The Gym As My Sanctuary

This post goes out to all my fellow gym rats and to anyone who uses the gym or just working out in general as an escape to reality.

I started going to the gym at the age of 14. I had no idea what I wanted out of my life. I knew I hated school at the time but I did know I liked to fight. So why not go to a place where I can get better at it. I figured I had the free time with all the suspensions I got from school and the lack of homework I did.

This decision I made at 14 was the best decision I made in my life. That decision is literally responsible for my career and it kept me from getting into real trouble later in life.

The gym did more for me than just give me fitness related results. It gave me a family, an amazing career, and the best memories I can ask for. The gym toughened me up. I thought I was a tough kid before but man was I humbled. Training with guys bigger and stronger than you can definitely put you in your place.

This past weekend I got to reunite with old friends of mine that I grew up with in the gym. It felt great being around the people that you went through so much with. It also brought back a lot of memories that made me the person that I am today.

rocky_training-25241I remembered the wars we went through, the blood dripping from my nose and whipping it with my shirt…

The taste of swallowing my own blood…

The crazy feeling of pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion…

The hill sprints that left my legs shaking for a couple of days…

The feeling of hitting a PR that you wouldn’t expect to hit…

I even remember that little dent in the ring that everyone would try to avoid.

That get together over the weekend made me realize why I go to the gym.

The Real Reason Why I Go To The Gym

I knew I love the results of hitting a new PR or getting ready for my next fight. But there’s a reason why I spend hours and hours training. Going back 7 days a week. Going to the gym at 3 am because I can’t sleep. (I’m so thankful for 24-7 gyms)

The real reason is to have that escape from reality. When I went through any tough time in my life, I knew I had a place to go to when I needed that escape.

Shortly after I started training at the gym, my dad decided to leave my life at the age of 14-15. The gym was the place where I needed to avoid that feeling of being unwanted. I got away from that reality and went to my new home. I had a new family that welcomed me in with open arms.

Looking back today, I cherish those moments I had growing up in the gym with the people who were there for the support. Even though I would never ever talk about my problems.

Everyone has their little escape to get away from the crap they’re dealing with. I can’t think of a better place of where I would like to be when nothing is going right.

I love that feeling of just being in my own zone.

Whenever I would spar in the ring, I would have this little walk around I would do in between rounds where I would visualize and strategize on how I am going to beat the other guy up.orig_

Nothing else is on my mind once I step through those gym doors. Once that door closes behind me, the world gets blocked off. It’s a feeling that I can’t even describe.

The gym was the place to be when I was happy, sad, pissed, stressed or even just there when I couldn’t sleep at night. The gym became my therapy. The gym helped me build my character and gave me the work ethic I now take to my career. It’s literally changed my life for the better and I now get to pass that on to others.

Share this post if you can relate to having the gym as a place to escape from your reality.

Thank you for reading,

Andrew Raposo


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