasn’t going above and beyond and taking it very seriously. I often think about how odd it was that it wasn’t until immediately after my stint in playing competitive sports was over, that I began seriously training. I have taken a lot of time to reflect on why this was the case, and what I have realized is that training, more specifically weight training, offered me constants in my life when everything else around me seemed to be drastically changing.

When I was at home, I wasn’t forced to find something to create that consistency in my life, I had it with Football. But when I arrived at school, this was exactly what I needed as I was feeling so far away from home. In addition to being something constant that I could always count on, training gave me some tangible short-term goals that I could strive for, another important component of my life that had been missing since my sports career had ended.

Over the past couple of years weight training has transformed me more than I would have ever imagined when I first stepped into the gym, not only physically but mentally as well making me a stronger person both inside and out. Although my time at a new university was a challenge, I am thankful that it helped me to find my love for training, a gift that will aid me in my fitness journey for years to come.

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