When you have to choose between staying at home to use your Xbox and heading out for a gym workout, we know how hard it is for gadget heads like you to unplug. Let us read full story
Today’s guest post is by Jeremy Manning. Jeremy is the partner of Elevation Fitness and Liddy Health Works in West Hollywood, CA. He is also the founder of UpLift Project, which provides affordable, attainable and sustainable fitness services to survivors of abuse, addiction and severe illness. Jeremy’s story is an inspiration to anyone who has struggled with personal demons in their own fitness journey. He can be reached at email@example.com.
I left Flint, Michigan at 17 years old with $20 in my pocket and a backpack full of books, empty journals and some assorted clothing. I’d spent nearly half of my early life contemplating my escape from the abuse and poverty I’d experienced for just as long. I started my journey westward with a traveling sales crew, selling magazine subscriptions door to door. When that didn’t pan out as I had expected, I returned home to Flint for a year before enlisting in the Army where I was stationed in Colorado for three years.
My entire life, up until my discharge, had been spent dreaming of making it to Los Angeles and living an amazing life.
I’d taken a few detours along the way and the scenic route a few times, but as soon as I was released from my service I jumped on the first available bus straight to my friend’s place in Sacramento. It wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be, but it was that much closer and stayed focused on my dreams as I moved to San Francisco where I’d encounter the most difficult drug addiction of my life and subsequently meet the therapist who would change it completely. As my journey back to health began in 2004, I used my military training and fitness program as an essential component to my recovery.
For the year during my recovery program, I had gained a great deal of traction, but it wasn’t until I started studying Tae Kwon Do that things really began to change.
Through rigorous training and a systematic approach to my life as a whole, I incorporated healthy habits into my daily life and began competing in local tournaments to test myself. After several state championship wins, I went on to the nationals and won two gold metals, then to the worlds where I placed third in two of my three events. Short of living in Los Angeles, competing in a world championship in martial arts was one of my biggest dreams and everything changed when it came to fruition. I returned home to San Francisco, quit an administrative job I hated, ended a long-term toxic relationship, and began studying to become a personal trainer, my sites set firmly on the one goal I had yet to accomplish; moving to LA. I worked in San Francisco as a trainer and quickly moved up the ranks among my peers, winning competitions that led to my advanced certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. All the while we celebrated with “ata boys” and shots of tequila.
After three years running my own personal training business I was ready to do what I’d set out to do fifteen years earlier: I sold most of my belongings and headed to LA.
When I arrived in West Hollywood in October of 2008, Elevation Fitness and Liddy Health Works were relatively new to the area, like myself. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful loft space and the inspiring energy from the staff and trainers. For three years I worked as an independent trainer and maintained a steady pace with a handful of clients as I struggled to make my mark in a new city. With a combination of experience from the Army, international martial arts competitions and advanced training from the National Academy of Sports Medicine I managed to hold my own in the industry and saw a good deal of success with my clients.
Still, I harbored an ailing mental illness and a losing battle with alcoholism that I hadn’t yet accepted for myself or admitted to anyone else.
Sure, I found strength in martial arts and used that discipline to break free from a serious drug addiction in 2005, but it would be several years until I realized that I’d simply traded one addiction for another. All the while, I worked feverishly to provide my knowledge and expertise to my clients and maintain a steady income during a severe economic downturn. I managed to keep myself from drowning, but I sure swallowed a lot of water.
As of January of this year, I had been in and out of Alcoholics Anonymous for about eight months.
Its effects were progressively empowering as I began an aggressive strategy to devote my life to helping people achieve positive change in their lives. I had found a new kind of strength in sobriety and in being of service to others through a systematic approach to my own personal growth. I was working on the development of a non-profit organization to reach out to others in recovery until I received a call from my family informing me that my mom had passed away. I was crushed by the weight of the news and thought I might not recover soon enough to keep up the momentum I needed to change my life for the better.
For the moment, everything was on hold and I knew I couldn’t face this alone.
I reached out to John and Deb Liddy, the owners of Elevation and Liddy Health Works and asked them for whatever help they could provide. I didn’t have the strength or the resources to recover from this loss…not alone. Without a moment’s hesitation the Liddy’s and several other staff and trainers stepped in and helped me get home to the funeral.
What I experienced at the funeral some might call a spiritual awakening.
Whatever it was, it changed me. I came back to California determined to live the wonderful life my mom had always wanted for me. I began by launching UpLift Project and expanding its mission to provide affordable fitness to survivors of abuse, serious illness and addiction. Elevation Fitness acquired my training business and we’ve joined forces to develop a comprehensive fitness program focused on performance enhancement, rehabilitation and nutrition. As we’ve shared the same vision to elevate the lives of our clients and lift up those in our community who struggle everyday to find peace and happiness in their lives, we’ve shared the effort to create the first organic wellness center in the country. Today, Elevation Fitness, Liddy Health Works and UpLift Project continue to gain traction in the sports and fitness industry, as well as the recovery community.
Since we joined forces in January, Elevation and Liddy have grown at a rapid rate.
We’re currently developing programs for elite athletes’ performance enhancement, preventing and rehabilitating injuries and for many others to improve their quality of life through proper exercise and nutrition. We have one of the leading fitness programs and facilities in the industry and have become a hot spot for fitness in West Hollywood. We’ve been told our trainers are the best in the business and are contributing to cutting-edge training and wellness programs. We’ve also organized fundraisers to support UpLift Project, as well as consistently contributing to cross-training bootcamps for Team 2 Ends AIDS marathon runners and triathletes. 2011 marks one of the most successful years since our inception and we’re planning to expand our services and facility to include custom meal planning and food delivery, high performance fitness testing, corrective exercise programs for injury prevention and rehabilitation, kinesio taping and so much more. We’ve combined our passion for health and fitness to provide a full-service wellness center and to elevate the lives of everyone we touch. Because you don’t need a reason to treat yourself right! Fitness is the answer to elevate your life!
Thanks to Jeremy for sharing his story! -Kate
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