My name is Ryan Yates – to the casual observer an ex-military gym owner and fitness enthusiast/obsessive.
People ask me daily what drives me, what keeps me pushing day in day out? Is it my military background and my rigid mindset or what? How do I go every day, why do I push as hard as I do for as long as I do 2/3 sessions a day 6days a week?
Firstly it’s important to note I’m not the only person who does this there are athletes out there who put me to shame and take the thing to a whole other level I’m just an average Joe gymrat.
One of the things that have stuck with me from my days in the Military is the ‘your only as good as your last fuck up’ mentality – so on a personal level I will accept nothing less than 100% – anything else just feels like failure.
But my time in the military is done, so surely just a latent mentality cant be enough to see myself continually punish myself day in day out – what truly drives me, beyond anything subjective or logical, are my demons, my anger, my rage – the inner me my ‘military default’ you might say.
How do I keep myself in line? How can anyone who has been trained to kill just switch off their animalistic instincts when they return to ‘civilian life’.
Personally I train, I lift, I run, I flog myself because that’s how I stop myself slipping and keep my focus – it gives me an outlet.
I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2014/2015, primarily I remember feeling weak, pathetic and my anger grew because of this, what was wrong with me, why couldn’t I just man the fuck up and clear my head?
How exhausting is it being angry all the time?
I couldn’t help but feel ‘Why me’ we all accepted signing on the dotted line that life changes, it is what it is, I never expected to sleep well at night after the war that’s the soldiers’ burden but at the same time it is every soldier’s burden so I must be mentality weak to be susceptible to PTSD.
My new War
Train your mind and your body will follow I took this on as my new mantra and this is where it’s taking me.
Again I’m in a warzone but now I don’t have my brothers around me, instead, I have a dark side my inner demons trying to impose their will on me it’s a daily struggle, a daily battle but I do what I’ve always done stand my ground and not give them an inch I train I diet I keep my body like a weapon, my best and closest ally.
I go at it every day no matter how I feel I grind I lift heavy and hard, I run until I’m sick throw myself into gymnastic movements I can’t master to drive myself on force myself to come back tomorrow because I’m too stubborn to be beaten by a movement or a weight or a distance or time and I find myself here: A gym owner or a gym rat depending on how you want to see me – I have a mental illness but It doesn’t define me, I don’t let it win, somedays it comes close, most days it doesn’t.
I sleep using sports supplements and with an autistic child’s weighted blanket to help me feel secure.
I do everything I can to keep on top I’ve been helped along the way been supported by a few close friends, until now I have kept my issues to myself – I’ve ruined friendships had relationships fall apart along the way but also made new friends and new relationships.
Fitness (maybe just having something to focus on that requires so much of myself) has probably saved my life, it certainly changed my life, primarily it’s a selection of coping mechanisms that work for me.
I am not suggesting is it better than drugs and anti depressants that’s a decision I leave to people to make for themselves, I’ve found something that works for me, little routines and tricks like my supplements and my blanket and I’ll battle it on my own.
Is it a harder road? Probably but anyone who knows me knows I never do anything the easy way anyway.
So where do you go?
I say to you, take control of your life, dedicate yourself to an idea drive yourself on with a goal whatever it is. In all walks of life, there are ways to make life more liveable, to cope with all the curved balls a little bit easier. For me its fitness – some days this is as simple as getting up and dressed on days where it takes you an hour to commit to getting up and brushing your teeth – It’s getting in and following a program when all you want to do is hide behind closed doors, it’s flooding your body with endorphins rather than medication, repetition repetition repetition.
When you look back as I have I promise it will be worth it despite the Nay-Sayers, the haters and in some cases, the medical professionals you are the master of your own destiny – anything you want or haven’t got is down to you everything you have is down to you – if there is something you want to go out and EARN it.
Make it Happen
So why do I do it?
I do it because without it I wonder where I’d be –
- Without it I’m not sure I’d be the person I am today
- I do it because I love throwing big ass weights around
But most importantly I do it because I fear the angry man that would take over if I don’t keep physically and mentally strong I fear who I become on the PTSD days because he is one scary MOFO and he’s best kept indoors#staystrong #neversettle #makeithappen