A journey from a couch potato
to a personal trainer
Learn how I transformed my mind and health.
Hello. My name is Joe Abadilla. I am a NESTA-certified personal fitness trainer who is passionate about helping people to discover the amazing, healthy, happy person that lives within all of us. I do this because I’ve been through my own journey and faced challenges that went beyond weight loss or muscle gain or physical fitness. I have struggled with both health and personal issues along my journey – and have worked hard to convert negative feelings into positive outcomes. It isn’t easy – but it is possible and I try to remind my clients – who I think of as fitness and health partners – that they can do it.
How My Journey Began
In June 2010, I hit a physical and emotional rock bottom. My wife of three years walked out on me. The scale was topping 230 pounds, my cholesterol was dangerously high and the diabetes was now uncontrollable. I was paralyzed with grief, self-doubt and low self-esteem. I came face-to-face with one simple truth – I needed to change my life and refocus all of this negative energy in a way that would actually make a difference. That’s when I forced myself to start living again – this time by focusing my energy on a new, healthy outlet for my emotional pain: exercise. The solution was simple (and cheaper than therapy), so every time I felt lonely, I went for a jog. The weight started coming off and, feeling empowered, I kicked it up a notch and bought my first set of dumbbells. Through lifting and jogging, I was losing 1-2 pounds a week and felt my energy levels improving. But my eating habits hadn’t changed and I could still eat a whole loaf of French bread and drink a full 2-liter of soda in a single sitting. I knew that if I wanted a full transformation, I had to align my eating habits with my new exercise routine. I had read that eating 5-6 small balanced meals a day would boost my metabolism so I tried – and it worked. My weight loss jumped to 2-4 pounds a week and my energy levels skyrocketed.
When my doctor saw the new me for the first time, he did a double take and said, “Seriously!?” His reaction made my day. But more importantly, when my lab results came back, all of my numbers were back in the normal range, especially my blood glucose. It was so good, my doctor took me off of insulin for good. No more twice-a-day injections! Beating diabetes was a huge accomplishment for me, one that will impact the rest of my life and help me maintain a healthy lifestyle going forward. I continue to work out most days of the week and have taken my journey to the next step – trying to gain weight in the form of muscle. It has truly been a transformation but I know it’s an ongoing journey that has no real end. I changed my lifestyle – and I’m not going back.
How I started StartLiveFit
In all honesty, I never set out to be a personal trainer and start my own business. I just wanted to change my own life. But then a friend told me that I should try to help other people transform themselves too. After all, I wasn’t the only one out there struggling. So, after a lot of research, I decided to go for it. I enrolled in the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association Personal Fitness Trainer (NESTA -PFT) program. In August 2012, I passed the certification exam and became a certified personal fitness trainer. I immediately knew this was my calling. I became passionate about motivating and helping my clients reach their goals by teaching both the techniques that I learned professionally at NESTA and from my own personal experiences.
I have since broadened the training program by expanding into a digital format, which allows me to help people who don’t live in my part of the world – or who do live nearby but just struggle to find the time for fitness in their busy schedules. I recognize that everyone has his or her own experiences, goals and motivations, as well as limitations. That’s why I’m expanding StartLiveFit to serve more people in more places. My healthy lifestyle started with my own personal nightmare. Somehow I saw an opportunity to begin a new, better life. I managed to lose weight, change my lifestyle, get off of insulin, become a certified personal fitness trainer, and I am now happy and healthy! I know it’s cliché, but if I can do it, you most definitely can do it too! I’ve been there – let me help!