I am often asked, “Scott, how did you get into all of this body transformation stuff?”
Here is the story of my journey…
We Teach That Which We Have Overcome.
As I wrote about in this blog post, I wasn't always so connected with my body.
I grew up a day dreamer, more in love with the ideas and fantasies found in books and films than in the vagaries of the world around me.
What began as a passion for words and ideas turned into escapism as I grew older.
I had a rather rough childhood, emotionally speaking.
Others have had it far worse, but my family life wasn't exactly a pillar of stability and good role models either.
Growing up on a Standard American Diet, liberally garnished with fast food and sweets, I was thoroughly addicted to sugar from an early age.
By my 8th birthday, reeling from my parent's ugly divorce, I’d developed a full-blown emotional eating disorder.
It got worse in high school, where a liquid diet of Mountain Dew gave me acne and left me spun-out and ADD most of the time.
By the time I graduated High School, I weighed over 300 pounds.
What? It was the 90's ok?
Being the consummate geek that I was (am), I fantasized about having the body of a comic book superhero.
But inside I was terribly ashamed of my body, hiding under baggy clothes and avoiding anything resembling athletic competition.
I briefly pondered getting into bodybuilding, but one of my best friends at the time quipped "Mark my words, Scott: you will never be a bodybuilder."
How well he knew me...
My major turning point came shortly after my 18th birthday.
I'd gone out with friends to an underground party being held in a local theater and youth center.
I'd always been an avid consumer of music, and my passion for electronic dance music goes way back to the synthesizer sound of my nostalgic youth.
However up until that time I’d always experienced music in a concert setting.
This party was different.
At this party everybody was dancing.
I remember feeling so awkward... trying to dance but not really knowing how.
Just feeling self-conscious and disconnected from my body.
In the end I decided to wall-flower it up by sitting on one of the massive bass-bins, and nod my head.
That's when this one dancer noticed me.
I don't remember his name, but he must have seen something in me.
He caught my eye, and said "this is for you..."
Before I could even process what I'd seen he'd performed some of the most amazing feats of acrobatic balance and power this side of Beat Street.
I was stunned.
I was overcome with awe and envy.
I swiftly retreated to the back of the theater to ponder.
More than anything in the world I wanted to be able to move like that!
Even then I knew I was facing a mountain so vast, it's peak was hidden beyond the clouds.
As un-physical as I was...
As uncoordinated, weak, and obese as I was...
I knew it was a challenge that would change my life.
I remember asking myself if I truly wanted it?
If I knew how hard it would be?
How long it would take?
Would this be yet another fad, a passing infatuation?
Would I give up when it seemed to painful to go on?
In that moment I made a commitment in my heart to see what was possible.
In that moment I swore to myself I would find find a way.
My friend was right…
It wasn't enough to just be big, to look like a superhero...
I wanted to be able to move like one as well!
It started in my room.
Alone, with my mirrored closet doors, my door locked from outside intrusion, the volume cranked up on my boom box.
I began to explore the geometry and architecture of my own body.
Angles, ranges of motion, imbalances.
I danced so hard at times that I would collapse onto the floor.
Struggling for breath against the exercise-induced asthma that had plagued me from childhood.
Over four months I taught myself breathwork.
Cured myself of asthma.
Unlocked my tight muscles.
In four months I'd dropped 60 pounds.
It wasn't long after that before I joined, a local dance troupe.
I was still so shy.
So ashamed of my body that it was painful for me to hold eye contact.
We performed at some major venues, at festivals, and in high schools.
I was so nervous that I'd get vertigo or lose time while on stage.
Somehow I'd make it through the show, but only by completely dissociating from my body.
Gradually, I began to grow in confidence and skill.
We were much more than a dance troupe...
We had no director.
We created our own choreography, collaboratively.
Each of us brought something to the table...
Modern, ballet, jazz, butoh, gymnastics, contact improvisation, capoeria.
We played theater games gleaned from drama classes, and engaged in group trust and bonding exercises.
This was also when I had my first taste of bodywork.
Dance, like all athletic pursuits, can take it's toll on the body.
Several members of the troupe, skilled in various modalities of hands-on healing, shared their skills with the rest of us.
We would often trade with each other, experimenting as we sought to work out the kinks and complaints of our bodies.
I very quickly discovered that I had a natural knack for the work.
My own explorations having grown into a keen kinesthetic empathy.
I worked intuitively then, with what was an amalgam of Shiatsu and Thai techniques, though I didn't know those names at the time.
We just did what worked, with ease and functionality our aim.
This informal "internship" lasted for two whole years before I finally decided to pursue a formal education in the craft.
So I became a massage therapist.
Working at some of the finest world-class day spas in the California Wine Country.
It was during this phase of my career that I began to realize how undereducated most people are with regards to their body.
Massage, while being an amazing tool, is not enough to maintain the body alone.
A lack of core strength leads to poor posture and back pain.
Lack of movement leads to atrophy and arthritis.
Training is essential.
A seed was planted.
My aim to synthesize as much knowledge and understanding as possible.
To learn enough to create what I wished I’d had for myself growing up.
In 2006 I discovered that San Francisco hosted one of the world's few and finest circus schools.
It didn’t take long before I’d packed my bags and moved south, to the City by the Bay.
As I started taking classes in Chinese acrobatics, extreme stretching, and injury prevention, I noticed a curious thing.
There were a few guys in class who came from a weightlifting background.
I mean these guys looked swole.
However, as mighty and impressive as their physiques were, they really struggled with the acrobatic training.
They had focused on isolating muscles, on hypertrophy, prioritizing size over mobility and maximal strength.
They hadn't conditioned their muscles in the correct ranges of motion.
The extra size and bulk was a hindrance when trying to press, balance, and move their own bodyweight.
I knew there was a better way.
Since then I have continued to pour myself into as much training as I'm able to.
Dance, Ballet, Pilates, Acrobatics, Gymnastics.
The cutting edge of strength and flexibility training.
All in pursuit of physical excellence...
With 22 years of hands-on experience, I bring an unparalleled passion to helping others understand, inhabit, and improve the form and function of their own bodies.
It is an honor to be of service in this way, and a privilege to witness others come into their own physical power.
Always and forever a student, I continue to learn, train, explore, and share with others along the path.
...and that's more or less the story so far!
If nothing else comes from having shared this incredible ongoing journey, I hope that it inspires you on your own path...
To recognize your own incredible potential...
...and to reach for more than you have ever dreamed of before.
Here's to your Health…
Your brilliant badassery…
In your body…
…and every other area of your life.
Be excellent to each other.
- Scott Strong
"Scott is an ambassador for the body."
- Michael W.