I was born in the mountains of Colorado and grew up roaming the wilderness and attempting to play a number of sports. I made my way through several years of baseball, soccer, and karate early on, but a love for superheroes gave me the overwhelming lifelong desire to be strong. I would faithfully wear my Superman pajamas every night through grade school in the hopes, that if I didn’t miss a night, I would wake up one morning with superhuman strength.
I started lifting weights when I was 14 years old and was enrolled in the weight training elective at my high school. I spent a solid 4 years doing only bench press and curls because chest and biceps were the most important muscles, although I did have one amazing deadlift experience my junior year. I ran cross country and was a sprinter in track all 4 years of high school. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life other than somehow make a positive difference in the world, but when 9/11 happened during my sophomore year, it steered me toward military service.
Upon graduating from high school, I joined the Marine Corps and eventually trained as an Arabic cryptologic linguist. I spent close to 2 years in beautiful Monterey, California in an intensive Arabic program designed to produce fluent linguists, then eventually ended up stationed at Ft. Gordon (an Army base) in Augusta, Georgia. During my time in the military I became intensely interested in bodybuilding – the sport of building muscle just to generally look huge and ripped. I never competed, but bodybuilding helped transition me out of my bench and curls routine into real weight training. Military service helped me mature as a person and taught me many things, and it certainly helped foster my love for exercise and lifting weights in particular, but in the end it didn’t scratch the itch I was looking for in a career. After my 5 year contract was up I went to school for exercise science.
I graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in exercise science in 2013 and was accepted to physical therapy school at the Medical University of South Carolina. During my undergrad I had begun training for and competing in powerlifting, which is focused on lifting a maximal weight in three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. I competed in several small competitions and loved the deadlift in particular, but focusing on just three lifts made me feel stagnant. Upon moving to Charleston to attend MUSC I stumbled across Lowcountry Strength, a small gym in the back of a martial arts studio, and came into contact with my first strongman implements and truly hardcore competitive training.
If you’ve ever seen World’s Strongest Man on tv, you know what the sport of strongman is. Enormous 400 pound giants pulling airplanes with a rope, deadlifting cars, lifting huge rocks up to platforms, and pressing tree trunks overhead. Powerlifting was fun, and the big three lifts will always have a place in my heart, but strongman called to me in a way I’d never felt before.
Over the next three years of physical therapy school, I trained for and competed in many strongman competitions in the under 175 pound weight class. I won a couple, podiumed in a few, and did less well in others. I began to notice a pattern emerging: when an event called for brute strength (i.e. deadlifts, car deadlifts, basically deadlifts in general), I would do well. When it called for quality movement and speed, I would do less well. After being beaten in several strongman competitions by the same Crossfitter who demonstrated precise, efficient, beautiful movement, I began to wonder if there was something I was missing.
In November of 2015 I walked into my first Crossfit gym and never looked back. The community was amazing, the workouts pushed me to places I had never been before, and all the cardio and mobility I’d been neglecting for years were now a priority (shout-out to my peeps at Angel Oak Crossfit!). I have continued to compete in strongman and it is my main interest as a competitor, but Crossfit has changed my life completely and transformed me as an athlete. I earned my Crossfit Level 1 coaching certificate in early June 2018 to further my knowledge of the sport.
As a physical therapist, I firmly believe in the body and nervous system’s ability to recover from injury and adapt to nearly any stressor through movement and exercise. Our bodies crave physical stress and become more robust and resistant to pain and injury with the proper guidance. Throughout my years of training I have experienced a multitude of injuries – broken arms, patellar tendinopathy, multiple sprained ankles, a broken toe, a herniated lumbar disc, sciatica down my leg into my toes, a torn shoulder labrum and biceps (my only surgery), golfers and tennis elbow, a sprained wrist, a torn adductor longus, torn lats – and have found ways to recover and return not only to my previous level of performance and function, but to exceed it. I can use my personal experience with a multitude of injuries and my knowledge of physical therapy and exercise science to help you do the same, and to guide you to become better than you were before your injury.
Physical therapy should not be limited to a typical clinic with a table and rubber bands. The bands have their place, and the table has its place. However, the ultimate goal of physical therapy should be not only to recover from injury, but to make injuries less common in the first place. Made 2 Move provides a unique setting that allows for this idea to flourish where insurance based clinics may be more limited, and this is the reason why I transitioned out of the traditional outpatient orthopedic physical therapy model.
I look forward to meeting all of you and helping you achieve your goals, whether they’re recovering from injuries, improving performance in the gym, or becoming more resistant to injuries before they happen!