Hilton Head Health: Healthy Insights with David Chesworth, Fitness Specialist

A question to ponder:
What obstacles are preventing you from being your healthiest self?


If you’ve been following me and Mindful Adventures via social media, you know that I recently returned from Hilton Head Health (H3) and experienced their Lose Well 4-week program.    Up until experiencing the H3 program I believed I was doing all of the right things – eating healthy, exercising (although not consistently – first obstacle) and taking care of myself.  My business is built around wellness and it’s my focus in life, however, I had to know that on some level something wasn’t working and wondered if the answers would come to me during this program.
Some answers did come to me during the first week.  It was one of the toughest weeks of my life (physically) and I discovered that my body could do more given the chance and direction.

“The more your body is challenged, the more it wants to adapt.”
– David Chesworth


I remember David saying that to me and it was so profound….one of the major ‘aha’ moments of my journey.  The second week wasn’t easier, however my body began to adapt and I started to notice some subtle changes.  The three main points that I’m focusing on now that I’m back in the ‘real world’ include a food journal (the MyFitnessPal app), portion control at dinner and movement.

There’s more to share about my experience, including additional interviews with other members of the H3 team, however let’s start with fitness with Insight from David Chesworth, one of my H3 trainers.

David and I worked together during much of my stay and he was empathetic to my challenges from a couple of injuries I have had to deal with, one that I continue to work on.  As you’ll read in the interview below, he overcame a serious injury and I believe that his empathy and understanding also helped me to overcome more obstacles.  And, if you’d like to look at the video we created during my last day at H3, this is the link.  I hope David’s insight and the video will inspire you to make positive changes in your own life.

Healthy Insights with David Chesworth

DA: What inspired you to become an Exercise Physiologist?
DC: Growing up I was a scrawny musician in the band. When I got in high school I all of a sudden became obsessed with the idea of bulking up to impress the girls. While this was my initial spark to becoming interested in exercise physiology, it was not the long term motivator. I soon became genuinely in love with being physically active. It made me feel so good! A happiness unlike any other I’ve felt. A confidence, a self control, and a new version of me I didn’t know was possible. My dad ended up getting shoulder surgery and needed physical therapy. Through this series of events, I decided I wanted to go to school for exercise science to later become a physical therapist. I soon realized that being a physical therapist was not quite for me. At the end of my undergrad journey I found the Hilton Head Health internship where I realized my true passion for who I wanted to help. I realized that I wanted to help more than just those who need physical therapy. I want to touch the lives of anyone and everyone who genuinely wants to change for the better by taking on a more active lifestyle.

What tips would you like to share with my readers to enhance their fitness needs?
DC: Fitness Tips:

​a) Seek activities you enjoy: Not only will you have more success long term, but also, whats the point of living healthy if it doesn’t also make you happy?
b) Start Early: You may not think you’re a morning person, and maybe you’re not, but the earlier in the day you start being active the less likely you are to make excuses later in the day. Not only that, physical activity at the beginning of the day has been shown to improve productivity.
c) Prioritize Yourself: Schedule out your physical activity in your life the same way you would a doctors appointment. Don’t miss it!
d) Log your excuses: Every time you make an excuse, write it down. When you re-read it in a more clear state of mind, write down a solution for that excuse. This will turn that excuse into an invalid one for the future.

What’s one of your biggest life lessons so far and do you use it in your work?
Allow yourself to be interdependent: My biggest life lesson so far in life is that, “it is okay to accept the help from others”.  Now, I’m not saying to be completely dependent on others. But being too stubborn to accept the help others can offer is equally ridiculous. There is a happy medium of being independent as well as cooperative with others – interdependence. There will be times in your life when you simply don’t know what to do, or physically can’t do something. Don’t be afraid to utilize the tools that others have to offer you to help you along the way. Think of it as a temporary crutch, if you will. While nobody wants to use crutches, they will ultimately lead you to greatness and will leave you feeling grateful and better than ever in the future. I had this realization during my recovery from my broken neck.

If you weren’t working in the fitness field, what would you be doing?
DC: I’ve always thought of myself as an entertainer. I like making people happy and putting on a show. I am also a very musical person. I always find myself humming along to songs and tapping my foot wanting to dance. If I had another career path I would have chosen to be a performer of some sort.

What’s your favorite fitness activity?
DC: It’s tough to chose one fitness activity as my favorite. I don’t think I could pick one. I would have to say that anytime I feel like I’m “playing” is my favorite. Exercise sounds like work, but play sounds like fun. When I’m having fun in a social, active setting I’m happiest.

What do you do to stay educated about fitness trends, research, etc.?
DC: Staying educated is not only important for my clients, but also for myself. Keeping myself interested in the field and finding new ways to refuel my passion is so important. Being a member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) organization I receive e-mails and journals in the mail with the latest research studies and articles on fitness and health. I also seek new seminars and certifications to attend in order to network and grow in the field that way. Sometimes simply opening up an old text book and re-reading chapters can open my eyes in new ways, reading things from a new angle and understanding them in ways I didn’t before.

What’s next for you in this field?
DC: The question of “What’s next” is a question I frequently challenge myself with. It’s tough to say. I often find myself having different ideas with completely different avenues, but at the end of the day, I don’t know what’s next. Like a shark, I must keep moving to stay alive. Right now it is important that I continue seeking new ways to stay educated  in the field. Along the way there will always be new doors opening. When I see a new door worth walking through, I will.

Do you have a mentor?  If so, how has he/she helped you?
DC: I consider Adam Martin at Hilton Head Health to be one of my greatest mentors. As former Fitness Director, he is the one who hired me and the one I attribute much of my current training style to. I never saw him make excuses. The way he interacts with guests is amazing. It always seemed to me that if he had a vision, he could make it a reality. This is such a powerful quality to have. He has since transitioned into marketing over the past several years, however, he continues to demonstrate this and it continues to be a motivational concept to me as I apply it to Fitness.

What is most rewarding to you in your field?
DC: The most rewarding thing in my field, hands down, is when I hear a guest/client say, “I never thought I would be able to do this (ever/again) in my life!” To be a part of a life journey that takes a person from one self to a better version of that self is something that cannot be given a price tag.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
DC: There may be times when you find yourself getting lost. This is a very real thing and can definitely happen. In fact, it most probably will happen. When you find yourself getting lost I challenge you to compose a personal vision statement. A personal vision statement is your time to step into the shoes of your ideal version of yourself. If you had all the magic in the world and could snap your fingers right now to become that person, who would that be? Write your vision as if you are already this person with phrases like, “I am, I can, I enjoy”.  Avoid phrases like, “I want, I will, I should”. Nothing is more powerful than the “why” behind your journey. When things get tough, you will stop caring about the “what”… But gosh darn it, why?
Photo: David Chesworth and Donna Adinolfi
Photo credit: Queata M. Cassell of Hilton Head Health

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