From Rock Bottom to the Ring

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Sometimes hitting rock bottom is exactly the wake up call we need in order to right our lives and the path we’re on.

Rick Herbert knows what the bottom feels like. And he’ll never go back.

The Austin area trainer grew up in boxing. The sport was his life. He enrolled in the Air Force and planned to continue boxing and pursue a shot at the Olympics until he met his wife and everything, including his priorities, changed. After his time in the service ended, Rick started experiencing sever back issues. This led to four major spine surgeries between 1999-2010, including the first three within a four year span. It was a frustrating blow for the former boxer because, as he recalls, “it felt as every time I recovered from one operation, I’d have to have another and be stuck back to a stagant life.”

Rick sadly recalls getting to a point where he “just gave up.” It was his lowest point, as the fighting spirit he had from boxing was still in him, but buried underneath multiple setbacks. He battled an addiction to pain medicines and gave up on living any sort of an active lifestyle. Rick was wasting his life away sitting on the couch. Finally, after his fourth (and final) back surgery, Rick was sitting on the couch one day and realized he was “tired of being tired.” He reached down deep and tried to find that fighter’s spirit once again, telling himself, “I’m not going to go down like this. Not without a fight.”

So Rick picked himself up off the couch, and one of the hardest things he ever did, stepped back into the gym. Day by day he started to train harder, and get better. “The better I became, the more I started setting goals, eating better, and setting more goals. Mentally, I got my ‘fight’ back.” Rick went on to get his NASCM certification and into personal training. He started at 24 Hour Fitness to learn the trade, business, and work with a variety of clients.

Soon, Rick realized he was developing a strong niche with athletes returning from injury – the seriously competitive who wanted to get back to their best shape. After one year, he quit 24 Hour and set out on his own to train “fighters.” As he puts it, “whether you’re fighting to compete or fighting for a better quality of life, I’ll fight for you if you’re willing to fight for yourself.”

“I wear my Compete Every Day shirt with pride. It’s not just a slogan on my chest. I’ve been down. I’ve had to learn my life is worth competing for and find a way to get it back.”

It’s been a long, hard road for Rick. And one he credits his faith for getting him back on track. “Sometimes bad things happen. We think God has forgotten us, but you see, He hasn’t. He’s never finished with us. Maybe some bad things happen to great people so they can show others how to be great during tough times.” 

It’s a reminder we all need. Life is never over for those who choose to compete and find that inner fighter’s spirit.


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