Erik Salvatore Meijer
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Hello, my name is Erik Salvatore Meijer. I grew up in Pawleys Island, SC. I’m currently a personal trainer certified through NASM with corrective exercise and weight loss specializations, as well as through ACE. I am currently working on my Kinesiology degree in pursuit of a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Sports and physical activity have always been a big part of my life, and no matter what I attempted I seemed to be a natural at it! Graduating high school I even had an offer from a D1 lacrosse program with Presbyterian College, although as a narrow minded youth with little guidance, I wanted to save my eligibility for a stronger program. Even though that decision may have cost me my chances at a lacrosse career, I later moved to DC and that’s where my journey as a personal trainer began; which would prove to have a profound impact on my life! Although my life hadn’t been sunshine and butterflies to this point, I do accredit exercise for saving my life….
When I was a small child, around five years old, my parents went through an extremely high conflict divorce. To the extent that the remainder of visitation exchanges occurred at the police station in order to avoid further altercations. Never mind the actual fighting leading up to the divorce, but the worse part was growing up entrenched in my parents hatred for each other… caught in an ever ensuing battle between my parents trying to get my sister and me to resent the other parent. Most likely in preparation for our chance to choose which parent we want to live with at the age of 16 for the sake of custody payments…. Or it’s possible my parents lacked the self control to not express their disgust for each other; and after years of exposure to this venom, I found myself infected by it.
Growing up in such a heated environment, I felt myself akin to negative emotion which I often expressed through anger and rage. As I grew older, I found ways to mitigate these negative emotions; whether through sports, friends, or even drugs. Finally during my senior year I tore my left quadriceps, and played through over half a lacrosse game ending up with a serious case of compartment syndrome. The following six month recovery period would mark the beginning of my heaviest period of drug use, ranging from cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine, acid, and shrooms. Although it was my prescription for my injury that truly predominated above all, 10mg vicodin that awoken my insatiable desire for opiates.
The problem with opiates is the degree to which your tolerance to them progresses. You start off getting high off two 10mg vicodin, and quickly find yourself requiring two 80mg oxycotin to achieve the same euphoria. Eventually your tolerance progresses to the point of requiring heroin, and then finally shooting it up in order to try to safe some money. Combining the drug use with the depression I suffered from my childhood, I eventually had took a couple attempts at my life. Once I did hang myself, but by a miracle someone came home and cut me down right before I lost consciousness. I was committed and I medically withdrew from college. Although through these several dark years, my strong determination allowed me to never completely succumb to my demons. All this disarray took place over five years of my life, but is limited to two to three week bouts of dependency; with two weeks to two months of sobriety in between using exercise and endorphins to bind those opiate receptors. Exercise saved my life.
Shortly after I was committed, I decided to move in with Uncle in the DC Metro area. I was looking for a gym job in order to avoid paying gym dues, and I was presented with two options; to lifeguard, or to take a training class and begin my journey as a personal trainer… Once I became a trainer my eyes were truly opened to the world of exercise, and I quickly realized how little I had known about exercise up to this point. Once I became aware of correcting muscle imbalances, and the correct form for exercising; my work out capabilities increased tremendously! Not only was I able to enhance my work outs, but I was changing other people’s lives through exercise as well! My skills eventually landed me the opportunity to be brought out to Barbados for six months as a private trainer for one of my clients; I stayed for an additional four months on my own. It was during this time that I truly decided that exercise was my passion, and where I decided I would take the next step professionally, to become a physical therapist. Immediately after I arrived in Barbados, my mom had lost her job, but we decided that I shouldn’t pass up a once in a lifetime opportunity to return home to help her. After my time in Barbados I returned home. It took an additional year until my mom found a job again and I could finally return to DC to continue my education and training.
My favorite exercise of all time is power cleans. This total body exercise is a great way to work on your explosiveness, strength, and cardio all in one. Power cleans can even be combined with front squats, presses, or both for maximum muscle recruitment! My work outs for the week generally go Mon: legs, Tues: chest, Wends: back, Thurs: legs, Fri: shoulders, Sat: arms. I generally try to throw some core exercises in the mix each day doing circuits so I can get some cardio, and Sunday I’ll either rest or do core. Some weeks I’ll shorten it if I’m particularly sore by doing chest/back, legs, arms/shoulders, and some light cardio and core sprinkled throughout. As for diet, I generally eat what I want, granted it’s actually real food. I don’t eat low quality fast food or process frozen foods, eat when I’m hungry, don’t over eat, and try to eat different things every day!
John was a lot of fun, and very easy going to work with. Hs friendliness helped make my first shoot as comfortable as possible. He’s very persistent, and will make sure he get’s the job done. His knowledge about photography allows him to capitalize on even the most inopportune situations, allowing him to capture great shots! It’s good to have someone familiar with the bodybuilding world already; it was helpful having his coaching, while trying to navigate my way through bodybuilding poses for the first time. He was very accommodating, and worked really hard on making our photo shoot a success!