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Feb 22, 2017

I’ve known mild depression and extreme anxiety all my life

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As I approach my one-year anniversary with TITLE Boxing Club North Park, I was happy to be given the opportunity to reflect on my experience thus far.

Last October my wife (fiancée at the time) Audrie and I received a two-week Groupon for TITLE as a present from our friend Jaymee. The three of us were immediately hooked and joined on a family plan. We were all getting married in the following year (Jaymee to another friend, if that sentence confused you), so it was a fun way to tackle our pre-wedding workouts together.

I relate to the “diet starts Monday” types. Instead of learning proper nutrition, I was raised on emotional and binge eating, and it is a battle I continue to fight to this day, even now that I know better. Food was both reward and punishment in my household. I played basketball in college, so those bad habits flew under the radar and didn’t catch up with me and the ol’ scale until a few years ago.

Because I’d gotten pretty good at setting myself up for failure, my original hope with TITLE was to miraculously lose a ton of weight and get ripped by round one of class one. Obviously that didn’t happen. In fact, I still wear the same size pants and still have to dig to the nether regions of all clothing racks for the L or XL shirts. (To reiterate, this has nothing to do with TITLE’s workouts and everything to do with my love of cookies).

Something was different about TITLE. Even though I didn’t see the fantasyland infomercial results right away, I didn’t quit or get discouraged or make excuses to stop. Why? Because I freaking loved everything about it.

Suddenly, I wasn’t constantly focused on a number on a scale. Instead, I focused on how physically energized and mentally clear I felt after each workout. I focused on receiving exceptional training and motivation (not to mention genuine kindness) from the staff.

I focused on meeting and befriending other members whose struggles and successes I related to. Not even injuries could stop me (#modifytilidie).

Slowly but surely, my clothes started fitting better. I stopped hating every picture of my arms. I felt more like a blushing bride and less like a squishy sausage in my wedding dress. The fat jiggle I was accustomed to didn’t disappear altogether, but muscles started to jockey for position all over my body. For once in my life, I wasn’t completely consumed by my own distorted and self-destructive body image.

Speaking of completely consumed, now would be a good time to bring up a little something called March Madness. For me, March Madness usually means researching college basketball like I’m going to publish an academic paper on it, sweating over my bracket like I’m diffusing a bomb, getting drunk with my friends like it’s the last time I’ll ever see them again, and yelling at a TV like the players can actually hear me. This year, however, the phrase March Madness took on an entirely different meaning. In honor of the NCAA tournament, TITLE Boxing Club North Park implemented a bracket-style challenge, and for some reason, I made the decision to win at exactly the same moment I made the decision to participate. Choose Your Own Adventure time: you can take the scenic route to discover how I won, or I can just tell you…I won!

As much as I’m still patting myself on the back for that win (it was HARD y’all), the real achievement has been transforming from my own adversary to my own teammate. I have TITLE to thank for that. I’ve known mild depression and extreme anxiety all my life – one feels like treading water with weighted ankles and the other like a timed tight rope walk with punctured lungs. These afflictions threaten me like schoolyard bullies on the daily, but TITLE’s classes gave me a way to defend myself against my own mental wrath. Sure, feeling physically lighter is always something to get excited about. But reducing some of the emotional and mental weight I’ve been carrying around for years is undisputedly the most successful part of my journey with TITLE Boxing Club so far.

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