Sergio Musaitef, Reporter/Photographer/Digital Media Editor/Celebrations Coordinator

“One day it just happened, I looked in the mirror and realized that I did not like what I saw,” Rafael Trujillo (12) said. “That is why I wanted a change.”

Trujillo started working out his freshman year and spent his time staying fit.

“I started my journey back in March of 2021, this was during the pandemic,” Trujillo said. “I had a bit more free time, but I was not able to go to the gym. I actually had weights at my house which made it like my own personal gym.”

Staying motivated was one thing that Trujillo strove to accomplish while achieving his goals. His mom had an impact on his fitness and staying positive about himself.

“To help myself stay motivated, I take progress photos of myself,” he said. “I have photos of me from months ago or even years ago to show the progress that I have made. I went to my mom looking for help or advice and she was glad to help out. She would help with making me meals or buying a few things to help my journey.”

There were still hard times along the way even through all the support that he had. Keeping his head up was something that Trujillo worked towards everyday.

“Whenever I am feeling a lack of motivation, I take a look at those photos and remember where I started from and know that I can still grow,” Trujillo said.

Mental struggles and being able to overcome them brought Trujillo satisfaction.

“It really boosted my confidence, there was a point in time where I felt like I didn’t really like myself, but this helped me with many things more than just my physical health,” Trujillo said. “It also helped with my depression I had at the time. I started to get many compliments from my friends saying that I looked good and it made me feel good about myself. But there were always those other negative people that would still come up to me and remind me of how I used to be.”

Self-assurance was a key element staying positive for Trujillo. Trujillo’s self esteem has an influence on why people choose the lifestyle that they want for themselves. Having to lift yourself up from the things that keep you down can take time and requires a lot of effort.

“You are not gonna see change within the first week or even month, but keep your workouts consistent and have discipline, then you will see change in the long term,” Trujillo said.

Anxiety was something Trujillo understood when it came to the gym. Overcoming the stress was what kept him going back.

“You should not be nervous in the gym,” he said. “The gym is a place filled with people who just want to better themselves and see themselves improve.” Trujillo gave advice to those who are looking to start their fitness journey.

“Something that I would recommend to others is, if you decide that you want to better yourself and are interested, just know, you are gonna have points where you hit the ground hard, and it’s gonna suck, but you can either choose to stay there on the floor, or pick yourself up.”