My life just went down a crazy path, and I chose that life over every person that I cared about, everything that meant anything in my life.
And I took that, like, fast track to this dark bottom where I felt like there was no way out and there was no hope for me.
I grew up in Northern Westchester.
I grew up in a very suburban town.
I played sports as a kid.
I played everything: football, baseball.
You know, I was a gamer.
You know what I mean.
Like most kids, you know, I played video games.
And as I got a little older, I started getting into trouble.
And by the time I was nine years old I was stealing cigarettes from my grandmother.
As a young kid I was already kind of going down a bad path.
Amidst getting into trouble I still stuck with the sports, and probably until I was about 13 years old.
And that's when I started to drink and get high.
That was the thing that I wanted to do most.
By the time I was 14 I quit every sport that I played.
By the time I was 15 years old I was already taking OxyContin.
Getting high every day, taking acid, snorting a plethora of different substances, and just getting blackout drunk.
By the time I was 20 I was completely unable to hold a job anymore.
I couldn't work, stealing from my family and friends, selling drugs, just so I could just keep getting high.
Drugs and alcohol completely took over my life.
There was no more having fun getting high and enjoying life.
That didn't exist.
I reached a point where I truly didn't care if I lived or died.
By the grace of God, you know, I had a moment of clarity.
There were so many times where I was like, “How? How did I get this deep? Selling drugs, hanging out with people who were carrying guns and tons of money around; how did my life become this?” And that's when I was like, “Man I can't do this”.
But, it had such a hold over me I couldn't stop.
So at about 20 and a half years old I reached out for help.
And I reached out to my father and I told him I'm going to die.
I need help.
He helped me get into a facility where I could get some treatment.
I got into a 12-step program.
You know, kind of started my recovery.
And I still, at that point, I didn't feel like I had any purpose.
So here I was, sober, but I still had all these things wrong with me.
I still felt like I had this big hole in me that I needed to fill.
I was always an athlete growing up as a kid, so one of the first things I did was I got into martial arts.
I was like, “Yeah that would be cool” and so I got big into that.
And as time went on with the martial arts training, while I was training for a fight, I was introduced to Crossfit and started doing crossfit.
I got into some competitions and that kind of thing.
Just like small competitions.
And I'd place pretty high at a bunch of competitions but I just wasn't winning.
And I remember, just being so determined driven.
I was like, “I have to win something man, I have to”.
And I started training for this small in-house competition.
I went to the competition, some fierce dudes in there, and I won.
I won and I remember just being so happy.
“I did it man.
I really laid it out on the line.
” At the same time I remember, I remember looking around after that competition, I remember feeling so weird.
Fast forward two weeks, I remember I kept stepping on the scale.
And the scale kept going down, and down, and down.
I lost, like, 15 pounds.
And I remember being face-to- face with my girlfriend at the time, and she looked at me and was like, “You look really skinny”.
My vision started to get really blurry.
I was becoming disoriented and I felt like I was under water.
I felt like I was kind of drunk.
I don't know how I even drove myself to the hospital, but I went.
They tested my blood sugar and my blood sugars were so high they could not even read them on a meter.
So my blood sugars were over 1000.
Within two minutes, my life completely changed.
And I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
I remember sitting there in the hospital bed.
None of my family had arrived yet.
It was just me strapped up to an insulin drip and just being like, “Oh my God.
This is going to completely change my life.
What is going to happen?” All these different things, I knew it was a very serious life- threatening disease.
So, of course I was scared.
I had doubts like, “I'm not going to be the same.
I'm not going to be able to do all the things I want to do in life, ” and all this stuff.
And I realized that this is something that I can really embrace, and, being someone who's already fit, really potentially inspire other diabetics or other people to take their hardships, man, and wear them like a badge.
I still have days where I have anxiety and fear and I feel off, man, and all that stuff.
I still have that stuff man, I'm so human.
But I can honestly tell you that I have not had a bad day, it's got to be like eight years, because my perspective on life has completely changed.
Because I choose not to look at life that way anymore.
I think one of the things, like, my philosophy on training, is to be good at everything.
So I don't want to just do crossfit or just be a bodybuilder; I want do some powerlifting and do a backflip, and then a triple-clap push-up, then jump 50 inches in the air.
That just excites me.
Like, it's just, it's cool, man.
I just want to be the strongest that I can possibly be.
I want to be the fastest.
I want to jump the highest I possibly can.
All this stuff, yoga, all of this, all the stuff is awesome.
You know, we can take something from all of it.
So, like, for me, training style, like, I do everything, man.
I am so driven just to be better, man, to keep helping other people.
Sometimes I need to just chill out because I'm just, like, going, going, going.
Cause I'm, like, fired up, man.
Like, fired up in life.
I was so beaten down as a kid, with the drugs and alcohol, and feeling like I just wanted to die and like I had no purpose.
To be the man I am today, and to be able to share and inspire people all over the world, is incredible man.