Growing up, I was never really interested in health and fitness. I felt that people walking into the gym were completely wasting their time and effort on something that they wouldn’t really need in the “real world.” I asked myself, “What is the point of being ripped and having a six pack?” I used to always see big, muscular guys walking around the campus as if they owned the place. Of course, the ladies loved guys like that. I guess you can say I was a bit jealous. I just didn’t see why these guys got all the attention. The “working out thing” was something I never really understood during my first two years in high school.
My freshman and sophomore year in high school were probably the worst two years of my life. I was always being bullied and picked on by the bigger guys in my class and even some of the girls made fun of me. I guess they found me as an easy target since I was only 5 feet 6 inches and a skinny 105 lbs. The bullying made my confidence and self-esteem hit rock bottom. It was challenging for me to get out of bed every morning because I knew that walking into school would only be the start of a bad day.
At the end of my sophomore year, I tried to improve myself by buying new clothes and taking care of my appearance. After a few days of browsing through the internet on how to improve one’s image, most of the articles said, “Go to the gym.” I didn’t want to just march into the gym because I was afraid people would laugh at how skinny I am. I started small and did a few pushups and crunches in my room. It took a few months before I started to notice any significant improvement. As I started getting used to the pushups and crunches, I tried to see if I could buy a pull up bar for my room. I checked the price of the pull up bar and I realized I couldn’t afford it. My family wasn’t financially stable so I couldn’t ask them to buy one for me. They were struggling just trying to pay for the rent of our small condominium unit. One day I walked by the park near our condo and I saw a jungle gym in the children’s playground. I took a look and realized that I could do my pull ups there when children weren’t playing on it. So for about a year, my daily routine would be going to school in the morning, coming home from school and passing by the playground to do pull ups, and then going in my room to do pushups and crunches. I didn’t go out much because exercising made me feel good about myself. My confidence started to grow as my obsession for working out grew too.
A few months of doing that routine gave a bit more shape to my body and I gained 10 pounds. A few of my friends noticed the difference. They said I got bulkier and look a lot better than before. I was pleased with all the kind comments people made about my improved physique but I couldn’t stop thinking about how much bigger and stronger I could still get if I went to a gym. I walked into a gym and inquired about their membership fee. Sadly, I couldn’t afford it. The other gyms I inquired in also had fees I couldn’t afford. I was discouraged. I felt like I hit a wall and there was no way I could get to the other side. I started applying for jobs so I could earn money to pay for my membership fee. A few months later I landed a decent job. Success! I received my first paycheck and it went straight to my membership fee. In a year, I managed to gain 20 pounds of lean muscle by going to the gym regularly and working out as if my life depended on it. Every time I do an exercise, I think of those individuals that used to bully me in high school. I let those memories be the fuel for my workouts.
Currently, I am 5 feet 9 inches and I weigh a ripped 155 pounds. I work at my local gym as a trainer and I make sure that all my clients are treated with respect as I help them build their dream bodies. Looking back at my early high school years, I can finally say that I understand what working out can do for me. Working out made me healthier and fit, it made me believe in myself, and most importantly it pushed me to go beyond my limits and achieve more than I could have ever dreamed of.