Douglas Sham, M.Ed. Health Studies, ACSM-EP-C
From the age of four I was doing some type of sport or activity that my mother had signed me up to do. I remember holding my breath for my first swimming lesson to my first chance at swinging a tennis racket. Even though physical activity was a part of my life, the other half of the equation was not on par. Since my father wasn’t home at normal hours due to work, our dinner time was late. Then, as my mom tried to adapt to the American culture and leave her Chinese cooking behind, my love for french fries and ketchup grew on me; literally.
My road bump came when I started middle school. I went to my doctor for my yearly physical and remember hearing the words that I never knew would mean so much to me today, “your son is overweight by 20 pounds.” He pulled out the BMI chart and showed it to my mom indicating where most of the children in my age group should be and pointing at the area outside that line where I was. It’s interesting how even through I was young still and really didn’t know what that meant, that scene stayed in my mind so clearly like it was yesterday. That wasn’t my turning point though. As I said, I didn’t know what any of that meant and my mom didn’t believe the doctor like all loving parents, they thought their children were just perfect the way they were. The experience that changed my life was during Christmas season. I was getting ready for my evening shower and had taken off my shirt. While waiting for my brother to finish brushing his teeth, I looked at myself in the full length mirror. Out of nowhere I hear my brother break down with laughter. I ask him what was so funny and he replied, “Doug, for Christmas, you could be Santa Claus and an elf!” I had no comeback and it was true. So the very next day, I suited up in layers, stepped outside onto the snowy road and ran up the hill. I continued to add some distance each week till I was consistently running 5 miles a day. I began to love it and with a change in my eating habit, I lost the weight and started to lean out.
I kept pursuing my love of fitness and health by joining sports teams throughout high school where I landed first place in pole vaulting in our division for Track & Field. After high school I ended up majoring in Physical Education at Springfield College to teach children the benefits of physical activity. I went straight into my Masters degree at Springfield and obtained a Masters of Education in Health Sciences. I realized that there was a greater need to promote healthy lifestyle activities to the aging adult population. I had been training some college friends while working on my degrees and I enjoyed helping them get their results they wanted. Since I had the pre-existing knowledge and experience from college, I became a certified personal trainer. To teach people how to stay healthy and the reason to do it was empowering for me. As time went on and I found the value of increasing my knowledge to work with all different populations so I got certified as an Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. My mission is to provide an enjoyable experience through science-based exercise programming to ensure lifelong wellness to everyone.
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