I’ve posted a lot about my fitness journey over the past month, from losing a bunch a weight, to doing some challenging training programs at a new gym I joined. I post about fitness because its the most visible thing I am making progress on in my life right now. Its something that people can relate to though many think they can’t do. My intent with the posts is to be a beacon for others, especially for those that know me personally. I want people to think, “If Carlos can do it, I can do it too.”
The thing is, its easy to lose the broader meaning behind it all. Its not really about fitness at all for me. Its really about being broken, picking up the pieces, and re-building myself, brick by brick. Its about being re-born. Its about owning my life. Every part of my life. Completely, without shame or guilt. For the first time in my life.
Finding Inspiration in Unexpected Places
I wish that I could say that it came easy, but it didn’t. The level of ownership you need to have to truly fix yourself is never easy. It’s the hardest thing you will ever do. I knew that my body and health was broken and needed to be fixed. It took me quite a bit of time to figure out what I needed to do to get there. Its interesting where you get your inspiration from. For me, it was a movie.
I have always been a fan of the Rocky movies and enjoyed the first Creed movie. When I was deep into the storm, Creed II had come out and I took my oldest daughter to see it. That movie changed my life. It had such a huge impact on my mindset and about how to get my body where it needed to be. The storyline followed the same model that always made the Rocky movies inspirational. But the thing that spoke to me the most was that Creed was absolutely broken, he fought back, and he became a champion of his storm.
The main character, Adonis Creed, takes a fight that no one wanted him to take. No one believed he could win against this opponent and he took the fight without the support of his family and Rocky. He gets the shit beat of of him and is completely broken, both physically and mentally. As he tries to put the pieces back together, he’s detached and distant from his family. He’s not talking to anyone. He’s pushed everyone away. And he’s lost the will to fight. Those were all things I was going through at the time.
After he is broken, there’s a scene where he goes into a pool and submerges himself underwater. As he sinks to the bottom, he lets out this visceral scream. Its like he’s trapped, he can’t breathe, and he doesn’t know what to do. At that point in my storm, that’s exactly how I felt. I couldn’t breathe and I had no idea what to do.
There’s another scene where he is taking care of his new born daughter. She is fussy and crying so he takes her to the gym where he used to train. He hasn’t gone into that gym since the fight. As he is sitting on the edge of the boxing ring with his daughter, he looks over at the punching bag and starts to throw a few hesitant punches to keep her from crying. He stands up and starts hitting the punching bag a few more times as his baby daughter looks on.
He starts laying into the bag more and more, releasing all of his aggression and pent up frustration. Tears of rage fall from his face as lets out another scream. And then, he looks at his daughter and remembers what he should be fighting for. He picks her up and says, “I know. Daddy is being a bitch.” She becomes his beacon in the storm and now he knows what he needs to do. I looked over at my daughter, wiped away a tear, and knew what I needed to do too.
The lesson from that movie for me was a reminder that you can be broken. You can feel the world is against you. You an cry out in rage and anger while screaming at the universe “Why? Why did you do this?” It did it because you needed it. It did it to help you rise and create the best version of yourself. It did it to give you an opportunity for re-birth and to make yourself whole.
Most people don’t really get past the breaking. They might make some changes but nothing truly meaningful to own their lives. Its up to you to put in the work to rise. Its up to you to figure out your why and drive relentlessly to get there, no matter what it costs. You’ve got one life. You need to own it.
This movie gave me the inspiration to really buckle down and start training. It wasn’t about exercising anymore. It was about training for life. It was about figuring out how to live my life in a healthy way, first for me and then for those that I care about. It was about figuring out what I was fighting for.
The movie spoke to me deeply. And I know the universe guided me to watch it in the moment I needed it the most. There are specific songs, from the movie, that I listen to everyday during my workouts. I use them as a reminder of where I was and how far I’ve come. That movie truly changed my life.
Some of you might be saying to yourself, “You got inspiration from some movie? That shit is corny”. Maybe. I say you take whatever inspiration speaks to your soul. Let those soulful inspirations be a beacon for you to rise out of your storm. And besides, if round 14 in the original Rocky movie inspired David Goggins, one of the toughest men in the world, I’m good with being corny.