In a time of rapid physical development and profound emotional changes, the teenage years are the hardest period of a person’s life. Coupled with peer pressure, it can be a confusing and uncomfortable time which, in a lot of cases, leads to a lot of problems such as teenage pregnancy, suicide, bullying, depression, drug and alcohol use, and many more. Brendan Meyers is no stranger to these problems, having grown up with severe acne that caused him anxiety and stress when he looked at himself in the mirror. In today’s show, he tells the untold story of how fitness saved his life and how he overcame the things that were holding him back.
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Fitness Saved My Life (An Untold Story)
This is QuickTime Friday. I don’t know if you’re new here or you’ve been coming back for all the episodes and reading, but I suggest that you share this show with someone, or you go for a walk right now and prepare yourself because it is a story time. This is going to be ten minutes of powerful stuff that is led by passion. Let’s get it right into it. If you know me at all, I’ve been training and working out since I was 12, 13 years old. I remember I used to train beside my dad at LA Fitness in Boynton Beach, Florida. That is where I’m from.
I also used to train with one of my closest friends, Chris Gardner. After training, we used to then play some basketball. It was great time. I remember during that time of my life, I will also be training for something bigger, meaning not just bodybuilding or anything. I never was a bodybuilder, that was never my purpose. I wanted to train for a sport. I wanted to be the absolute hardest worker to ever live. I wanted people to recognize that. I wanted people to see that because I was hurting in my life.
For many of my teen years, I was hurting and I didn’t feel heard. I didn’t feel seen. I felt like this was the way. If people saw how hard I worked, they would want to work just as hard, and we would be one big happy family in the world. When I think about 12, 13 years old, when I was grinding, I was trying to figure it out. I wasn’t suicidal, I wasn’t depressed at this moment in time so much. I did have a lot of anxiety. I did go through a lot of different things. That’s where the journey began. Where fitness saved and transformed my life was when I was coming out of high school.
Let me just into it. Between 12, 13, 14, 15, I had to dig deep. I had a lot of acne. I was having a lot of anxiety, I was stressed. I was tired of looking at myself in the mirror. I felt like I was the ugliest kid in the room, in school. Going into high school, I felt like shit. I was 119 pounds. I can get into this story another time because it’s significant how acne made me successful. That’s a book that I’m also writing at this time right now. 12, 13, 14, 15 was me about trying to train for something. It was football and wrestling. First, there was wrestling, then it was football.
The reason why I was doing it is because I knew that I had a lot of talent, I just didn’t trust my talent at the time. I thought, “Let me outwork everybody. Let me train with professionals. Let me learn from people.” I asked my dad, “Can I please train with this person?” I would also train in my house. There was something about the process that I fell in love with that I can’t even explain. I didn’t even know or recognize back then. I didn’t realize why I was doing what I was doing.
As I crossed into 15 and 16 years old, and I was finally starting to make the football team and I started to play a lot and to start, I fell even more in love with the process. I would train twice a day. I would drink 1,000-calorie shake in the morning and at night because I wanted to gain weight. That’s a story within itself, I’ll get into that another day. Sixteen and seventeen were some big years for me. As I was training with professionals, guys in the NFL and also in the NCAA Division 1 schools from University of Cincinnati, from Florida State University and local schools like Florida Atlantic University and FIU, Florida International University, I wanted to outwork everyone.
When I went on to 7-on-7 camps in South Florida, and I was playing football and I was trying to learn, but also be the best in my class, even though many guys go to the NFL and stuff, I knew one thing. I knew that if I outworked everybody, then my talent would eventually show itself and people would recognize me. At 16 to 17, I was playing good football in high school. I had some colleges starting to look at me and they were interested in me. I went to a camp when I was 17 or 18, right at the beginning of my senior year during springtime. I went up to Vanderbilt and the coaches loved how well I’m performing, the hard work I was showing, and the coach wanted to offer me a scholarship.
I went back to school and nobody was believing in me. I asked my assistant coach at the time, going into my senior year, “What division do you think I can go in college football? Do you think I can play?” He said, “You could probably go D3.” I was super offended. I was like, “Do you even know what Vanderbilt did? Do you know that they want me to play for them? Florida Atlantic was interested in me.” People doubted me. They said, “You won’t be. It’s not possible.”
As the moments went by, I was training twice a day and I was working on my footwork and I was in the weight room and I was training, what I didn’t realize is that I was falling in love with fitness. I was falling in love so much with the process that I was blinded by this football thing, wanting to be a professional thing and wanting to make a lot of money thing, and cars and girls. When I went into my senior year, I had a chip on my shoulder. I felt like I was going to be the best out of the state. I felt like I was going to be the best wide receiver, but things didn’t go as planned. Our quarterback wasn’t the best at throwing. He’s a very close friend of mine now and nothing against him at all, it’s just that we didn’t have the offense and our head coach didn’t trust our offense in many ways. We had one of the best running backs in the state, if not the absolute best and one of the best in the nation.You can't give to people and all these things that you want to give to in your life energetically unless you get clear with yourself. Click To Tweet
My senior year fell off the last two games because I got injured. I remember I had this severe concussion at the beginning of my second to last game, senior year. I wasn’t the same. That was a scary moment. I’ve had plenty of concussions before then. I had a lot of injuries, tore my hip flexor, a lot of things that happened, but this concussion was big. Vanderbilt was going to be coming out to see me at my last game of the season. I had a lot of colleges looking at me. I was told that I could not play in my last game of my senior year. It destroyed me. I got depressed. My anxiety was heightened. I was having a lot of brain fog and issues. Post-concussive syndrome, I had that for eight months.
When I would look into the mirror, I couldn’t recognize myself. That’s how bad this concussion was. It’s almost as if I lost my identity because I also lost my opportunity to go play at Vanderbilt. They didn’t want to pursue me anymore after that point. I had to take a preferred walk-on spot, which means I still had to pay for school. I thankfully I didn’t have to pay for school because I got a scholarship academically. I got a preferred walk-on spot at Florida University because they couldn’t even offer me any scholarships because it was way past. I already told them like, “I don’t want to go to your school. I’m going to go to Vanderbilt.”
I had nothing coming out of my senior year. I didn’t gain all area of honors. There was a bunch of things. My stats weren’t as good as I wanted them. My last two games, I was seeing some big things. I remember my second last game, I was playing Boca Raton. I took a sweep. I grabbed the ball and I went around, I was taken off to the end zone and a guy came out of nowhere. I had a whiplash. I bang my head against the grass. I went out and then I went back in. I was dazed. It fucked me up.
After that time, when I didn’t gain all these honors and I didn’t gain the scholarships and everything that I was working towards all my high school career, I didn’t get anything that I wanted. I felt so alone. I felt in so much pain. I was sleeping all day. I couldn’t move. I was getting dizzy all the time. Post-concussive syndrome is real. It happens that my anxiety, my depression and everything was coming with it, which I believe was correlated directly to my concussion.
During those eight months, I knew that I had to get ready for Florida Atlantic University. I had to go to a Division 1 Football school and make a name for myself even though I didn’t have a scholarship. I didn’t get that scholarship, but they knew who I was and how well I played. This is where the process comes back. This is where I recognized the process a little bit more in fitness. The only times that I could feel like myself is when I was training. It was so interesting.
Outside of me training, I can remember so vividly going to 24-Hour Fitness in Boynton Beach, Florida, walking and feeling in a daze, feeling like I was a third person. It almost felt like I was someone on the outside looking at me from that third person point of view. It was like a peel view. It was very weird. When I walked into that gym and I started training, everything went away. My focus went directly to the weights. My focus went directly to my body weight training. My focus went directly to the process and the training, and I felt so alive.
During this time, I was suicidal. I remember looking at the fan and thinking, “What if I ended my life?” I remember crying every single day, morning, lunch and dinner and thinking to myself, “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t live like this. I can’t feel like this. This concussion is destroying me.” I was extremely suicidal, I kid you not. I believe my mom was aware of this. My dad was aware of this to an extent, but I also tried to keep it in. I didn’t want people to know that I was suicidal because I lost everything. My health, I lost my mind, I lost my opportunities. I lost everything.
What I didn’t realize is that the opportunities were right in front of me. This was everything I wanted and more. I wanted to prove to people that I could work the hardest, that I could be somebody that many others, if not all of others thought that I couldn’t be. Whether I was a 190–pound guy, whether it was running a four 40–yard dash, which I did. Whether it was starting and playing for a Division 1 school or it was having the most beautiful girlfriend or having beautiful cars or making it to the NFL when everybody said I couldn’t or speaking in front of 50,000 people, all of these things kept on going through my mind during these eight months.
That’s what saved me, this fitness thing. When I grabbed my hands onto these weights, it wasn’t so much about working out. It was about pushing my mind to another level. It was the process of going somewhere. What was my purpose? Where am I going? Why am I going there? When I look back at it now, that was when I was nineteen years old. I was a young boy, 18, 19 years old going into college. It’s much clearer now. It always evolves and I’m learning more. If only I knew a little bit clearer why I was doing what I was doing, what I was pushing for. I recognize that I don’t care so much about what people think of me, which is crazy.
Several years ago, I was telling myself that I care about what every person says about me. I don’t care so much about the accolades. Before, I used to care everything about accolades. I don’t care about the cars. I don’t care about the girls. I don’t care about any of that shit. When several years ago, that’s all I cared about. I wanted the hottest chick. I want it to be surrounded by the best–looking friends. I wanted to go to the parties. I wanted this and that, but now what I see is the process is beautiful. The process means so much to me. All the outside noise, all this shit that keeps on coming from different directions, whether it’s social media, whether it’s from people that I meet, whether it’s from my past, anything, none of it matters if I don’t love myself and I don’t know why I’m doing what I’m doing or what I’m even doing.
I know that may be hard for some people to listen to because maybe fitness hasn’t saved your life, or maybe something is in your life that you only realize is saving your life. However, this is the most beautiful part. I didn’t recognize any of this stuff. I didn’t recognize my true passion. I didn’t recognize why I was doing what I was doing and all of the stuff that I talked about in this show until I got clear with myself, until I learned who I am is within itself special, unique and beautiful.
What matters at the end of the day is that I can. It doesn’t matter if this girl rejects me. It doesn’t matter if I lose out on this business deal. It doesn’t matter if this person and this person are talking bad about me in my past. It doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, if I cancel out the noise, I get one with myself and I learn more about myself, then I don’t need the fitness. I don’t need the business. I don’t need the relationship. I don’t need any of the outside stuff. All I need is myself to save my life.
Once I get clear with myself, once I understand why I’m doing what I’m doing, all of these things, it becomes clear on why I’m living. I am who I am and where I’m going and the passions that are correlated with that. You may not have a passion and that’s okay, it will come. Or the passion is sitting right in front of you, then you should go out and grab it. You can’t give to people and you can’t give to a passion. You can’t give to all these things that you want to give to in your life energetically, unless you get clear with yourself and learn way more about who you are, why you are and where you are in life. That’s all I can say.
Did fitness save my life? Yes, it did. You know who saved my life at the end of the day? Myself, me. Back when I was 18 or 19, I didn’t understand it. I couldn’t figure it out. Back when I was 22, 23, I couldn’t figure it out. When I was 24 and 25, I went through a series of events. I was confronted by death. I was confronted by the scariest times of my life. It was the first time ever that I got clear with myself, that I unraveled all the shit that has been holding me back in my life.
This is when I got clear with my intentions of playing in the NFL, making a lot of money, having cars, being famous, I realized that none of it was worth it. None of it correlated with where my life was going. None of it represented me. That was the pivotal moment in my life. It’s your turn to get clear with yourself. It’s your turn to unravel all of the shit. It’s your turn to get focused. It’s your turn to get one with yourself, and that’s it. Thanks for tuning in for this episode. I‘ll see you in the next one. Peace.