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You Can Bounce Back. Again

October 16, 2017

Today I’d like to share a very powerful testimony shared by a gentleman called Bill Phillips.

But first, who is he?

William Nathaniel “Bill” Phillips is an American entrepreneur and author, born on 23rd September 1964. He is the author of the most successful fitness book of all times, Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength.

Now that you have an idea who Bill Phillips is, let me allow him to tell his own story.

My Fitness History

My fitness story begins early in my life. I signed up for little league football when I was 9 years old. I was probably the only kid on the team who liked the exercises better than the game. I had more fun doing push-ups, sit-ups, and wind sprints than playing football, so my coach put me in charge of leading calisthenics and exercises. That was my first transformation camp.

As I grew up, I loved to learn about fitness and teach people what I had learned. I paid for my college education through personal training and coaching. I thought I wanted to be a doctor, but in 1990, I started a mail-in personal training business, and my fitness career really took off. From there, it just kept growing.

The first celebrity I worked with was Sylvester Stallone as he was preparing for his role in "Cliffhanger." After I helped Stallone, my reputation for helping stars get muscular for a movie started to grow.

I helped Demi Moore get strong for her role in "GI Jane;" I trained Edward Norton from scrawny to brawny for "Fight Club;" and I've continued to work with my favorite comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, through the years. I've also worked with athletes Karl Malone, Roy Jones Jr., Terrell Davis, Shannon Sharpe, and John Elway. When the Broncos won their first Super Bowl, I was the nutrition and supplement expert for the team.

Along the way, I wrote the books "Body for Life" and "Eating for Life," founded the magazine "Muscle Media," and started the EAS supplement company. I wanted to teach people everything I had learned. I wanted to cross the abyss between knowing and doing. I wanted to share, and that desire has led me here—but my journey hasn't been without hardship.

I made a name for myself by teaching people how to get in shape. I had books, a magazine, and videos that inspired people and taught them how to work out correctly and eat well. But I also know how it feels to get out of shape and to fight to regain your fitness. I have a transformation story, too.

The Fall From Fit

A few years ago, I went to walk downstairs after a home workout. On the first step, I came down with about half my foot on the stair, and my leg was so exhausted from working out that it just buckled. I fell forward, knees first. All I remember is that it sounded like six dry branches breaking. When I grabbed the rail to try to stand up, I found that I couldn't move my legs.

I pulled myself backward up the stairs with my arms and called the ambulance. As I was riding in the back of the ambulance, I was pretty scared. The EMT was more concerned about my neck than my knees because, on a fall like this, I could have easily broken my neck.

Falling on my knees the way I did caused my quadriceps tendon to rupture from my knees. In a way, I had a lucky fall. My legs were the strongest part of my body, and they took all the damage.

After the surgery, all I could think about was how much pain I was in. It felt like burning knives were being stuck into my legs. The doctor said it took five hours to reattach the muscles. They drilled holes in the patella and brought the quad muscle back down to where it should be. I had 500 stitches in each leg.

Then, the surgeon gave me some really difficult news. He told me that if I bent my legs in the next 40 days, I'd be right back in for surgery. So I was put in leg braces that locked my legs out. I was constantly sweating. Everything was really uncomfortable.

I was released from the hospital a couple of weeks later. I lay in my bed at home. I couldn't move; I couldn't even bend my legs. I ate for comfort.

Four months later, I was able to stand up and walk into my bedroom. I looked in the mirror for the first time, and I was devastated. All the years of working out and all the years of knowing what to do didn't mean a thing. I got the message real quick: I wasn't special. I was just like everybody else.

Back To Fit

Imagine being Bill Phillips. You've written books and have millions of people doing your fitness programs, and then you look in a mirror and see an unfit, weak, sad person. When I looked into the mirror, I got pissed off. I looked at myself and I said, "To hell with this. I'm not doing this anymore." I made the decision right then and there that I was going to work.

I immediately started to take action. I went to the kitchen and took out all of the junk food. I got out a trash can and I started throwing that stuff away. It made me feel better.

A couple days later, I was able to get my walker into the gym. I did some Frankenstien curls. I wasn't really starting a program; I was just seeing what I could do. Getting the dumbbells back in my hands was like taking a pain medication and antidepressant at the same time. I love lifting weights, and I was excited that I was getting close to a time when I could actually train.

As I went through my transformation over the next several months, I planned every meal and every workout. Each day that I went to the sports center and ate healthy was a win. Slowly but surely, I regained my fitness.



It's always humbling to look at my "before" photo. My body is just like everyone else's; with inactivity, it fell out of shape. But, after a really difficult personal period, I discovered that—even in my late 40s—it's possible to get back on track. I'm here to help you make that same discovery. Regardless of your age, you can get back to fit!

What a powerful transformation journey, I must say. What this testimony teaches us is that no matter how far at the bottom of the rock you are, you can still rise up and stand on top again, far much higher than you were before.

Friends it doesn’t matter how bad things look right now. What matters is that you do not give up the idea that things can change for the better for you. All you need is a small flickering glimmer of light in you called hope. If it is there, then you can bounce back from any depth of bottom straight to the top. Your mantra should be, “the harder I fall, the higher I bounce back to the top”.

What lessons can we learn from this testimony? There are some very key points I’d like to highlight, but as you go back to read this article I am certain you will get more. Here goes:

  • Age is nothing but a number. It doesn’t matter how young or old in age you are; if you love something go ahead and do it.
  • Your passion, your potential and your purpose; where those 3 Ps interlock, that can become a very lucrative business  idea for you.
  • Be consistent in what you do. Consistency paves way for growth and success.
  • Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Unless you step out of your comfort zone you will never grow.
  • Keep learning about what you are passionate about. There are always new levels and new discoveries to be made.
  • Once you learn, teach others what you’ve learned; you learn more when you teach others. Secondly, teaching exposes your gift to others, and it is the easiest way to advertise your expertise.
  • Before you think of starting a business, think of what positive impact you can bring to the society, and that impact will translate into a business idea.
  • Diversify your knowledge by expanding your horizons into different areas of your field.
  • Practice what you teach. In other words, don’t tell people to do what you are not ready and willing to do yourself. People will believe you more when you live and lead by example.
  • Nobody is exempted from life’s challenges. How we handle them is what matters.
  • It doesn’t matter how successful you are, you can go back to zero in a very short time. The good news is that if you already have the life skills you need to bounce back to success, then within a short time you will.
  • What you do today has the potential to impact your tomorrow. What you do consistently will definitely positively or negatively impact your future.
  • When faced by a challenge, admit you have a challenge, then make a conscious and deliberate decision to face it and overcome it no matter what.
  • Knowledge is not power. Knowledge is potential power. It is not until you apply the knowledge you have that the power to change things is activated.

Whatever you are facing in your life today, whatever rock bottom you are in today, if you have hope and determination you can rise again. You can hit the reset button and start again. And for the windows uers, you can apply the concept of Ctrl + Alt + Del.

Be ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.


 PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 15th of October, 2017, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words". 





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