Sometimes the roads we choose to walk down don’t lead us to a place we wish to go. They are often full of twists and turns and unseen barriers. At times, they can be filled with obstacles and even come to a sudden end. It takes a special kind of insight to realize that the path you’re on is not the right one and needs to be altered. Sometimes that insight comes on us gradually. At other times, it can hit us like a runaway train.
Rob Decker found himself so far down a dark road that for a time he couldn’t see how to get back. He had fallen prey to the demons of addiction and had been taken far away from his true self. Rob experienced the kind of hopelessness that countess thousands do in today’s society. He did not know how to make those demons go away other than to try and end it all. One can only imagine the pain it would take for such a beautifully spirited young man to arrive at such a dark place that he would choose to end his own life!
I hate drugs! Not from a moral or judgmental standpoint, I just feel that too often they can rob people of who they were really meant to be. But suicide actually breaks my heart! I have lost several friends to it and have almost lost several more. It’s a choice that spreads the pain it’s intended to end. It takes away any chance for a seemingly hopeless road to be replaced by a better one.
Fortunately, the world did not lose Rob Decker that day. His body was severely damaged but ultimately it was his demons that died, and Rob was reborn. He did not know when he jumped out that window that he carried his future with him. In that future waited a loving wife, beautiful son, and a newfound faith and belief that would come to define him. Rob Decker knows that his life is a blessing, a gift from God that he cherishes and is thankful for. He wants to repay that gift by sharing his experience with others and spreading health, hope, and faith to as many people as he can. Rob has escaped the dark road of his past for a new one that’s bright and full of hope and faith. He knows that he has been blessed. Now he is seeking to be a blessing to others. (RobDeckerSpeaks.com)
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Bodysport: Where are you from and what were you like growing up? Were you involved much with sports and fitness?
Rob: I am originally for Campbell/San Jose, California. I started playing baseball at a young age. It was my first love. I started hitting the weights sometime into my freshman year in high school. My buddy Joe had a gym in the garage and lived right across the street from our school. Joe and I played baseball together so we were trying to get our McGwire & Canseco on! San Jose’s Bash Brothers!
Bodysport: How and when did you first get involved with “drugs”?
Rob: I started drinking my freshman year when my girlfriend’s father’s buddy bought us alcohol. My sophomore year I started smoking weed, Junior year led into acid and mushrooms.
Bodysport: At the time, did you think much about any negative stigma being attached to what you were doing?
Rob: I was young and unstoppable so I didn’t seem to have one, but if temporarily erasing the garbage going on around is negative stigma then, yes.
Bodysport: When you started did you consider that your activities might lead to any type of problem or addiction?
Rob: It seemed pretty normal for me and my surroundings so projecting the possibility of problems or addiction wasn’t in my sight. I will say that I took riskier and bolder chances when I drank. Fights were more common under the influence of alcohol.
Bodysport: When you were still struggling with your addictions, did you know or feel that you had a problem or did you simply feel like you were doing what you wanted to do?
Rob: I knew there was a deep problem the older that I got. I would have to be high or drunk if I was going out. I would also drink alone often so I didn’t have to deal with my thoughts.
Bodysport: Can you talk about your suicide attempt? Was it something you had planned or thought about before, or did it just come on pretty suddenly due to circumstances?
Rob: I jumped head first out of a window after being accused of rape and attempted murder. It was the ‘perfect storm’ for me to commit to it. I thought about suicide more than I led people to know. I would cut my wrists when I was young but couldn’t build up the courage to go deep enough into my arm for there to be any major bleeding. And I’m pretty sure I was cutting in the wrong direction. In my 20’s, my ex-fiancés mom sent me to go see a therapist because of her concern for it.
Bodysport: What were the extent of your injuries?
Rob: I severed my L-2, shattered my left arm, broke my right wrist and collapsed my left lung. I was not able to walk for a couple weeks until I had a second back surgery. At that point, I could drag my left foot.
Bodysport: Obviously you had to go though a lot of healing, not just physically but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Can you tell us about this?
Rob: It’s all been a process. Spiritually, I realized that I needed Gods help to get through this. Emotionally, I needed to come to grips with what I had done to myself and had to forgive myself and others. Mentally, I had to endure the pain and push myself to move forward in this life. Physically, it took roughly 4 years to function at 75% of what I was before the attempt. Ultimately, they all worked in unison, one sparking another. It was a rehabilitation and regeneration process, almost a rebirth.
Bodysport: The Rob I knew back in the day always seemed to be this super friendly, happy person. By all accounts he was a great guy. What was it about that Rob that maybe people didn’t see or know?
Rob: Thank you, Kevin. You were a pretty easy guy to like. One of the most genuine people that I had ever met. There was so much compartmentalized pain and brokenness that I didn’t know how to address. I was always searching for love and appreciation…
Bodysport: If you could say anything to someone who is struggling with an addiction or going through some type of challenge what would it be?
Rob: There is hope and there is a way out. The drugs and alcohol are a lie! They are preventing you from living a full life. For me, I gave those things to God, left them at The Cross for Jesus to bear. I struggled with that junk as I prayed, but these things were removed. They needed to be gone. Having a support system that’s interested in your mental and physical health is always a good place to be if you’re not ready for God, but He’s a pretty great option.
Bodysport: Who is Rob Decker now?
Rob: A husband, father, brother, son, friend, Personal Trainer, Health coach, survivor, life speaker, and man of God that wants to share my experiences and love with those that are broken and hurting. (RobDeckerSpeaks.com)
Bodysport: Tell me about your business, your passion for helping others is obvious.
Rob: I am a personal fitness trainer who loves to make an impact in peoples lives. That’s just one method though. I just recently started becoming a guest speaker on podcasts, radio shows, and churches to share my message of hope, encouragement, inspiration, and love.
Bodysport: How long have you been a personal trainer and how did that start for you?
Rob: I had my first personal training job at 24 hour fitness when I was about 18. I was the fitness guy in our group of friends, the guy that everyone worked out with. It was a natural transition.
Bodysport: What’s the name of your business and where are you located?
Rob: I currently work for Equinox in Palos Verdes, Ca.
Bodysport: Do you specialize in any particular style of training or client type?
Rob: I love good old-fashioned strength and conditioning but touch on many aspects of fitness. I have a large spectrum of clientele from athletes to stay at home moms, to individuals like myself who have suffered major physical trauma that’s takes another level of understanding. We all have a story that goes deeper than the physical aspect of fitness. As you know Kevin, there’s an emotional, mental, and spiritual element to what we do in this industry. We are fitness providers that becomes family and provide a safe place for our people.
Bodysport: Where would you like to see yourself in the next 5-10 years? What would you like to accomplish?
Rob: I would love to continue to have a hand in fitness. It runs parallel with my faith. I would love to get on a bigger platform to reach more people and make a positive life-altering impact on their life’s journey.
Bodysport: What do you feel has been some key factors in helping you find business success?
Rob: Honesty, transparency, compassion, empathy, patience, knowledge, love and sharing my personal life experiences.
Bodysport: You’ve gone from being in an incredibly dark place to becoming someone to admire. How does it feel to now be in a position where people look up to you and aspire to be like you? How does it feel to know how proud your son is going to be growing up with you as his father?
Rob: Thanks, Kev! I don’t want people to admire me as much as I want them to see what and who lives in me. To take my experience and use it in their life to find peace and comfort. Then to take it and pass it on to others.
Bodysport: Is there anyone you would like to thank or acknowledge who has helped you in your life’s journey.
Rob: I feel like I just won my first NCAA football championship with a game winning TD pass when I say this. I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My mother for having me, Billy for enduring a similar childhood with me, Benny, Joe, and their families for taking me into their family. My wife Alyssa for leading by example when she wanted me to quit drinking. Not to mention she delivered the most beautiful baby boy in a complete natural state. It was glorious to watch.