How it all got started…
Spurling Training Systems would not be here today without the help of a lot of people. Please take the time to revisit this truly inspiration story on how Spurling Training Systems came about.
As Spurling Training Systems continues to grow, I think it is important for everyone to know me as a person and my reason for starting the business. I give you a fare warning; you might want to have tissues within arms reach!
The supporters today I went to high school with are probably the ones that are most surprised about where I am today. I started high school as a freshman weighing in at about 350lbs. No, that isn’t a typo, 350lbs. I was a large individual, and it never bothered me. I always rolled along with the jokes of being over weight, and never had a problem with it.
Four years of high school went by and I found myself miserable. I never went to my high school prom, or any social event for that matter. The summer after I graduated, I had a life-changing moment. To this day, I don’t know what it was, but I woke up, looked in the mirror, and said it’s time for a change. As the summer went on, I was preparing to attend University of New England (UNE) as a freshman. I had applied and been accepted into the medical biology program. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, maybe physical therapy, maybe medical school, but exercise science never crossed my mind. As the summer went by, I found myself getting addicted to the rush of the gym. I obviously had no clue what I was doing at the time, but it felt great. The pounds were falling off, and as the first day of college approached, I was almost under the 300lb mark.
I started at UNE in September of 2007. I began taking classes for my medical biology program, and found myself miserable going to class. Not the miserable feeling of not wanting to go to class, but the miserable feeling of not doing what I really wanted to do. After about 2 weeks of classes as a medical biology student, I switched my major to Applied Exercise Science. I have never looked back since.
I began gaining knowledge in the field, and actually started to learn what I was doing in the gym. So at this point, not only was I excelling academically, I was getting more and more results in the gym. I went home for Christmas weighing about 280lbs, 70lbs less then were I was 7 months ago when I graduated high school.
As I went through college, I developed my true passion for exercise science. I went to every conference, joined every organization, and read as many books as I could about exercise science and strength and conditioning. I found my future, my passion, and my career in strength and conditioning.
I interned with one of the most well respected performance centers on the east coast, Parisi Speed School. I also was fortunate enough to work receive a great college job as a personal trainer, under the direction of Daryl Conant. That experience not only was full of knowledge, but also confirmed that mentoring kids, coaching, and working on improving the health and performance of all ages was what I wanted to do the rest of my life
As I continued to bust my butt in the classroom, in the gym, and at work, I was seeing amazing results in all three. I had hit the 100lb mark in weight loss, was down to 250lbs, had a killer GPA, and was working my tail off at the gym. As the days flew by with everything going on, life came to a stand still on one Saturday afternoon. I had gone home to Massachusetts for the weekend, as I usually did about once a month. I walked into the house, and was greeted by my parents, per usual. We sat down for dinner that night and I could tell something wasn’t right. Finally, after about 10 minutes of silence, my mom broke down into tears and informed my brother and I that she had been diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. I had two instant reactions. One was the obvious denial, grief, depression, anger, etc. The other was my professional side, I considered my self a health professional, and wanted to help my mom. After a long night of discussion, I went back to school and continued my busy schedule of school, work, gym, conferences, coaching, etc. The exception was my mother was on the back of my mind all the time. I began researching treatments, cures; I was going to cure cancer! Looking back, it was all just a dream, but at the time was my way of dealing with it. As the months went on and my mom got weaker and weaker, I began working with her. I would go from teaching a 16-year-old baseball player how to deadlift, to calling my mom to make sure she got her 3 sets of chair squats in. During those few months my mom fought her battle with cancer, we became extremely close. I was checking in on here nightly, going over nutrition, exercise, rest, seeing what her doctors had to say, etc.
After 6 long months of struggling she finally had to go into a hospital because she needed daily chemotherapy treatments, and was to weak to take care of herself. As I tried to balance my college career, my academics, my work, and my personal life, I finally had to take a step back and focus on what was important. I dropped out of my summer course, took a leave from the gym I was working at, and moved home. I spent all day, every day, visiting my mom in the hospital. Unfortunately, on June 14, 2010, at the age of 52, as my brother and I each held a hand, my mom took her last breath, and lost her battle with cancer.
After spending a few weeks preparing the services, and helping the rest of my family grieve, I moved back to Maine to finish up my last semester of college. I had more drive then ever before, in the classroom, on the field, in the weight room, and in life. I graduated and began my career as a strength and conditioning coach.
I stand here today, with clients ranging from the 16 year old baseball player, to the 45 year old morbidly obese working man, to the 86 year old retired fashion designer, knowing I have been through a lot more than the average 23 year old. I stand here weighing 110lbs less that what I did five years ago. I stand her without a mom to talk to at night. Through all that, I know I am who I am today, because of those experiences.
As I prepare to grow and expand Spurling Training Systems, I do it for one reason, to give back. I not only have the academic knowledge, the degree, and the certifications to support it, I more importantly have the life experiences. As I continue this amazing adventure of self-employment and the life of a business owner, all at age of 23, growing my future, I know these experiences are what brought me here today, and they are what will make me who I am tomorrow. I could go on for days thanking people who have brought me to where I am today but they know whom they are. My family, friends, peers, professors, Heath Pierce, Eric Cressey, University of New England, Daryl Conant, OA Parisi Speed School, East Carolina University, and all of my followers certainly top that list.
I have said from the get-go, I dedicate my business to my mom, because although not here in person, I know she is watching from above. She is guiding me through life with the traits and characteristics she instilled in me as a child.
I want to thank each and every one of you who read my blog, follow me online, use our services here at STS, and support me in life. You may not think it, but I value every one of you. I thank you for supporting Spurling Training Systems, and I will always be here for you.
As always, any questions, comments, concerns, or feedback please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Doug Spurling, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Spurling Training Systems, LLC