Song of Myself

Today, I’m going to have a little fun and ease up on being such a tough loving, serious, say-it-as-it-is, straightforward trainer than I know I can be sometimes. I’m going to do something a little bit odd, but fun at the same time, and hopefully this sheds some light onto all of you. I’m literally going to do a Q&A with myself, which will be all fitness related. Driving back to Pittsburgh from my parents’ home in Ohio, I attempted to rehearse this before getting severely side-tracked and talking to myself about a completely different subject. So, without further ado, here is my Q&A with myself.

Question: Todd, you’ve come a long way over the past five years in terms of fitness, but not in the way you envisioned, correct?

Answer: You’re right. I initially wanted to go all out with bodybuilding, but in 2012, men’s physique started to pick up some steam. I decided to switch over to physique, and competed in the division from 2012 to 2015. I like to think of myself as a middle of the road competitor who had ups and downs. Then, I lost interest in competing, which had been dwindling for ages.

Question: What caused that?

Answer: You know, I want to say it was my love for such a wide array of fitness professionals, and I wanted to insert a little bit of each into my own lifestyle. For instance, the Kavadlo Brothers will never step onto a stage, but they’re both built and shredded by simply performing bodyweight workouts. It’s their forte. Joe Donnelly loves doing workouts on a track and football field, and so do I, to this day. I love working out in the gym and still going about my training split, but I really wanted to be more all-around. Furthermore, I wanted to ask myself what the warriors of yesterday did, and I’m not talking about Venice Beach. I’m talking more along the lines of Ancient Greece to the Medieval Times. I wanted to incorporate ancient techniques, in both fitness and nutrition.

Question: You’ve even done their diets, from what I can discern?

Answer: I fell in love with the late, great, never forgotten Greg Plitt’s one solid meal per day extravaganza. Then I followed Joe Donnelly and he introduced me to If It Fits Your Macros, also known as IIFYM. I still follow that to this day. It gives me both peace of mind and allows me to look forward to my food on a daily basis.

Question: Whoa, Plitt’s diet was out of this world! What made you fall in love with that?

Answer: I studied what Plitt did, but I actually combined it with the nutritional habits of another man, former NFL running back Herschel Walker. For me, it would have been what the warriors did eons ago, and I found that fascinating. I literally ate one whole meal a day from 2013 to mid-2014. Sure, I supplemented with Quest Bars and protein shakes during my other five to six feeding times, but what I found was it allowed me to really incorporate a busy schedule. But then I found Joe’s method and my body just responded so well to it. It was the individualization that allowed me to succeed on the plan so well. Everyone has an individual set of macros they have to hit for the day, and he preached on that.

Question: You mentioned it allowed you to really open your schedule. That of fitness and writing?

Answer: (Laughs) At the time, mainly fitness. I started writing Once back in 2010 when I was at Kent State University and went back to it sporadically over the next few years before backing off and starting over. I actually started a workout dynasty with a good friend of mine back then and several members back in my old stomping grounds of Weirton. That was the year my career took off and I fell in love with my job.

Question: I like that! Describe what was going on back in 2014.

Answer: I refer to 2014 as my breakout year in fitness. 2012 was my soft launch, and 2013 was really my rookie year in the industry. Yet, 2014 allowed me to see a wide array of clientele. Not only that, some of my original clients at the time were really beginning to see the fruits of their hard-fought work in the gym pay off. It allowed many of them to set goals outside the club and I believe it set the stage for what was to come in 2015. Yet, I want to remain with 2014 for the time being, because that really was an awesome year, and especially an awesome summer.

Question: Sources tell me you had a good complementary workout partner that year. Describe that.

Answer: She literally rocked, and aspired to be a trainer herself. So of course, it was a great idea for the two of us to train together. I was like, ‘Yeah, sure, let’s train together!’ So, from December, 2013 to August, 2014, we were the dynamic duo not only in Weirton, but we also ruled Wintersville and Steubenville. This was daily, as in seven days per week. Let me tell you, man, if we became a couple, we would’ve potentially spread our influence on the Burgh.

Question: And for a time, it did seem as if it were heading in that direction. What made things fall apart?

Answer: It was a repeat of Cleveland ’95 when the Browns left town. Art left and Al stayed. She left for Pittsburgh and I stayed in the Ohio Valley.

Question: What was that like?

Answer: Miserable, man, just miserable. I made a vow I’d one day live in a more economically affluent area near a large city. I didn’t know at the time if Pittsburgh would have been that city, but it was hot on my radar. Cleveland too, and to an extent, Columbus. But I’m sitting here, back in September, 2014, like ‘I’m still in a small, depressed town, and I feel like I’m being leapfrogged by others!’

Question: How long did that burn in your mind for?

Answer: I knew I’d always leave Weirton, I just didn’t know when. I decided to go back to school and pursue my Bachelor of Science in Wellness and Fitness from California University of Pennsylvania. That was a challenge, since it’d been nearly two years since I’ve taken a class of any kind. But I knew this would set me apart from other trainers, and I made it a priority to get this. It was a mind-set. Nothing was going to stop me and in the past, I was very unmotivated when it came to school work. This time it was going to be different. And it was. I made the Dean’s List in my first semester back.

Question: Amazing, comeback, kid. Speaking of that phrase, elaborate on your manuscript, Comeback Kid.

Answer: It’s just that, a manuscript. Will I ever sell it as a book? I doubt it, because it’s really a demo for readers to understand my writing style, in contrast to Once, which is being shopped to publishing companies. But it’s a great read. The main character’s name is Brock Patrick, and he’s literally everything I am, everything I’m afraid of becoming and everything I want to be. He’s literally my own, personal trinity. Sure, my genre of choice is fantasy, so there is plenty of fantasy in Comeback Kid. I think my followers will love it, and I’ve written sequels. I might shop them to publishers and just add in the original manuscript as a freebie, but for readers out there, they should read it first, or else they’d be lost in the series.

Question: Thank you for the insight. Okay, let’s get back to your roller coaster of a fitness journey. What happened in 2015 and 2016?

Answer: I literally became more career-oriented, and knew where I wanted to be as a trainer. I just had to figure out how to get there, and I had no idea how to do so. But I knew what I wanted, and that’s half the battle. So in 2015, I just kept at it, studying hard, and just playing the waiting game. Only thing was all of my friends and best friends were all in the Weirton Club. The challenge really became whether or not I wanted to really leave there one day. I got along with all of the members and clients, and I enjoyed working with them. The club culture was so good over there, it was literally like a fitness version of the TV show Cheers. You could’ve made that place into a sit-com. Maybe I’ll write a book on it one day!

Question: That would be an interesting read, Todd. So, how tough was it for you to really make the decision to leave?

Answer: In late 2016, I knew I wanted out because I could be satisfied with myself right there and then, but always be stuck wondering ‘what-if’ or I can take the chance and pursue what I sought to pursue back in 2014. Again, I knew what I wanted, but the thought of leaving and starting a new life somewhere else was frightening. Did I really want it or not? Part of me knew the Summer of 2016 would be my final one in the Ohio Valley and in the Weirton Club. I became close to so many different members and clients, to the point to where we made plans to do certain events together, go zombie shooting, have parties, and anything and everything fun you could imagine. I wasn’t always game for them, but when I was, I had a blast. I will say this: 2013 to 2016 were my so-called high school years, the best days of my life. I knew 2017 would be just as fun, interesting, and entertaining had I stayed put, but I knew my best days would be ahead if I left. I knew that although things would be hard, most likely for much of the year, it’s no different than an NFL team gutting their team and entering a rebuilding phase. That’s what 2017 was going to be: a re-building year. But not only re-building, but also relocation. In October, 2016, I announced my intention to relocate.

Question: Did you realize how much of a long, painful process relocation is?

Answer: I thought I did, but I was clearly in the wrong. However, I’m happy I did this, because it gave me something new to experience. I wanted to do it, and yeah, it was scary and I even told myself in the month leading up to this relocation I could back out and remain in my comfort zone. I couldn’t do that, because I knew three, four, five years down the road I’d be kicking myself for doing so and not seeing this move through.

Question: Would you do this all over again if given a second chance? If you could go back to December, 2016, and stop yourself, would you?

Answer: No way! Sure, it was beyond tough to move and even get acclimated to a new, unfamiliar area, but it doesn’t matter who you are or where you go. I like it here. I really do, and I actually love the responsibility that comes with it. Look, I can be Brock Patrick in Timeline One or I can work towards becoming Brock Patrick in Timeline Two. The Brock in Timeline Two is the Brock I want to be and the Brock in Timeline One is the Brock I’m afraid of becoming. I’m no longer outside my comfort zone. I’m back in it, and I want to continue to expand it. I told my friends back in Weirton they’d never be forgotten, because this wasn’t replacement. I wasn’t replacing them. I was expanding. Expanding an empire I sought out to create back in 2014, when it was all just a pipe dream. Every time I would workout, I would think of the day I left the Ohio Valley for good and started fresh somewhere else. In other words, I thought about ‘one day.’ Well, now ‘one day’ arrived, but for many, it doesn’t.

Question: What kind of advice would you give to someone in your former position? Not as a trainer, per se, but just someone dreaming of making things better for themselves yet are stuck in a Valley where opportunity is scarce?

Answer: I’m just one of many stories here. My cousin is in Cleveland and loving every single second of it. I see people from my alma mater, Edison High School, living in and succeeding in all parts of the country. This is more than possible. Sure, you can end up with an everyday job in the Ohio Valley, but never sell yourself short or sell yourself out. Never take the quick, guaranteed money just because it pays more up front if that wasn’t what you sought out to do back in high school. Hold off on settling down and having a family. Focus on you first, and the benefits will come into fruition. Get to where you want to be, and go from there. You will never know what you can be unless you go out there and find out.

Question: Todd, thank-you much for your time and this interview.

Answer: Yes, sir, thank you much for having me on the set.

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