By Daniel Lebo

When I was fourteen, my mother rented a house from a retired bodybuilder. At that point, his old workout room became my bedroom. The room was packed with thousands of dollars worth of equipment, two bench presses, at least twenty 45 lb plates, and more exercise equipment than the high school I attended. At the time, my first season playing on my school’s football team had just ended and I wanted to stay in shape during the off-season. My first class started at 7:30 am everyday. So, twice a week I would wake up around 5:00 am, literally roll out of bed onto a bench press and start my day with three sets of eight reps. Then came breakfast, a bowl of cereal, a tall glass of water with creatine powder and a fist full of vitamins (Chromium, Magnesium, and a few others I can’t remember). I’ve spoken of my love for reading before, and this time in my life was no different. I bought every Flex Magazine I could afford, I read every book about bodybuilding that I could find and I attended a sports medicine bootcamp at a local university.

The Power of The Drum

During that same off-season, I fell in love with the sound of the drums and the energy of the marching band. This new found passion for music became my obsession and I had no intention of returning to the football team or playing sports the rest of my time in high school. I put the cleats away, yet I continued my workout routine and my commitment to the gym. “So what’s the point of working out if your not playing sports?” my friends would ask. Simple, I would reply, it makes me a better person. Aside from the obvious physical benefits, weightlifting helped me face life’s problems with a positive attitude. Sometimes, the way we approach a problem and the attitude we carry with us can make a huge difference in the way things get resolved. So, from high school on, I have found solace in the gym.

I believe the common perception of gym rats is that of your typical jock who can’t stop standing in front of the mirror. I’m sure there are a few of those around but in my experience, every gym I’ve held a membership at has been full of people willing to give a hand or some helpful advice. No matter what shape you are in when you walk through those doors, we are all there for the same reason, to improve on whatever body we walked in with.

Gym Closed Until Further Notice

Exercise is my form of meditation, my cup of tea, my go to stress reliever. So you can imagine my mood when COVID-19 closed the doors of every gym nationwide. I immediately gained weight and fell out of step with my usual self. It was terrible, but who am I to complain about the lack of workout space when the whole world is suffering from an invisible threat. I have many friends in the military, and the few marines I know live by the phrase “Adapt and Overcome”. So thanks to Sarah our VP, I realized that my diet was not on par with my lifestyle. I adapted to a life without gyms by using resistance bands at local parks and overcame an unhealthy relationship with foods that do not support the best version of me. Sarah guided her autistic son to a healthier life and more promising future with proper nutrition, now she was guiding me through one of the darkest times in modern history by turning my attention to my diet in addition to exercise, thank you Sarah.

My efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle during quarantine have become a boring topic for me to discuss until today. Today I learned of the incredibly sad and untimely passing of George “Da Bull’ Peterson, a body builder who I learned of during quarantine via social media. For all of the good qualities that George possessed, what I admired the most about George and all professionals in the fitness world is attitude. The attitude that there is no end goal, there is no finish line, there is no retirement. George Peterson was absolutely massive! He could’ve withdrawn from the world of competitions and made an excellent life in the fitness and supplements industry, but no, his desire to be bigger and better than he was the day before kept him in a constant fight to reach higher and higher.

George was truly an inspiration to me, the type of individual that makes me a better person. Rest in Power to a Healthy New Yorker, George Peterson. I hope that his friends and family are surrounded with love, prayers and an entire team of angels.

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