HOW I USED FITNESS TO CLIMB OUT OF A BLACK HOLE

Written by Marissa Dubolino
Performance360’s First, Original Member

To say I started at P360 as a beginner is a pretty large understatement. Growing up, sports – or really any prolonged physical activity – were not a “thing” for me. In middle school, I found out I had a fairly severe case of scoliosis so I spent a majority of my day (about 22 hours) in a back brace, hoping it would prevent the curvature from increasing as I continued to grow. I used this as my excuse not to put myself out there and try out for sports, so instead hid underneath baggy clothing (it was the mid-90’s – grunge was in!) and listened to angsty alt music with my friends. Within a few years, I had moved on from  Nirvana to ‘Nsync and was able to ditch the brace as it didn’t work as we had hoped.

By the time college rolled around, all I was really concerned with was having as much fun as I could and getting the grades to graduate. Fitness? Not a priority. When I was 21, my orthopedic doctor sat me down with my parents and in no uncertain terms told us that if I did not have surgery to correct my curvature (as it was still continuing to increase), I would be facing some potentially severe health issues down the road. He explained that I would need a spinal fusion, which uses titanium rods, wires and screws to straighten the spine. Then, pieces of bone (taken from my hip) are fused to the spine to hold the hardware in place. My physician warned me not to play any contact sports post-surgery or lift any heavy weights. Of course, at the time, I had no interest in any of that anyway, so that was easy enough.

I used the summer to recover and thankfully, had no negative effects from the surgery. In fact, it straightened me out so I ended up three inches taller! I finished college on schedule and entered the real world.

Unfortunately, shit in life just…happens. When I was 24, my parents passed away within 8 months of each other and somehow in the whirlwind of grief and trying to figure how to really live my life again, I had managed to put on 30+ lbs in about 3 years. I relied heavily on anti-depressants to get me through the days, my performance at work was going down the drain and I was becoming a person I didn’t even recognize anymore. On the outside, I think everyone thought I had it together, but the truth was, I was a mess.

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I came to San Diego in June of 2010. I was 27, and even though I was super excited about starting a new life here, I was also unhappy. Make that fat, not confident and unhappy. Something had to change.

Packing up and moving to new place meant I got to start with a clean slate. I wanted to start things off on the right foot, so making the commitment to get into shape was a priority.

When I first met Dave, he was running P360 as a one man show out of World’s Gym. We trained together for six months and got to know one another, and then he and Pritz had opened the gym in Mission Beach. The classes were small, but I still remember being so nervous and feeling like I was the most out of shape one in the group.

There were days where I would pull into the parking lot with such anxiety that I’d sit in my car until the last minute before the workout started. I kept to myself and quietly pushed myself through the workouts.

My initial goal was to lose 30 pounds. Dave helped me pull my diet together and I committed to doing the daily challenges and always choosing the “fat loss/toning” route. It didn’t happen overnight, in fact, it took about a year, but I finally hit that goal, and It. Felt. Good.

So much so that I wanted to see what else I could do.

I started choosing the strength option in the workouts to really challenge myself and see what I could do. As time went on, I became more confident in myself, no longer sat in my car in fear, and gradually came out of my shell and made friends with people in the gym. I realized that feeling skinny wasn’t something I was concerned with anymore, I loved feeling strong and being capable of doing things that I was told I would never really be able to do. I no longer had to rely on anti-depressants, as my time in the gym became my outlet for anything that was weighing on me. I finally felt like I was “me” again – only just an improved version of me.

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We all have moments in our lives where we can pinpoint the moment where things take a turn. Some of those moments may define who you become.

Six years ago I had no idea that walking through the gym doors would be one of those moments.

In that time I’ve accomplished a lot of goals I set for myself, both in and outside of the gym, but I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that nothing good comes easy. I know now that when life throws a curve I’m strong enough not to fall back on old habits; that I will push through the hard shit and come out of it a better person.

That is how I use fitness to Become More.

Marissa has been a member of Performance360 for almost six years.

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