Every Person Has A Story, Here’s Mine
I grew up in Dryden, a small town in Upstate New York. From a young age I always played some form of organized sports, whether it was indoor soccer, baseball, or football. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play them all, and I always appreciated the fact that I was never told that I had to do one sport over another. In high school my two main sports were football and baseball. That’s when I began to train seriously. I was always told that if I wanted to get better, I needed to be in the weight room. I put off any formal exercise program until I started training seriously with my brother at the age of 14 or 15 years old.
My main motivation at the time was football, but as a young teenager I didn’t realize the impact that strength training would have on my life. Everything from my self con
At this point I began to feel like I was missing something in my life. For the first time I realized that I was no longer competing in something. The competition and drive was gone – and it left behind a big void. The spring before my junior year I had a conversation with an old high school friend, who I still have a great friendship with to this day, and he was playing football at St. John Fisher College, a Division III school in Rochester, NY. He mentioned something about going to play football there. I went and toured the campus and fell in love with it. The football team and coaching staff were awesome. I decided that I would attend my last two years of school there and walk on.
That whole summer I trained and worked out for pre-season in August. When camp came, I got my ass handed to me – literally. All that hard work, for nothing. Well, looking back on it now, I was working out like bodybuilder instead of an athlete. You know, typical chest and back, tri’s and bi’s, etc. I was strong but I couldn’t move out of my own way. That’s when my training changed drastically for the first time. I played two years of college football and graduated with a bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies – Fisher didn’t have my major at the time so I worked with my guidance counselor to prepare me for life after school.
I got hired by a police department in my hometown during my senior week – talk about getting thrown into the real world. Here I was thinking that 8 am was early one week and the next I was getting up at 4:45 am to be at the academy by 6 am. While I was in the academy we did some form of physical training (PT) every morning. The first week was a rude awakening – I got my ass handed to me again. I was in great shape, but for football. Back then I was about 225 lbs and when you add all the gear I was around 250-260 lbs. For my frame, that’s just wayyyy to much weight to be walking around everyday. My diet was junk at this point as well. I was on a “see food” diet – you know, you see food and you eat it. It didn’t matter what it was, I ate it with a passion. This is when my training evolved for a second time.
Now, as a police officer I have to maintain some form of athleticism to be successful. To date, I have lost about 45 lb total and completely overhauled my diet – a large part of that was being with my wife (who has a lot of dietary restrictions). After being on the job for eight or nine years and being in the fourth year of owning a gym, I noticed a change in my mood, body composition, my ability to concentrate, and ability to recover from exercise. This wasn’t something that i had given any thought to previously as I had always done those things without thinking twice. So, I went to the doctor and asked that I have a blood panel run, to include a metabolic panel and a comprehensive hormonal panel. The results were surprising, actually. At the age of 28 I had low testosterone. Now I’m not talking slightly low, I’m talking a total testosterone level of 150 nanograms per deciliter! For anyone who knows or has dealt with this before, you know that the normal range is somewhere between 300-1,000 nanograms per deciliter.
How the hell did this happen? The obvious answer at my age, and the first question I got asked w
So the conversation began on how to treat my symptoms and manage the tumor. Well, for starters I have to get an MRI every other year to make sure the tumor isn’t growing – so far so good. However, lying in a tube that is no more than six inches from your face is less than ideal. As for my symptoms, they are up and down and I continue to work with a specialist to keep things in check. Really, the only other option that I have at this point is testosterone replacement therapy. At age 32 I don’t think my wife would be happy camper if we weren’t able to have another baby. So, that’s out of the picture for now.
Now, we are well into my third drastic change in the way that I view training. My goals have changed, and I no longer aim to get as big as I possibly can (we saw how pre-season at Fischer panned out). I am no longer training for a specific sport and I now need to be even more selective on how I train. First and foremost, I train to help those I work with. Really, if I can’t protect them or myself on a daily basis, then when the proverbial shit hits the fan, we are all in big trouble. Secondly, I train to live a long and healthy life for my family. When I am 60 years old I want to be able to do what I want, when I want.
That’s story in a nutshell. Navigating my path and figuring out what tactics work best for me hasn’t been easy, and there certainly have been good times and bad. But, I tend to think I enjoy the good times and learn from the bad. I hope you have gotten some insight as to who I am and what I am about. Writing this made me realize that we are all human and that everyone has their own struggles, albeit different from your own, everyone has them. Only you can choose how you react to them.
I’ll leave you with one final thought. A good friend of mine once told me, “Kyle, you’re going to run out of health before you run out of money.” What are you doing for your health?
Yours in strength,
Kyle is currently a police officer and has served for the past 10 years at a police department in Upstate, NY. In that capacity, he serves as the department’s physical fitness instructor, where he conducts in-service training and teaches at the Police Academy. Kyle is also one of the two explosive detection K9 Handlers for the department.
As the Online Director of Training and Performance for Train to Hunt, Kyle draws from his previous experience as a gym owner to consult with clients to prepare them physically and mentally for the most rigorous of big game hunts.
Most importantly Kyle is a husband and a father of one (a 12-month-old boy). Family is very important to him and he makes it a priority to find work/life balance.