I believe in choosing the path to a happy and healthy life, a path I started down when I was 14 years old.
I lived in a rough neighborhood in one of the roughest cities in the country — Gary, Indiana. One day, Mr. Brooks, who once a week picked up my friend Albert and whisked him away, asked if I wanted to join them. That’s how I ended up at a Boy Scout meeting.
Now, being a Boy Scout in my neighborhood just set you up for bullying. I sat in the back of the room and just listened. Afterwards, Mr. Brooks took us to his house, which included a full gym in the basement. He took off his jacket, and I watched him put powders and liquids and fruit into a blender, listened to the whirr as the blender whirlpooled them into a concoction, and then tasted the cool, smooth goodness of my first protein drink. I thought that was one of the coolest things I had ever seen and tasted.
I came to learn that Mr. Brooks was Albert’s parole officer. For the next eight months, Albert and I spent three days a week in his gym, working out and learning about healthy living. I was already athletic, a star baseball player, but Mr. Brooks showed me something more – the path of healthy living. I never turned back.
Working out just became a part of my life, even while I worked at Chevron as a computer, and then later, a geological technician. Near the end of my career at Chevron, colleagues began stopping by and asking me about my fitness routine. I started training on the side and when I was offered the opportunity for early retirement, I jumped on it and began to do my real job, being a personal trainer.
I researched several gyms and finally realized that if I really wanted to put the personal in personal training, I had to open my own fitness center. I found a facility in a shopping Center, and that’s how Lifestyle Fitness was born.
In 2004, Anita Haque opened a chiropractic office in the same shopping center. We discovered we were on the same page about health and happiness and how to maintain both. But, I had a bit of skepticism about chiropractic treatments. We met over lunch one day to see how we might help each others’ business. I told her I believed in her, but I wasn’t so sure about chiropractic. She said you can’t believe in me, if you don’t believe in what I do.
I liked her passion, so I decided to turn myself over to her. I had learned to get by on just a few hours of sleep each night, I just thought that was the way it was. But after a month of adjustments, I slept through the night.
I started referring my clients to her and she referred her patients to me. I could see that the combination really put people on a path of wellness.
In 2009, Anita and I opened a facility that provides the range of services, chiropractic, fitness training, massage therapy, and nutrition counseling, that gets people on the wellness path and helps them keep themselves there.
Did I mention that I fell in love with her and asked her to marry me? Well I did and she said yes. Its a partnership in life and work. A great combination for a happy and healthy lifestyle.
I knew I didn’t want to be defined by the rough neighborhoods of Gary, Indiana. Mr. Brooks helped show me the way. He taught me how to take charge of my life by committing to a healthy body. I’d like to be your Mr. Brooks and show you how to commit yourself to a happy, healthy life.
Mr. Brooks just kind of disappeared one day. I walked eight miles to his house to see him, but he had moved. I don’t know what became of him, though I heard he became a state senator somewhere in the South. If you come across him, send him to my blog.