Darkness to the Light (Down the Line, Stran Smith)

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since I hurt my shoulder to the point I wondered at times if I was facing the end of my roping career. After surgery last December, they told me I would be out six months. Then I met evangelist, Paula White, who introduced me to the premier physical and personal trainer, Dodd Romero. Under his supervision I was back in the arena competing in just over three months.

One question I often hear is, “How did you rehabilitate your shoulder so quickly?” What most people don’t understand is Dodd didn’t just rehab my shoulder – he changed my entire life. From what and how I eat, to my sleeping habits all the way to my physical training. This year I’ve lost thirty pounds and while many said I would lose my strength, exactly the opposite is true. I’ve had both knees operated on and for the first time in a long, long time they don’t hurt anymore.

I’m quicker, lighter, more agile and don’t hurt. I haven’t given a lot of thought about getting older, but in fact I’m now 37 but feel better than ever. If I can do it, anyone can. It’s not rocket science – it’s changing your diet and exercise. A lot of people get discouraged after starting an exercise program because they don’t lose weight. But they keep eating the same old things.

The key is to incorporate all of it – cardio, diet and exercise. You cut out all the bad carbs like potatoes, bread, fried foods and no sugar at all. Everyone says, “Well, there’s nothing left to eat,” but I haven’t starved to death. In fact, I eat four or five times a day. A typical breakfast for me is scrambled egg whites with onions and mushrooms, with turkey bacon or steak. Lunch includes a good protein like fish, along with a sweet potato or steamed vegetables. I also drink a lot of protein shakes.

My exercise program includes a lower body workout two or three times weekly, an upper body workout a couple of times a week and for cardio I ride a bike five to ten miles every day. To strengthen the core, where it all starts, I do 100 to 500 sit-ups every day.

Considering the risk of coming back at my full capabilities, I have taken a lot of chances this year.  When I lost Topper, I, for the first time in my life, took out a loan to buy a horse.  That loan also bought a toter home.  I could probably rodeo out of a crew cab pick-up and trailer – but I won’t ask my wife and kids to. My mental health is as important as my physical health and for me to be mentally healthy I need my family with me. It’s fulfilling and important for us to be a unit and together and honestly, when they can’t go with me anymore – I don’t care to go anymore.

Ultimately had I not gotten hurt last year, I would have been robbed of this life transformation.  If you remember, a year ago when I got hurt, I thanked God for the opportunity to learn from this experience – well, now it all makes more sense.  God does take us from the darkness to the light.  That’s the rest of the story… for now.

If you have any questions or anything you’d like to read about, drop me a line at strant@aol.com. God Bless and I’ll see you down the line.