Since beginning Team Debo for Life, my focus has turned from being a CrossFit trainer at a gym to a trainer for the chronic illness community.

I feel like from the time we are diagnosed, doctors portray the gloom and doom of our disease as if it is a disabling factor to life. Don’t get me wrong – It CAN be very difficult at times. But when you hear, Weight problems. Lung problems. Digestion problems. Diabetes problems. all from the time you are a child, you can easily forget to look at the bright spots in our community and be inspired to say, “If they can do it, why not me?”

zack's nutrition backgroundI am passionate about how I live because I know that I have been able to defy the odds. When my lung functions tanked after college to 28%, and Cleveland Clinic told me that transplant was in my near future at the end of 2011, God looked down, smiled, and said, “I can’t wait to prove them wrong. Now Zack, this is how we’re going to do it…”

I moved from the snowy cold of Ohio to the sunny, salty air of Florida in 2012 and committed to a healthier lifestyle, which improved my lung functions back into the high 30s. But it wasn’t until I discovered CrossFit in 2013 that I was able to bump them up to 45% after just a few short months of “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement”. I quickly took a liking to the new boundaries I was able to push myself to and went on to obtain my Level 1 CrossFit and USA Weightlifting certifications in order to turn my new passion into a part-time job at the gym I was attending.

Lately, my focus has become more on using my knowledge to help the chronic illness community, as well as all levels of beginners, to create this same foundation of healthy living within themselves. Our diseases may cause us to focus more on our health than the average person, but I feel it should be used as a catalyst, not a crutch!