Going to the gym helped build work ethic, tackle depression

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Ruben Andrade, Staff Writer

Ruben Andrade

I’ve always taken pride in having the discipline and motivation to work hard on something that I love, be it a hobby or in school. 

I was entering my second year at City College and my goal was to transfer as fast as possible. 

Taking on heavy loaded units was something I thought I could bear but to my surprise it took a toll on me. I failed almost all my classes that semester and started having doubts about my ability to succeed in school. 

Therefore, I decided to take a semester off. 

That one semester eventually turned into two. 

I no longer desired to succeed in school despite always envisioning being the first in my family to graduate college. 

I soon started experiencing my first real signs of depression. 

The simple things like getting out of bed each morning, going to work, or spending time with friends began to feel impossible.

No one saw what I was going through, as I knew how to hide my dark state of mind from the world.

I was depressed, lost and confused, wondering how I got to such a low point in my life. 

I wasn’t happy with where I was, yet I didn’t have the will to change anything. I needed a purpose, something worth living for again. 

Thankfully I found it within a gym. 

This December will mark the two year anniversary of the first time that I picked up a weight and began to change my life for the better. 

Weight lifting has undeniably helped me get to where I am right now physically and mentally. 

I wanted to start off the new year fresh, so I decided to create a new year’s resolution of getting in shape and living a healthier lifestyle. 

This resolution is a popular one on people’s lists but many abandon it within the first few months of the new year, parking lots gradually become empty and memberships are canceled. 

I thought that I would just be another one of those people but to my surprise I was motivated and continued to show up consistently. Before I knew it, I started noticing big changes and so did those around me. 

For the first time in my life, I was being recognized for my hard work constantly receiving compliments.

People would ask me how I did it, and what my secrets were. 

My answer remained the same: hard work, dedication and consistency. 

To this day, I have instilled this ethic in every aspect of my life, in and out of the gym.

Not only was I looking better physically, but my mental state also improved. 

I was no longer depressed and my confidence was soaring. 

I saw the gym as an escape, somewhere I could go blast my music and just forget about everything. I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel and was enjoying life again. 

Going to the gym is now a rite of passage for me. I cannot imagine my life without exercise in it. I always feel better physically after a solid workout, and that evolves into a better mental state for me. 

Now here I am almost two years later, 40 pounds lighter and more motivated than ever to keep chasing my goals and dreams.