Written by: Rocky Rhodes
In January of 2017, My buddy and I made a bet to see who could hit 170lbs first... I weighed in at 194lbs and signed up for my first Crossfit Class in Mid-January at Crossfit Rife. I had never lifted anything before in my life–could barely do 10 squats with no weight, maybe one pull up and couldn't run a mile without stopping for a break. I had 3 kids (4 now!) and wanted to be an active dad that can keep up (not the ‘stressed out, exhausted dad’ I was becoming). I made it to 180lbs in January of 2018 and was frustrated I couldn't lose more, but knew that weight number wasn't the important factor. My body was changing and I decided to keep going with Crossfit because every month I was still hitting PRs (that's new Personal Records for all you non-crossfit folk)! I could squat with weight, do 15 pull ups, run 3 miles without stopping, rope climb... I was amazed at what my body was capable of.
July of 2018, the day before baby 4 was due, I went to the ER with excruciating pain and found out I had Diverticulitis. (that is when your intestines get a pocket and gets torn open... so they say). I sat around drinking chicken broth for a week, watching my baby being born and wondering what the heck I was going to do to make sure I was a healthy dad for my children. I knew it had to be stress; somehow or another I knew I was holding my stress in my gut and I needed it to stop ASAP.
FYI: Don't pass out when you see your medical bills after an ER visit and a birth happen in the same month... but the good news... I hit my deductible for the year and made it my personal goal to find out what was covered by my insurance to fix my body. Hmm... Acupuncture... always wanted to try that... Physical Therapy Sessions... could come in handy.
I called Thrive Proactive Health and asked to schedule an appointment for acupuncture, they asked me why (don't ask me why unless you want a long story). Within a few sessions of Acupuncture, all my intestinal pain was gone, and my stress and anxiety decreased significantly. At the same time, I sat with the physical therapist and she evaluated my body and posture. Within 10 minutes she was able to assess that I had no hamstring strength, no core strength, and from pulling my shoulders back all the time incorrectly (ALL OF YOU THAT SAY PULL YOUR SHOULDERS BACK), I was only breathing out of half of my lungs. Because of this, my body was always in a state of ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ (sympathetic nervous system engaged) and not going into rest and digest (parasympathetic). I, of course, immediately wanted to change this problem, and after receiving my first full breath in (potentially ever), I had to re-learn how to breathe, rest and how to hold my body.
We spent the first month of treatment with 1 or more therapists rib-pumping to let all of my air out and develop an understanding of where my chest is supposed to be posturally. It takes a team of people to change a person–I have worked with every person in that building (I think) and everyone has their talents and expertise. I can not thank them enough for their time, effort and energy. I have been pigeon-toed, flat foot, bad knees and hunched-over-with-no-butt since I was born. Turns out, changing your posture changes everything. Changing the way you hold yourself changes the way you think about yourself and the world.
I spent every week from August to December going in for an hour for Postural Restoration® and did my best to do the exercises every night (well... at least 3x a week). My weight dropped immediately, from 174lbs to 163lbs in 4 months. But again, it wasn't about the weight–I can now move in ways I never could. I can move my hips, I started being able to jump high, run further and even dance!
I don't know where I will go next, but I am really proud of myself and thankful to everyone that has been apart of my journey. While it is far from over, I would not have made it this far without the coaches, cheerleaders, and the support of my family. My kids are 8, 5, 2 1/2 and 5 months old. My goal in life is to be the best version of myself possible. To be the best husband, father and man of God that I can. I strive to be moral, truthful and care about others selflessly, trusting all will work out. Anyone that has watched me over the last 6 months can tell you, I feel like I am just now coming to life. And while I could have kept this story to myself, I hope it can inspire every person that reads it to just go for it... whatever it is... to be the best version of you. Learn to be healthy, learn to be yourself, and learn how to like yourself. You are good!