This is Ben Lanier, with Nspyired and I felt it necessary to let you know my story. I think it’s important for you to know why I’m so crazy about fitness and health.
Like most children, by the age of seven, I had determined that I was going to play Major League Baseball, and there’s just nothing else that was important to me at the time. I liked other sports. In fact, I loved other sports. Basketball I liked, but football I loved.
It all started back when I was five, and started playing Tee-Ball, and I fell in love with the game of baseball.
I was just so small my mom and dad wouldn’t let me play football.
But basketball, I loved to watch- never crazy about playing the game and to give you an indication about my skills in basketball…
My mom told me I should find another sport to play.
Looking back you gotta admit it’s a little messed up for your mom to say that.
Just a little side note: When your mom tells you something like that. Don’t hang on. Just quit. That means you suck, and she’s sparing all the time you’re about to waste.
She didn’t tell me that for baseball and if she had, I wouldn’t have listened to her…I loved the game.
….But back to my story, playing baseball.
Little League Baseball, Middle School baseball, I played it…
In High School, I played JV in the 9th grade, and my 10th-grade year, I finally made varsity. I was excited. I was going to be the shortstop that year. I had scouted the whole team, and the shortstop was a senior and graduating so I was up next, but I had one problem.
I knew I needed to get stronger and I was not in a weightlifting program at that time.
THE HIGH SCHOOL DAYS
I’m from Kinston and went to Kinston High School in North Carolina and we did have a weight lifting program, but it was mostly full of football players. And if you know anything about football players, especially in high school, they’re really strong, especially compared to a short scrawny kid like myself.
They used to be in the weight room and all of them seemed to congregate around the weight bench, just bench pressing. But I couldn’t do it, I distinctly remember the barbell hitting me on the chest. So that just wasn’t for me.
I really didn’t have too many people to work out with. So that was my issue. I simply didn’t know what the heck to do, but there was something that I noticed one day.
I noticed the best athlete on the team, he played both offense and defense, quarterback and linebacker. Actually he played baseball a little bit too. He did everything.
But during his time in the weight room he hit every weight in the gym. So from that moment I was like, man, that’s the key. I have to like have a total body workout. I got to do everything.
It’s the right concept, but it’s not the right thing to do– I know. So we’re not going to get into that cause you know, you gotta let your muscles rest and program certain muscle groups, work those certain muscle groups, while other muscle groups rest. So we know that.
But nonetheless, I had some teammates that I would workout with in the off season from baseball and we would go to the batting cages and work on baseball drills and eventually we developed a weight lifting program that was geared more towards baseball.
WARNING TRACK POWER
And that was all I needed right there…
I was already committed to baseball, and I would do anything to get to the next level. But I actually hated lifting weights. I hated how sore I was, but my body started to change.
When that happened that was it.
In my eyes what happened next was amazing, the results on the field started to change. See, I’m a short guy, skinny, no muscles. When I use to hit the ball, it barely made it out of the infield. So I needed to do something and something fast.
So it turned out that weight lifting was my, my savior. And once I started to get those results and, and started lifting weights, my body started to change my shoulders rounded and tightened up. My chest was a little bigger, my biceps, my legs, it really just started to come together for me.
I can remember one day, we’re at practice doing some on field hitting drills and coach said, “Hey Ben, just try and see how far you can hit it”. I took a good swing and it goes to the warning track or it went over, I can’t remember actually, but the only thing I remember for sure feeling strong for the first time.
I needed to see that. I needed to feel strong.
Little did I know, those first years of lifting weights in high school, 11th and 12th grade, my passion for baseball, would eventually develop into a passion for weight training.
It has really changed my life for the better…
It’s given me purpose… It’s been a great stress reliever.
It’s given me confidence and it’s given me a community to turn to.
My victory was that first ball I hit, that almost went out.
After graduation, I was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 47th Round it was so late, it’s not even worthy of mentioning, but I bring it to you because without that weight lifting program, without that weight room, it would’ve never happened. That’s something I’ve always remembered and I absolutely love to lift weights and even today, that’s what I do. Every day after work I get off and I spent an hour and a half in the gym lifting weights. Something just to keep moving.
That’s my story and how I kinda fell in love with working out. Even now in my professional life, that habit of working out has been major. It’s given me a base to fall back on when I get out of sync.
It’s helped me get through some health scares and major life changes. In a couple of weeks here I’ll be welcoming my second child into this world, so that will be yet another adjustment.
WORK-LIFE & HEALTH
I mentioned fatherhood and I love it, but it put a strain on my time and limited my ability to even go to the gym.
But I had the same experience when I first started working my professional career. I just could not work out.
The energy was not there…
I spent so much time working and driving that my eating habits went to the gutter and I gained a little weight.
One day it was time for me to get my annual physical so I went to the doctor. After getting all of the blood work and poking that doctors do, I found out that my blood pressure was elevated, I was getting migraines every day… I made sure to keep a bottle of Excedrin in my truck. Now I know that the culprit for the migraines was my blood pressure.
So anyway during my physical Doc rescheduled a follow-up appointment and gave me a few instructions.
I had to buy a blood pressure cuff, and check my blood pressure twice a day and document it for her to see. She also informed me of my cholesterol at elevated levels. She wanted to give me one more chance to improve these numbers before she put me on blood pressure medication.
I did not want to go that route…
In fact, it bothered me that that was even an option.
But I knew it was my fault. I’d let my environment determine my health and I didn’t do my job to learn what I should be eating. I no longer was in college, I no longer was a college athlete so my eating habits needed to match my activity level.
I was in the gym for 1 hour, compared to 3 and 4 hours of training and baseball practice.
I’m sure a lot of college athletes make that mistake as they transition out of sports.
…But the second thing that she asked me to do was limit my pork intake, limit my lamb intake.
Turkey, chicken, and beef were okay to eat. But I especially needed to drink water and stay hydrated, as I found out I was dehydrated during that visit as well,
I also needed to make sure I ate fruit and vegetables and to leave the junk food alone.
I also added some cardio to my routine to help out.
Happy to say, I have all of those issues under control now, but it’s been a bit of a journey in itself. You learn that so many people are unhealthy because of their belief system or they would rather eat whatever they want.
I’m not judging because I go through extended periods of eating unhealthy. I don’t know the science but it has to be addictive.
So that’s my story. I just think about what fitness and weight lifting and what it has done for me.
Just keep moving!!
Thanks for listening folks.