My experiences with physical training have always been about having fun and pushing limits. Sometimes the people around you try to limit you; sometimes you do it to yourself. Either way if you start to accept those limits they begin to define who you are. One of the things that started happening when I began my training at GRIT was that Steph would watch me do a lift and then suggest I go up in weight for the next set - but more than what I had in mind. She sees past the limits that I set for myself. All the coaches do. The whole place is set up that way. Everyone encourages everyone -- like a team. And it's so much fun. It's a privilege to be training with athletes in a group setting. I get these big grins on my face after a difficult lift and I have the same type of focus and adrenaline going for a good session as I did when I was pitching in a close game. Training for me at GRIT is opposite of the status quo. It's not for everybody, but I am so glad it is for me.
It doesn't come easy. It never has. My freshman year in high school I was trying out for the baseball team and made it all the way until the final cut. I walked off that field feeling defeated and questioned if baseball was still for me. I felt slighted and pissed off. That emotion fueled my efforts for the rest of the year; I was determined to get stronger mentally and physically and trained hard in the gym and on the field to not let that setback define me. And it didn’t. My senior year in high school I picked up yoga and started working more on my training off the field. Pitching is all about flexibility and explosiveness and it felt great weaving yoga and other alternative methods into my traditional strength training. I was determined to keep pushing my limits and having fun. The head coach at University of Houston invited me to walk onto the baseball team and during the fall of my freshman year was my first time training as a team in the large weight room. Our head coach was a fitness fanatic and I was really pushed. I remember during the first month having a hard time recovering after some of our workouts but somehow I kept up with bigger and stronger guys. Everyone was struggling though. I remember guys throwing up a lot. This is kind of funny, but I threw up during my first class at GRIT and knew I wanted to come back. That's kind of weird for a normal person but I liked it because it was hard. I liked it because I was treated like an athlete from day one. Yes, I was an athlete on the baseball field when I was younger but that was years ago. Back then, I was a little obsessed with training. I would practice sometimes for hours on my own after the team practices were over. The classes at GRIT remind me that I am still an athlete. I've actually felt stronger in more ways now than when I was a baseball player. I retired from seven years of professional baseball in 2010 and thought I had put the days of hard team training and being an athlete behind me. Oh, I played slow pitch softball at Kreig Fields for a couple games and even tried a Sunday men's baseball league. But nothing could really match the feeling I got when I started training at GRIT. I dropped weight and started getting stronger immediately. I started lifting heavy weights again, which I haven't done since college. I'm actually lifting heavier now than I ever have. I train MWF, teach yoga on Sundays and I wouldn’t have it any other way.