The Reason I Push for Our Wounded Military and Veterans

by Anna D

I have briefly shared my story with you about why I decided to become a founding partner of Push Ups for Charity but I feel that I owe it to you to share the whole story. I’ve debated for awhile on whether or not to do so because some it is really personal to me. My hope is to inspire the people who read this to support our troops and hopefully provide a forum for people to share their experiences as well, if they prefer.

Before I tell you my story, there 2 ways you can help this cause. Here they are:

Option #1: Sign up as a participant or virtual participant (do push ups at home or anywhere with this option) and get 20 people to donate $20 to your team which you can do here:

Option #2: Simply donate to the cause by going here:

As I’ve shared previously, my husband, Anthony, served in the Air Force for 6 years. He was stationed at Travis Air Force Base for most of his career but he deployed to the Middle East twice during his service. I distinctly remember both deployments because they also coincide with two of my major life transitions.

Anthony’s First Deployment

Anthony first deployed to Kyrgyzstan for 4 months in 2007. At the time, we have been dating for a year and I just graduated from U.C. Davis, found a new job, and moved from Davis to Walnut Creek. While he helped me move to my new place, he immediately went to Kyrgyzstan for his deployment. I remember feeling very alone after moving to a completely new place and a new job. I didn’t know anyone besides the staff at my apartment office.

Here is a picture I found while rummaging through Anthony’s stuff. He is the 4th guy from the left on the first row (you may click on the picture to make it bigger):

While he was away, I spent my time focusing on my new job and filling any nook and cranny with as many activities as possible so that I’m too busy to stop and think about anything. This was the time when I started going to the gym very religiously (even more than before) right after work even after a 2.5 hour ride on the BART to South San Francisco where I worked. This experience turned out to be a very positive one because I ended up reaching my goal weight of 120 pounds by the time he came back.

But, his second deployment is a completely different story.

Second Deployment to Kuwait

Anthony’s second deployment was in 2009 for a total of 7 months and we have been married for about a year. Before he left, I decided that I would quit my current job as a research analyst and start my bootcamp business. Besides the fact that fitness has become a huge part of my life, I felt that building the new business will keep me busy enough that I wouldn’t have to think about him being away. I was right but I also didn’t expect how much more difficult this deployment was going to be.

Building a new business from scratch is like having a new baby. At least, this is what I thought even though I don’t have a child yet. But, the first several months of my business was very tumultuous and I remember it to be one of the darkest days of my life. It wasn’t because I didn’t love what I did for a living but it was because I didn’t have the emotional and social support that I needed during a time when I most needed them.

I’m sure that a lot of business owners who started their business from scratch, at least at the very beginning, will agree with me that they can relate to the Staples commercial with “Dave” as the main and only character:

I was a one-woman show in 2009. I vividly remember going to Pleasant Hill Park where I held my very first bootcamp session when it was still dark outside not knowing whether my clients would be joining me. There were some days when I did not want to wake up to face reality because I felt so overwhelmed with everything I had to do and no one else to talk to about all the emotions building up inside me. Those dark mornings reflected how I was feeling inside.

What I haven’t told many people until now…

What I’m about to tell you is something I’ve only shared with some very close friends until now. During Anthony’s second deployment, I gained 10 lbs. Yes, I turned to chocolate cake for comfort. There were weeks when I would buy a whole cake and eat it all by myself in a matter of 2 days. To some people who are reading this, you may think that 10 pounds is nothing but to a fitness trainer showing people how to live a healthy lifestyle, I wasn’t the very best example. My whole issue was not even about the weight, I did not feel in control of my emotions and my cravings back then. I was knee deep in my emotions that it was difficult for me to make a conscious decision to just stop this bad habit. So, believe me when I say I understand what some of you are going through on a daily basis because I have been through it several times.

To add insult to injury, Anthony was only supposed to deploy for 6 months. So, imagine how mad I was when he called me and told me that they are extending his stay in Kuwait for another month!

The one thing that saved me a lot during that time was our dog’s companionship, Layla, who is a boxer and lab mix.

I’m sure that my experience is not nearly as sad as some military families who have lost someone they love during their military service but I wanted to share my experience with you so you’ll know exactly why I am honored to be able to support our military and veterans in any way I can. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I used my time wisely to learn more about health and fitness while he was gone and if not for these experiences, I would not be in the position to help many people make life changing physical transformations today. I am also blessed to have a team of trainers who are dedicated to our company missions, Ale and Sean.

Looking back, if all of these events didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I wouldn’t be the person I have become. There’s a saying and I forgot who said but it goes like this, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” and to add to that – a much better person. I truly believe that.

Before I end, I wanted to share with you that it was a scary decision for me to bare my full background about why I support our military and veterans but I encourage you to share what YOU push for in the comments section.

What do you push for?

What (if any) connections to you have to a life of service and/or the military in your own life or family?

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

What causes do you strongly support and why?

I’d love to hear your story.

~ Anna

P.S. I’d also like to ask you to join me in doing some pushups next Saturday May 19th (Armed Services Day) at 10 a.m. at Pleasant Hill Park in honor of our military and to benefit wounded soldiers.

Did you know? Push Ups for Charity just got even more exciting because we’ve added a contest to the challenge. Nationally, the top 3 challenge winners will be awarded a trip to L.A. to meet the cast of FX’s Sons of Anarchy on the 2nd Annual Boot Ride for the Boot Campaign! Although we can’t bring the Sons of Anarchy Cast here, we have our own very special prizes for the the top 3 people to win these 3 categories:

#1 Most Money Raised by a Team Member: Wins a 2-night Stay or $500 Gift Certificate at a beautiful condo in Palm Springs

#2 Team with the Most Sponsors: Wins a Hair Cut and Color with my very own, talented Hair Stylist, Stefani Martin at Sola Salon in Walnut Creek

#3 Most Push Ups Completed: Gets a well deserved, relaxing massage at Loosen Up Body Work in Walnut Creek

It’s not too late to compete for these categories! We even have until June 19th to take donations. What are you waiting for? Join Us now!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean Greeley May 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Awesome story Anna! Thanks for sharing!

Gurpreet Kaur May 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Very inspirational and so deeply moving at the same time. I’m so proud of you and of all of the men and women in the armed forces for all that they have and continue to do, and their families as well!.

tracey gentile May 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I completely relate to all of that! I say all the time that my dogs save me. I am so glad that he is home now foryou always and you can both move forward together and start your family:) so many military wives have it tougher but we all struggle in our own way.

Anna D May 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Hi Tracey, I was actually thinking about you when I was writing this yesterday. I agree that most military wives definitely have it tougher and this is why I love that I lead this event. Thanks for stopping by! ~ Anna D.

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