I believe our personal struggles and experiences can become opportunities that ultimately lead us to our callings so we can create great momentous achievements in one’s life and in the lives of others. This is my story.
How I ended up in my current profession comes directly out my personal experience of being very frustrated lost, and angry over my own body’s inability to recover. Around the age of 33, I hurt my back yet again. This left me with 2 herniated disks in my lower back, leaning to the left and unable to stand up straight. I spent the next 3 years of my life crooked and, in my eyes, I was deformed. Then I discovered MAT. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my life was about to change in ways I could never have imagined.
As a kid in California, I discovered soccer as a way to belong. I was a very shy kid and my parents were always looking for ways to get me involved. Once I committed to soccer, I really began to excel at the game which became a great emotional outlet for this confused kid. I basically ended up playing soccer as much as I could, except in the winter when I would lift weights and workout at Nautilus Circuit Gym with my dad.
By my senior year of high school, I was the captain of the soccer team. Once I got to college and started practicing, I began to notice that I was having more chronic injuries, chronic muscle tightness and internal battles within myself. I was constantly pushing through my physical and emotional limits not understanding the signs that my body was giving me. After my sophomore season, I quit the soccer team, and put all my energy into being a college student and constantly exercising.
Then it happen during my winter internship of my junior year of college. I was doing squats with free weights. During one of my lifts, I went down, and on the way back up from the squat, I heard a pop with a brief period of immense pain. The pain went away, but a week later, I woke up experiencing the worst pain ever. At the hospital, I was rolling around on the floor in the waiting room in complete agony. Once I got in to see the doctor on call, they shot me up with morphine. I was 19.
I spent the next two years relying on all different professionals to get me better. After two years of chronic and debilitating pain, I was scheduled for lower back surgery- a bone to bone fusion of my S1/L5 disk. I came out of the surgery still in lots of pain that really never went away. At a follow up in his office 3 weeks later, my mother and I were explaining that I was still not doing well and he said to me, “Well, we will just keep fusing up your spine.” At that point, I walked out of his office and I didn’t realize it at the time, but my journey to find ways to heal myself was just beginning.
For the next 15 years or so, I dealt with such chronic pain and debilitating health problems that it finally got in the way of pursuing my acting career in New York City. I was trying numerous ways to help my situation. In a hot yoga class, I did a backbend and herniated 2 disks in my lower back above my fusion. This is when I became crooked, bent to the left and all hell broke loose in my body and my mind. I was 33.
Facing another possible back surgery, I became self-motivated to find ways to heal myself. I enrolled in a personal training institute, but came out of that school more confused and in more chronic pain. I had been a personal trainer for a couple of years when I met at a national idea conference Matt Bernier who worked for Muscle Activation Techniques™ developer Greg Roskopf. Matt was explaining the philosophy of MAT which completely made sense to me. After he worked on me, I immediately felt an amazing difference! I knew at that moment, I had found what I needed to do to heal myself. I was going to become a Muscle Activation Specialist. I enrolled in the internship in Denver Colorado in 2006. I was 36.
By October of 2008, I opened my studio in downtown Asbury Park, NJ. I began to build a business from nothing using concepts that weren’t in anyone’s frame of reference. I knew MAT had changed my body and for the first time in many years, I wasn’t dealing with unbearable chronic pain shooting down my right leg into my foot. My body had started to change!
But, something still wasn’t right. I started experiencing extreme fatigue, constant allergic reactions of hives and welts all over my body and all-over joint pain that was making it difficult to practice MAT. I was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Yes, I was tired, but there had to be an underlying reason. MAT was teaching me to ask questions and to be proactive when learning about how my body was or wasn’t working. I found a Natural Path who told me that I had a gluten allergy and I had to come to terms with the fact that most of the food I was eating was killing me. I had no choice but to change my diet.
After that, I was feeling better so I started biking but kept injuring myself. Not having access to regular MAT sessions for myself, I needed to create a more mechanically based way for me to exercise. I also began to notice that my clients weren’t familiar with how their bodies worked mechanically. Then I created Core Restore Training System™ and Mechanical Muscle™ to empower myself and to educate clients on how to move correctly. It is a movement training system built on the philosophy that everyone should have a basic understanding of how to move their bodies based in mechanics before poses, exercises and positions.
I am currently on a spiritual journey which is all about self-empowerment and how I can use words to motivate me or hold me back. Everything is interrelated and nothing or no one has all the answers. But we can never stop striving to find the answers to our questions.
Today, I am 46. I practice living in gratitude. I am consistently working on having an open mind and a loving heart. I want to thank my family, friends, clients and especially the love of my life, my husband William Whitefield for supporting me in all my endeavors and helping me become a more positive and loving person every day. Thank you!
– CHRISTOPHER VERDI