It's every athlete's nightmare—pain so intense you can't compete. Cassidy Phillips knows that kind of pain firsthand. Back in 2001, it took him close to two hours just to get out of bed. The intensity he had previously brought to his training declined. A lifelong athlete, Hollywood stunt man and self-proclaimed "adrenaline junkie" (BMX competitions at age six, national triathlons at age 16), Phillips identified himself through sports and his active lifestyle.
"My body started to just break down from how hard I trained my entire life. My entire left side went numb," he says. "I went into depression; it was the loneliest point of my life, being stripped of all I knew."
Ultimately, Phillips's doctors diagnosed a chronic, painful muscular condition called fibromyalgia. They told him he would never be able to compete in any kind of endurance event and that he had to stop training. Instead, he decided to treat the pain as a slight bump in the road, something to overcome. "I started using alternative medicine, everything from supplements to pain medication, you name it, I tried it, in order to find something to help me," he says.
"I didn't want to listen to the doctors ... Eventually people have to decide if they are going to be healthy or not," says Phillips. "So I started to look at the simplicity and complexity of the body's molecular structure."
Through his research, he was inspired to begin a line of products called Trigger Point Performance Therapy. Using the tools he developed—ones that mirrored massage therapy techniques and promoted regeneration of muscle tissue—Phillips found himself able to once again pursue his passion for endurance training.
Several years later, TPPT products are now recognized by doctors and used by elite athletes such as LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Misty May-Treanor. The company aims to empower everyone, from pros to weekend warriors, to live a healthy, active lifestyle that exceeds limitations.
Phillips also wants to become an inspiration to serious young athletes facing challenges. "Eventually, you have to look in the mirror and see yourself for who you are outside of [your] sport," he says. "You have to say, 'In order to be who I want to be, I have to accept myself for who I am today.'"
He cautions against the "quick fixes" of modern medicine. "So many people nowadays go straight to the needle. [They] need to understand and be willing to give their body what it needs and wants in order to have quality of life," he says, "not force it to do what they want it to do."
Take a lesson from Phillips's experiences—particularly about the dangers of overtraining. Give your body the rest it needs. "I want people to see me as an example of what you can become if you take care of yourself," he says.
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