Competing in Life, Business, and Races With an Autoimmune Disease

I've suffered from celiac disease and other gastrointestinal issues my entire life. I know there are a lot of silent sufferers out there. I hope this message speaks to and encourages them to be hopeful along the course of their own journeys.

Because of my conditions, I must be intentional with what I put in my body, how I prepare for major feats, and what I do to recover after them. If I don’t, the end result has been rapid weight loss, dehydration, mental health struggles, and way more time spent on the toilet than I would like to admit.

What has been my savior over the decades? Competition.

Maybe you can relate to this, but ever since I can remember, my life was fueled by competition. I’ve been a 4+ sport athlete since the moment I could walk, and as I grew up, my weekdays became filled with carpools from practice to practice and weekends from tournament to tournament.

I became obsessed over sports and competition. ESPN was literally the only TV channel I would ever watch. This passion for competition lasted all the way through college where I thrived as a D3 soccer player.

However, what people on the outside did not know was that this obsession occurred only because it took my mind off the pain and suffering I endured while battling my toughest competition… my own body.

For over two decades of my life I suffered behind closed doors. In between practices, tournaments, and competitions were doctor appointments to try and figure out what was “wrong” with me.

Why couldn’t I gain weight? Why was I running to the bathroom so much? Why did I seem to get sick so often? And the question I most frequently asked myself — why me?

As I got older and my condition got worse, I eventually gave up on believing that I could feel better. Unfortunately, this led me down a path of using alcohol and other substances to numb myself. It wasn't until I applied my competitive mindset I used in sports to the issues I was facing in life that I learned change was possible.

The fact is, like training for sports or competition, suffering is an inevitable part of the human experience. But by shifting my attitude of viewing suffering as a problem to viewing it as an opportunity for growth, I found that I could go from being someone feeling depleted to someone with enough energy to help others reach a new version of themselves.

My goal with this message is to show you how I did it, in hopes that you could do the same for yourself, as well as help those suffering around.

How exactly do I believe you can do this? Instead of viewing suffering as a problem, or as something that will inhibit you like I did for most of my life, challenge yourself to find productive ways to suffer which will add valuable lessons, memories, and relationships to your life. Because this is exactly what sports and competition can do for us!

Grab a friend and sign-up to run a half or full marathon, start training for your first triathlon, or buy a ticket to the next HYROX race.

Think about something that would push you to your limits and empower you to become your best self. This is what competition is truly all about!

What I initially failed to realize throughout all my years of competition was that it was never about the opposing team or player. Rather, it was about the man that competition was teaching me to become.

Competition taught me to implement a gritty mindset and emotional awareness. It helped me realize I needed some type of movement everyday to feel good inside. I learned how sleep and nutrition impacted my performance, not only in the competitive arena but also in everyday life.

And last but not least, the power of community.

Jim Rohn has famously said, "You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with."

So if you truly wish to transform your life, do whatever it takes to hang around other people who deeply value the principles that competition teaches. Surround yourself with those who practice mindfulness, move daily, care about their sleep and recovery, and fill their bodies with nutrient-dense foods. Soon you will find yourself living the same lifestyle that they are.

Fortunately, here in Austin, Texas, I am surrounded by an abundance of human beings who live through these values and principles. They have helped me reignite my competitive spirit, and this is the exact reason I have been able to put my disease into remission and live a life I am finally excited to show up for everyday.

Today, I look back on my life with appreciation for the trials and tribulations that the universe has bestowed upon me. Because when it all gets added up, it’s easy to see that it forced me to fight to become a better version of myself, and that has led me to helping other people become better versions of themselves too.

So if you are someone who is currently fighting a battle that nobody else can see, I want you to know that you have a friend in me, as well as the support of brands like PWR LIFT who consistently work to help the people within their communities find their own fuel and ultimately THRIVE ON LIFE.

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