Hopefully you never have to suffer through a traumatic injury. Hopefully you are blessed with challenges only few and far between. But some of you have already been through the ringer and understand that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. For those fortunate few, you never know when adversity will come knocking at your front door. The dedication it takes to keep yourself in shape and keep your strength after an injury can wear on even the strongest individual.

One of my best friends is an example of what it takes to get it done. Steve and I go back to the days of little league on long summer days in a small town of Connecticut. It was clear from an early age he was a gifted athlete as he excelled in multiple sports. After high school we went our separate ways - Steve going to the University of West Virginia to play football and myself to the US Coast Guard. We both ended up in our hometown several years later trying to figure out the next step in life. We wound up working at a local gym as personal trainers when, one day, tragedy struck and Steve was involved in an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Steve had plans having graduated from college and looking to advance in the medical field. These plans were sidetracked since he had to relearn even the most basic activity of daily living. I was there in the early days of his rehabilitation when he was staying at an inpatient facility. As trying as these times were, his attitude never changed. Always a positive guy with a winning personality, he took on this monumental challenge to succeed in every aspect of his life.

He never used his disability as an excuse. He moved out of state to get his Master’s degree and became a Physician’s Assistant. His travels then brought him to South Carolina where he got married and continues to work just as hard as we did when we were personal trainers just getting started. He recently became a father and won his pro card as an IFBB bodybuilder. He also started his own company called Ability in Me, whose mission is to educate not only people with disabilities but also the general population on how to live a healthy life.

We recently met up and continue to share the same passion for fitness and healthy living. We continue to motivate one another to succeed. Even though we don’t live down the street from one another, we keep in touch and constantly challenge one another to push forward. The days when I feel like doing nothing are not often, as I know Steve wakes up at 4 am everyday just to work out before getting his kids ready before work. I often hear excuses from patients who feel hopeless. They feel they will never recover or get back to doing the things they want to do, yet always complain about how hard it is to do what they need to do every day.

This kind of negative attitude can bring you down a path that my friend Steve and I have been down. If you keep thinking you are a lost cause, you probably are. If you think you are never going to get better, you probably won’t. I don’t pretend to know everyone’s situation, but I do know that staying positive and not making excuses is a good start. One thing my friend Steve has taught me through the years is that anything is possible. Make today the day you stop coming up with excuses of why you can’t. Trust me, you will thank yourself down the road.

Yours in health,

Keith Pacific