Fitness, bodybuilding the key to overcoming depression for city man

Struggling with depression and suicidial thoughts, Felipe Soto Torres, 32, took a hard look at his life, and decided to change things through fitness.

Torres, an amateur bodybuilder, a personal trainer and a blogger on bodybuilding, remembers that he was in a “black hole” three years ago.

“I lost my job, I broke up with my girlfriend, and I had to seek a psychiatrist,” said Torres.

Because of his mental illness, Torres took medication to calm himself down. However, it made him became neglect his school work.

He ended up nearly facing loss of his status as an international student, which might have resulted in him having to leave Canada.

“Because if I weren’t a student, they would report me to the immigration officer.”

Torres said everything was getting worse, so he bought a bottle of sleeping pills and decided to end his life.

Then a strange thing happened.

“When I was sleeping, a really clear voice said to me that I could not end my life like this,” said Torres.

“I dreamed of my mother, my niece, and my family.”

Torres said that he did not know where the voice came from. However, all his suicidal thoughts were gone, and he decided to do something to make his life better.

He started training seriously with a proper eating plan.

According to Torres, fitness not only changed his physical appearance, it transformed his mindset.

Fighting Depression: Felipe Soto Torres, 32, an amateur bodybuilder, a personal trainer and a blogger of bodybuilding, poses at a gym centre, in Calgary on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. He had struggled with depression and suicide thoughts three years ago. (Photo by Minh Do/The Press)

Kay Wayne, Torres’s trainer, said that Torres trained six days a week, combined with a strict diet and daily supplement intake.

“When he told me he wanted to do something different, I knew he was determined enough to take a huge step outside of his comfort zone,” said Wayne.

“It was hard at first, because he has to mentally, physically and financially prepare for it.

“I’m glad that he’s on the right track.”

Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, says in a study that exercise relieves symptoms of depression, which triggers the release of chemicals in the brain: Serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins, dopamine, that dull pain, lighten the mood and relieve stress.

“Every day, I stand in front of the mirror and reassure myself that I am more than loved by myself,” said Torres.

“Because when I love myself, I know that I deserve better.

“It changes my point of view about life and boosts my confidence.”

Torres said his most significant motivation was to become a better person.

“I imagine myself as a good role model for my nephews, nieces, and motivation for someone who needs as I needed before.

“If I can change or save one’s life with what I’m doing, that motivates me too.”

Torres is now training for the local building competition in November, 2017.

He wants to pursue his career as a professional bodybuilder and compete in international competitions in Las Vegas.

About Minh Do 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Minh Do worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.