THE BLOG
06/21/2012 07:47 am ET Updated Aug 21, 2012

Never Too Late

In 1995, my life as I knew it changed forever. I broke my back playing high school football and I heard words that still haunt me to this day. Doctors told me that I would never run, work out or play sports again. Instantly, I knew that this couldn't be possible and told the doctors that I would prove them wrong. I couldn't fathom a life without being able to play sports, stay active or work out.

I killed myself day-after-day working out and trying to get back on my feet. I took fitness and exercise to a whole other level because I was determined to recover and regain my lifestyle. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but in the end I made a full recovery because I was so fit and flexible in my core and abdominals. Fitness saved my life. I went on to play college football at Auburn University in Alabama.

My life was back on track, and I was a linebacker/fullback for Auburn University. Then, it happened again. I was re-injured, and for the second time in my life I broke my back. This time I knew that my dream of having a career and life playing football was done.

Instead of tossing in the towel, giving up and heading directly to the couch I decided to continue to make fitness an integral part of my life -- in a different way. My dream as a kid growing up was to play football in the NFL, and since that was taken away from me I had to figure out something else to do.

Sure, I was devastated that was dream was shattered, but fitness saved my life once and it was my turn to help change the lives of others. I stayed positive, motivated and knew that if I couldn't play football anymore that I would help other people achieve their fitness goals. This is how I got to where I am today as a personal trainer. I really dove into my studies, graduated with a degree in health promotions and started my career by helping train other guys on the team.

Today I own my own fitness facility, called Legacy Fit, and my business has grown tremendously because of my dedication to maintain proper fitness and nutrition. I made fitness a lifestyle. A philosophy that I live and preach to my clients is "No Days Off." There is no such thing as a day off when turning your life around, which is why fitness really should be a lifestyle.

For example: A client named Joe Stempien came to me a few years ago with high blood pressure and a desperate need to change his life. Joe referred to himself as 250-plus pounds because after he reached 250 he stopped getting on the scale and let himself go. He lived off of pizza, cereal and soda for many years, and he finally realized his life was spiraling out of control.

Joe came to me for guidance and to help change his life around. He took everything I told him to heart and applied it to his life day after day. In the end it really worked, and Joe saw great results. He made fitness a lifestyle and slimed down to 187 pounds after four months of training and dieting.

Today, I'm proud to say that Joe Stempien has completely transformed his life and now works for me as one of my trainers at Legacy Fit. Fitness saved his life too, and now he has joined me to help share this with world.

The moral of the story is that it is never too late for you to turn your life around. There are many people out there, like Joe, who think that they are too far gone and that there is no hope at this point. Wrong -- I've seen it happen year after year. It is not going to be easy but the whole process starts with you. The next time you think about grabbing a bag of chips and sitting on the couch, remember it is never too late to jumpstart your fitness -- no matter your age, weight, size or workout history.

For more by Manning Sumner, click here.

For more on fitness and exercise, click here.

Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
Life hacks and juicy stories to get you through the week.