How Showing Up Can Lead To Victory

I knew it was time. I had no exact plan but I understood what had to be done. I glanced at the clock and it was 11:15 AM. I got up from my desk and proceeded into my bedroom. “This feels so strange”, I muttered to myself.

I opened up my closet and looked for my gym clothes. I slipped on my shirt and shorts as my mind became foggier. I silently told myself over and over again: “Come on, Mike. You can do this!”

As I departed the closet I searched for my gym notebook. That is where I kept all my weekly/monthly workout routines while working out. It has always been a source of organization. Today was different; I had absolutely no plan.

My Upcoming Workout Routine

I knew what workout routine I wanted to start when I got back from my vacation. In order to do that routine, it made more sense to start it on a Sunday or Monday. Not necessarily on a Wednesday. My perfection complexion seemed to be getting in the way of me just getting started.

The routine I wanted to do required me to know exactly how much weight I should be using for each set. This new routine I had been eyeballing had different rep ranges for each set. What if I just focused on figuring out what weights I should be using?

First Day Back

Today was my first attempt to workout at my normal gym since my vacation. I’ve still been suffering from insomnia (See: Sleep Insomnia & My Body Doesn’t Want To Vacation To End) for the past week. No matter how tired I have been, I could never get more than three hours of sleep at night.

My eyes would instantly wake up thinking I had gotten over ten hours of sleep. But it was all bogus. As soon as I would wake up, I I could never fall back asleep. The moment I got out of bed, my body would want to go back to sleep but could not. This vicious cycle just doesn’t want to stop.

I had grown tired of this zombie-like ritual. I just wanted a fraction of my old self back. That’s why I was forcing myself to go to the gym.

Lifting weights on a limited amount of sleep is not a good thing. But I knew I had to do something to get back to being “normal”. I hopped in my car and drove to the gym.

It’s Just Like Riding A Bike

Little girl on her bike with training wheels

Isn’t it amazing how your body and mind tries to resist what use to come so naturally to you? For some it happens when they have kids. From the moment your kids are born, their lives take priority over what you use to do for yourself. One of the first things to go is all of your spare hobbies. If unprepared, one of those hobbies is your exercise routine. What you thought would turn into one week of skipping exercise, morphs into a full year. When you finally wake up and realize this, you attempt to go back to your workout routine. Isn’t it just awful! Anyone that’s been in a delay can relate to what I’m going through right now!

Once I got the gym’s parking lot, my tired body started to perk up just a little bit. “OK Mike, it’s just like riding a bike”. I swiped my card and proceed to walk upstairs to the gyms free weights area.

Up first was the bench press. The moment I slide those 45 lb. weights onto the barbell, old instincts started to come back. I warmed up with no problems. All my haziness seemed to vanquish. I supersetted the bench press with some cable rows. It felt just like old times!

I was careful not to go overboard with those two exercises because I had a full week’s worth of exercises that I wanted to test out. Next up was the upright row, triceps pullover and dumbbell curls. All were done with absolutely no problems!

“You’re doing good Mike. I think the weights you are using is not too far off from what you normally would be able to do!”

Squat Time!

Woman on a smith machine about to do squats

I was super excited! Now came time to test my lower body. The great Vince Gironda designed this routine I was testing out. Vince hated back squats! He always felt that if your goal was to look like a bodybuilder, back squats were not necessary due to them making your hips and glutes bigger! Something he felt that male bodybuilders should not be striving for if looking for a taper physique.

So his routine involved a different type of squat that emphasized the quadriceps muscles. He called it the special squat. For me to do it properly required me to use the Smith machine. Outside of calf raises, I never use the Smith machine.

Of course on the rare day I wanted to use the Smith machines, both of them were taken! “I knew it was too good to be true”, I said to myself. I could wait until the folks were done using them. But for me it wasn’t that serious. I saw both squat racks open and decided I would just do some back squats.

Even though my plan for this day was to figure out the weights needed for my new routine, I’m glad I was smart enough to realize that the real goal for the day was just to get back in gym mode. Doing a few sets of back squat was definitely needed to make me feel confident in working out again!

So I did some back squats supersetted with some chin ups. At this point, my insomnia was kicking in! By my second set I knew I was half the man I use to be! I still tried to do three more sets before calling it a day.

One Step At A Time

As I walked out the gyms door, with sweat dripping from my forehead I felt proud. Yeah, I was not my normal fit self but I had accomplished something on this day. Just this one small step will work wonders for getting me back on track. I still have my 2015 goal to accomplish. It’s days like today that will get me towards never giving up on that goal!

How My Body Desperately Doesn’t Want Its Vacation To End

It’s 4 AM and I’m wide awake. Not the good type of awake either. It’s the type of awake where I only got two hours of sleep. I tossed and turned, but now I am fully awake.

There’s a battle going on inside my body. Two opposite personalities are playing a game of tug of war. There’s Fit Mike vs. Vacation Mike.

Fit Mike knows he has a goal to improve his body. Fit Mike knows that his trip is over and that his body needs the proper amount of sleep to get back in shape. The sooner he can get back to his routine the better.

Vacation Mike is still stuck in another time zone eleven hours behind Eastern Standard Time. Vacation Mike enjoyed eating all sorts of exotic dishes. He enjoyed the daily pastries for breakfast. Vacation Mike isn’t ready to just go away.

Whenever I traveled internationally in the past, it always took a couple of days for my body to readjust to being back home. I didn’t always go crazy with my food choices but I normally was forced to eat foods I didn’t eat when in my home.

Eating While Traveling

 

Bangkok Hotel In Thailand Buffet

This last trip I ate about three times a day. That’s not typical for myself when I’m home. I usually eat about two solid meals consisting of a lot of vegetables and protein. Carbohydrates like rice and potatoes are included as well.

During the trip I was having a big breakfast. In Thailand, breakfast included dinner type of foods. You could have mashed potatoes, fried rice, stir-fry and noodles for breakfast.

What a genius idea! We Westerners forget the definition of breakfast is “breaking” the “fast”. Breakfast is nothing but the first meal you have after a period of hours of not eating. Eggs, bacon and coffee do not totally define breakfast in other parts of the globe.

Vacation Mike loved eating dinner type of meals for breakfast. Throw in some French toast, pancakes and occasional croissant and I was in foodie heaven. For almost nine days, that’s how I was living.

Exercise While On Vacation

Despite Vacation Mike eating more goodies than normal, he did share one common thing with Fit Mike. Vacation Mike did some form of exercise every other day. Vacation Mike knew that even he had to do something to keep from going overboard.

Every other day Vacation Mike did some simple exercises. Going into the vacation, Fit Mike did a daily push up and bodyweight squat challenge. The challenge just involved three minutes of pushups followed by five minutes of bodyweight squats every day.

Unfortunately due to lack of sleep, the streak of twenty-five days in a row was broken. Instead of being totally defeated, Vacation Mike started doing the challenge again. He also worked out at a hotel gym. For cardio, there was good ole fashioned walking and swimming in pools.

By the time the vacation was over, Vacation Mike only gained two pounds of junk weight. This pleased Fit Mike. Fit Mike was expecting Vacation Mike to have gained over five pounds and make it more difficult for Fit Mike to lose some fat.

Vacation Over

Once back in the United States, Vacation Mike was suppose to hand the keys to my body back to Fit Mike. All the good vacation memories would stay inside Mike’s mind but it would be time to get back to a normal eating routine dedicated towards Mike goals. That’s what Fit Mike is all about!

On Day One of being back in the United States, my wife and I came back home to an empty refrigerator. We were extremely jet lag but knew we had to get some food. My logical mind wanted Fit Mike to come up with a grocery list to get us back on track.

But reality kicked in, and the jet lag formed a foggy battlefield in my mind. I couldn’t find Fit Mike anywhere! Due to not seeing Fit Mike in the fog, I easily spotted Vacation Mike and asked him what should wedo?

Without hesitation Vacation Mike told us to go get some pizza, wings, and birthday cake (it was my wife’s birthday after all!). One more day of celebration was in order! Sounded good to me!

Two days later it seems that Vacation Mike is still celebrating! Vacation Mike seemed to behave pretty well overseas but now that he’s on US soil, he has had 24/7 access to junk foods.

As I lay awake at 4AM, I’m starting to wonder if Vacation Mike is purposely jacking up my sleep to keep me from feeling normal. My wife and I have been suffering from jet lag pretty severely. We attempted to cook a wholesome dinner two days ago, but Vacation Mike slapped the food out of my hands and demanded more pizza instead.

Don’t Forget Who You Are

Man slapping his forehead

While at the grocery store to get some sweets to go with the pizza, I heard a quiet “don’t forget….” I looked around thinking I had gone crazy. The voice went away so I approached the doughnuts. When my hand touched the box, I felt this instant sensation take over.

In the aisle, there was a mirror. In that reflection I could have swore I saw Fit Mike looking at me with disappointment. “Get yourself together”, I told myself.

As I walked out the store, the cold air made the hairs on my neck stand up. I knew what this sensation was. This was Fit Mike wanting control again. It was not going to happen instantly in that moment, but I know that Fit Mike won’t wait another two days before taking over.

Maybe that’s why I’m awake at 4 AM. There’s a battle going on inside me, and it’s only a matter of time before Fit Mike knocks out Vacation Mike to reclaim his throne!

How Slowing Down Will Lead To Big Changes In Your Body

Every morning you get up. You scramble to get dress. You start brushing your teeth, combing your hair, and putting clothes on. If you have kids you have to spend even more time getting them prepared for school.

You rush through your breakfast. Heck, sometimes you even skip breakfast because you’re trying to hurry up to get to that job that you most likely hate.

While working at our jobs, we’re also in a hurry to get out. The honest reason the majority of us work is for a paycheck. That’s the hard cold truth. That money could be bi-weekly or a future 401K plan. If we could fast-forward our work day, most of us would press that button in a heartbeat at our jobs!

Adam Sandler in the movie "Click" with a remote control

When we read fitness articles all we pretty much care about are the ones that say:
• Get quick results by……
• How to get ripped in seven days or less….
• How to lose fat and still look good naked…..
• How to stop wasting time to get in shape now…..

No wonder we feel rushed. The media plays on our precious emotions. They want to feed the frenzy of our daily rush routines. By rushing we’re going to make irrational discussions. How many good decisions have you made in your life when rushed?

In today’s fast paced society there’s a opposite way of thinking that can really produce results. It involves just one simple habit. Not ten, fifteen or twenty things at once. Just slowing down and focusing on one goal at a time.

That sounds crazy right? Just one goal at a time.

“But Mike, I could be doing 100 push-ups, 50 pull ups, jogging in the evening, eating salads, and drinking three protein shakes a day. Why should I slow down when all the fitness articles tell me to keep going faster and harder?”

The reason is because your fitness media sources want you to spend so much time doing so many things, that you’re never going to stop relying on them. By giving you information overload you’re never going to make the progress you hope to make. That’s why I love the idea of just starting one goal at a time.

It’s amazing how when I decide to slow down and not do too much I actually end up getting better results. They don’t automatically pop up overnight. But when applying the habits one at a time, they make drastic changes over time.

Slow down and focus on improving these three areas of your life for big changes:

Sleep

White sheep asleep on grass
It’s amazing how little sleep we typically get during a work week. The doctor recommended between seven and nine hours of sleep. How often do you actually get seven to nine hours of sleep?

You should focus on sleep for one week straight. I’m sure…no, I’m POSITIVE that once you consistently get seven or more hours of sleep a night, you’ll start to find out that life isn’t as stressful as it has been in the past. Those gym workouts will become much more easier because your body actually had a chance to fully recover.

How about that! You’re actually helping your body by just focusing on one little small minuscule part of your life. We are so use to our bodies going to sleep, that it is easy to forget its importance. Get back in control and get that sleep!

Moving Our Bodies

We have an biological obsession with becoming faster and/or stronger than the other person. That’s why we always want to be doing the latest and greatest movements. What if you just slowed your roll and focus on doing one simple movement a day.

We all know that your body has to physically move to burn calories. This easy understanding of needing to move turns to complication. We end up trying 50 million variations of exercises. All those variations eventually led us to burn out. That’s when our body just doesn’t want to do anymore and shuts itself down.

What if you just simply walked more every day? Or made sure you went up a flight of stairs every afternoon? This small stuff will get you faster towards your results than over complicating your workout at the gym.

Drinking water

water pouring into a glass

Do you actually drink eight glasses of water a day? Do you even really know how much water you actually drink in a day? We all know we should be drinking more water. Not soda. Not Juice. Just plain ole H20.

Despite knowing this, we still get caught up in media marketing of the newest dietary beneficial drinks we should be putting our bodies. For example, let’s say there’s this new commercially produced smoothie superduper drink. Instead of just going with the basics of drinking water we decide to make this superduper drink a major part of diet.

We see advertisements and testimonials about this super-duper drink. You just got to have this drink! What the advertisements don’t show you is that the superduper drink is mostly sugar. Drinking too much sugar leads to fat gain!

By rushing out and going with this fad drink, you’re ignoring a key component of life. Water. That’s what you should be drinking every day. If you just focused on eight glasses of water, your body will thank you by becoming more healthy.


 

Stop making life so complicated. Learn how to slow down and take things one step at a time. All it takes is one good habit to snowball into the dream body you want to achieve.

My 12 Ambitious Goals To Look Good In 2015

Have you seen those Direct TV ads with a celebrity impersonating themselves. A good example is the one’s with Rob Lowe. You have normal Rob Lowe and then you have creepy Rob Lowe.

While pursuing the body you want to achieve you have to make sure you check in with yourself and give yourself evaluations. Those evaluations can be in the form of tracking statistics in a weight loss journal.

You could also keep track inside a spreadsheet that marks down all the workouts you’ve done with in a year. To continually improve it’s crucial that you perform check-ins. If you don’t, you’ll forever be going around in circles with no real progress. You’ll look like the “creepy” or “loser” version of yourself instead of the winner version.

To help keep me on target for 2015, I created twelve goals that I wanted to achieve. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to hit all of them in only one year, but it served as my motivation. Here’s the goals:

Consistent Waist Under 35 Inches

The easiest way to know if your weight loss plan is working is by measuring your waist. I noticed this pattern over the years. It’s definitely not the scale that tells you, it’s your waist!

When I was at my peak in 2010, my waist was slightly less than 33 inches. At that time, I knew that a waist size of 33 inches was not realistic for me to keep in the long term. Remember I was thin but not really strong. Due to me wanting more muscle, I knew my waist would have to be bigger.

On the exact opposite, the largest my waist has ever been was 39 inches. When I looked at my waist numbers over the years I’ve seen it hover around 36-37 inches. That’s pretty far from that super thin 33 inches.

So I decided on a simple target weight of 35 inches as ideal. I knew if I stayed under 35 inches my body would look good without my shirt on. Maybe not ripped status, but “not ashamed” status was fine with me.

Square Powerful Chest

I’ve always had a stronger lower body than upper body. When bodybuilding you want to bring up your strong points to achieve a well balanced body. For me I knew I needed to focus more on my chest.

I always thought of my chest as more round than square. In the comic books you always see the perfectly square chests. It was as sign of power. Getting a square chest requires isolating the pectoral muscles with excellent technique.

Over the years, I noticed that I never felt out my pectoral muscles while doing chest exercises. I just went with the flow. It was time for me to actually think about that muscle moving while lifting the weight.

15 inch Arms

forearm

What guy doesn’t want bigger arms! Like I said previously, I have always had a weaker upper body. When losing weight my arms are always the first parts of my body to thin out. When gaining weight of course my arms are always the last to get bigger!

For years it seems like I couldn’t win so I never really bothered to get them bigger. I would focus on the Big Lifts (Squats, Overhead Press, Deadlifts,Bench Press) and just add some dips and chin ups in as accessory work. That was the entire stimulus my arms would get through the years.

I still think that’s a good idea. A person should get better at the basic lifts if they want to have a well-developed body. But I wanted to grow my 13-inch biceps more. With the bodybuilding templates I would be following they would be getting some direct work, so 15 inches seemed like a good number to reach for.

Seven to Ten Hours Of Sleep A  Night

I had a horrible sleeping experience in 2014. Every since I moved back to Virginia from living in Las Vegas, my sleep habits have been crappy. I know it had to deal with getting up super early to beat the traffic for work. In my Las Vegas lifestyle, I had a more relaxed work schedule.

Back in Virginia, I became too stressed out with the projects I was on. Every morning I would see darker and darker backs under my eyes. I never had that before in my life! I knew it was time to get back to getting 7+ hours of sleep a night. I feel so much more energized when I get sleep. Plus my body looks healthier. It was time to get back to that.

No Chronic Joint Pain (knees, back, spine, etc.)

I’ve had chondromalacia patella for about twenty years. Whenever my knees are in a bending motion I experience pain. So if I’m sitting for long periods of time, my knees hurt. If I try to play basketball, I can’t jump and run as much as I would like because of my knee pain. I’ve learned how to avoid the pain over the years.

I started getting involved in work projects that triggered my chondromalica patella in 2014. Plus I was squatting for personal records at the gym so I would be in pain more often than normal. For 2015, I wanted to make sure I got back to avoiding the pain.

Have Less Than 20 lbs Of Fat On My Body

I use to be obsessed with body fat percentage numbers in the past. I would hear that the ideal body fat percentage for men was under 15%. Other experts would say fewer than 12%. My body fat has always hovered between 13-20% according to my calculations.

I didn’t want to be obsessed over body fat calculations anymore. I just did the simple math. If I had thirty pounds of fat on my body, I wanted to lose half of that which would leave me with 15 pounds of fat.

I would expect a slight rebound effect so I added five more pounds. If my body fat percentage were between 12-20%, reducing my fat in half would get me to under 15% body fat. Nothing complicated.

No Eating Excuses While Traveling

istanbul-airport-13

I had a brutal travel schedule in 2014. There were too many travel sessions in which I would be at the mercy of other people’s schedule. I pride myself on eating correctly while traveling but I was eating like the folks I was working with. None of them wanted to same type of body I wanted, so why should I eat like them?

I wanted to get back to the old me and take control over my eating again. There should be no excuses for eating right while on the road. It’s never going to be perfect, but that still didn’t mean I shouldn’t at least try.

Eat Around 175 Grams Of Protein A Day

This was another easy calculation. My lean body mass was somewhere between 170-180 lbs. If I want to keep the muscle I need to eat an adequate amount of protein. For maintaining muscle I knew I needed approximately 0.8-1 grams of protein per lean mass.

I like to keep it simple and just round it up to 1 gram of protein per lean mass. So 1 x 175 lbs = 175 grams of protein a day I would need.

Eat Vegetables at every meal

If I want to be healthy I got to eat my veggies! I’ve been eating them with every meal for a very very very long time now. So this was a pretty easy goal. Just a friendly reminder to keep doing it!

Make Rice and Potatoes My Main Carbohydrate Sources

I was going to be lifting weights so I knew I would need good carbohydrate sources. Supplement companies make it seem that you can only lose or gain weight by drinking their products. That’s not the case! For more workout fuel I would just be eating whole foods.

When eating whole foods, I prefer to eat my carbohydrate sources. Rice and potatoes are the simplest carbs you could eat. They digest properly and provide the energy needed to replenish your muscles.

Build My Beach Body THEN Get Stronger With That Physique

No big surprise here. It was time to show off the muscles on my body in addition to getting stronger. Instead of chasing both rabbits at once, I wanted to smartly pursue one at a time. This was just a nice reminder of my why for 2015.

No More Yo-Yo Seasonal Eating.

Kids playing with yo yos

Every season I would give into pro-long binge eating weeks. Heck I talk about the fall cravings here. To keep the progress going I needed to make sure that the binge sessions were cut down. I came up with this 2015 plan around the 2014 holidays when I saw how much weight I gained.

All it took was more than two days of treats and my weight jumped up 15 lbs.  I did not want to keep experiencing that every season.

 

 

10 Embarrassing Traits about Mike: High School Years Part 2

I talked about my Elementary and Middle school years in previous posts.  I first started talking about my high school years in Part 1.  Let me finish my trip back into high school with Part 2:

Computer Love

My freshman year of high school is when America Online really took off in America. I was blessed enough that my mom bought me a computer for my Christmas present that year. It had a whopping 100 MB hard drive! My how times have changed.

AOL became my best friend throughout high school. I was always on Instant Messenger reaching out to people. I would be on message boards and chat rooms just typing away!

I even reconnected with a close childhood friend of mine. Remember those days when you had to pay for long-distance?  Chatting on AOL IM took care of that.

I use to be embarrassed with how much time I spent on AOL. I guess that’s nothing compared to how often people use social media nowadays.

A O.G.  (Online Gamer)

Due to my newfound friend called AOL I played a lot of games. My favorite one was Air Warrior. I would play it 12+ hours a day if possible. My weekends revolved around Air Warrior. Who needed friends in the real world!

My buddies were all fellow pilots like myself in Air Warrior. Air Warrior was a way for me to escape the reality of my real world and interact with grown adults. These were grown adults who played video games but treated me with respect.

It was something about being respected and having a normal conversation with people all across the world that drew me to those online games. Those guys opened my eyes up towards possible careers and dreams to pursue. All from a simple game.

Cursed with Pets

Growing up my brother always would have pet fish. When he left the house I was determined to have my own pets. My mom never wanted a dog therefore she settled on me having gerbils.

In my middle school year I had a couple gerbils but they all quickly died. When I got to high school I decided to try and get a pet guinea pig. I loved that guinea pig to death. Sadly it unexpectedly died. That hurt more than the gerbils dying.

Eventually my dad and his family had a Cocker Spaniel they could no longer keep. My mom agreed to that I could have the dog. My dad drove from Cincinnati to Virginia to drop the dog off. I had the dog for less than 24 hours before the dog ran away.

Two months later a animal shelter found the dog. If I could go back in time, I would tell my mom and myself DON’T FALL FOR THE CUTENESS!! RUN AWAY!!!  HE IS EVIL!

Cocker Spaniel
Evil? Who Me?

 

I kid you not when I say that was the Dog from Hell! Being on the road for so long just caused the dog to go crazy. The dog would only use the bathroom inside the house. So almost every day I had to clean up the mess. Additionally the dog would constantly bark and growl at EVERYONE who entered our house. I could never take the dog on walks because he would just go berserk.

I had Scotty for almost a year before we gave him away. It sucked because I always wanted a dog. Little did I know I would get a dog from hell! It was the perfect finale for my pet owner experience during those teenage years.

Avoided Dances

I did not attend one single school related dance. No Prom. No homecoming. I do not feel like I missed out on a life changing moment because I always knew I would do more after high school than in it.

My only regret is just not asking the girls who had crushes on me to the dances. Throughout my childhood, I could spot them out. One of those girls actually asked me to escort her to Homecoming.

I respected the nerves it took for her to approach her crush and actually ask me out. I know our families were expecting me to say yes because I was Mr. Nice guy. Nine times out of ten I probably would have said yes.

But at that moment in time, I was afraid of her thinking that it was more than just a friendship. Because I didn’t want to give false hope I said no.

The weeks leading up to homecoming I felt pretty bad. Due to that situation, I never even thought about asking any other girl to a dance. I didn’t want to look like a jerk.

In my senior year, I did have a girl I thought I was in a long distance relationship with (remember AOL was my best friend!). We were suppose to go to our senior proms together but she broke up with me a month before prom season.

That was a huge uppercut to the gut. The weeks prior to the break up, every time I called she was always hanging out with some guy. I saw the writing on the wall, I was just hoping for us to last until prom before we went our separate ways. Nope, she beat me to the punch!

So with the months invested in that false relationship (looking back I can’t even call it a real relationship), I didn’t even think about local girls to ask to the prom. A couple girls told me they were not going to the prom (giving hints that they wanted me to ask them), but I was so rattled by the long distance break up I never asked. Again, I don’t regret not going to the dances, I just regret not asking anyone that wanted me to ask.

Settled for Average Grades

In high school I underachieved in all my classes. Despite school being extremely easy for me I just never inspired to go above and beyond. I was OK with just getting C+’s and B’s for grades. I never tried to get straight A’s. I knew I was suppose to go to college, so I just did the minimum to get accepted by the average college.

Once I got accepted into college during the fall of my senior year I REALLY stopped caring. Senior year became a joke to me. I took several college level classes that year with the intent on getting college credit.

Once I found out that I wouldn’t get credit due to not meeting the grade criteria, it was a wrap! I took not caring to a whole different level! I showed up to classes and would sleep. I would get F’s on purpose to disrupt my Statistics teacher’s perfect student average grade bell curve (I didn’t like the guy for some juvenile reason). I felt I tried so hard for so long, that it was time for a break.

Little did I know that I was still eligible for several scholarships. Due to being a minority I was involved in special guidance counselor programs. I half listened to the advice and warnings about college scholarship opportunities. One day I got invited to a awards ceremony for Northern Virginia fraternities and sororities.

At this point in my life I had no idea what a fraternity or sorority was. I was completely ignorant to their existence. Apparently I was eligible for numerous scholarships from this group before this award ceremony took place. Additionally there were other local and national scholarships that I could have won if I had applied during my senior year.

I totally regret not trying hard enough in school because it was a slap in my face when I went to college and saw the financial aid they were getting due to grades. I ended up paying more for my education all because I was ok with just being average. The lesson I try and to tell the youth today is always try and do your best. Don’t just settle for being average!