Growing up I was always the last kid picked to be on a team, whether it be sports or just a regular PE class. I was out of shape, not very athletic, and definitely shy. I grew up in an environment where being athletic and liking sports was a necessity. The other boys in my neighborhood would gather together and play basketball, soccer, football, or some other form of team bonding that I was never a part of. I know what it feels like to be the odd man out because I didn't feel confident enough with myself. I was so insecure about my body and my abilities. I just didn't feel like I was good enough, so I stood on the outside and just watched, wishing that one day I could join in. It wasn't until I reached my 20's that I started making fitness a priority in my life. Up until then, it was all about academics. When I turned 21, I had graduated from UCLA and had a good job, but I was always tired after a long day at work, and my lower back and knees were always hurting to some degree. It had all caught up to me. Working so hard on everything except my body was finally taking it's toll. That was the day I finally decided to go to a gym, because I realized something had to change. Once I walked inside, I regressed back to the shy little kid that I used to be; intimidated, insecure, scared. But the trainer that talked to me made everything better. I left there that first day feeling that I had the ability to be better and change. It was a good feeling. After a while, I started noticing all the differences. Everything about me changed; my mood, my body, my spirit. I finally felt good enough about myself to start just being one of the guys, and it had nothing to do with how much I could bench press. That didn't matter anymore. I have since joined several adult sports teams, and now, travel across the US in different tournaments representing Los Angeles in a few nationally competitive leagues. I've made amazing friends and teammates, and have had unforgettable experiences. I've wrestled former Olympians, I've played in the outfield with former MLB players, I've even had Junior Olympians try to teach me how to swim. None of this would have been possible without the hope that my first trainer instilled in me on that very first day at the gym. It was hard and took a lot of time and dedication, but I knew it would be the best thing for me to be active, and I've never forgotten why I chose to make it a priority. Because in the end, it was an investment in me, my life, and my future.