Helene Tremblay Went From 300 Pounds to Women's Physique Competitions

Helene developed a severe case of depression and anxiety. Eventually, it led to the use of prescription medication. 

“It wasn’t until I was about 21 that I fully realized the damage I’d done,” she said. “I was just shy of 300 pounds at 5-4, in a miserable relationship, and was angry and depressed.”  I developed a pretty severe case of depression and anxiety which led to the use of prescription medication.”

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Mark Verity, Overcoming Bullying

“As soon as I put an APEMAN shirt or belt on, I felt like I wasn’t that skinny kid anymore,” Mark said. “I felt like I could grind through anything. I realized it wasn’t about if I was skinny or not, but about improving my self-worth and how I looked at myself every day. I still strive to be stronger but at the end of the day, I’ve found something that helps make me fully happy.”

Not coincidentally, when Mark started gaining confidence through powerlifting, other areas of his life started to drastically improve. He is now happily a music teacher and continuing along his APEMAN journey. 

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Albie Mushaney, From 400 Pounds to the World's Strongest Santa

“It started a few years ago,” Albie said. “My wife and I had our last child. I was 41 at the time. I remember sitting on the floor and I couldn’t put my own socks on; I was 400-pounds and my diabetes was out of control. I thought, ‘I’m going to be 60 when my son graduates high school.’ I don’t know many 400-pound 60-year-olds out there.”

Albie began hitting the gym hard and estimates he lost at least 100 pounds of fat while gaining a ridiculous amount of strength. 

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Robin Holtry Found Strength After the Sudden Loss of His Grandfather

“Back in 2015, I went on a family vacation to Colorado with my mother, sister and grandfather,” he reflected. “On a family rafting trip, my grandfather fell into the cold Poudre river which triggered a heart attack. The day was a blur. I was on a separate raft when we got the signal to make our way to shore, and all I remember hearing is my mother screaming as she frantically held onto my grandfather, so he wouldn’t continue floating down the river. I didn’t have the slightest clue what exactly was happening.”

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Ana Alvez Beat Depression with Fitness

“In 2016 my world came to a halt,” she said. “Not only did my dad fracture his neck in a car accident and nearly died in the VA hospital from a stage 4 bedsore, my brother passed away from cancer.”

Ana struggled on a day-to-day basis trying to be a pillar of strength for her family. On most days, she succeeded. But as we all know, that’s infinitely easier said than done. 

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Iain Hastings, Overcoming Alopecia

“I have a medical condition that I don’t want to go into because it isn’t really relevant, but I lost all of my hair due to it,” Iain said. “It is called Alopecia universalis. I lost all the hair on my body and don’t have the ability to grow any more. When I was diagnosed, I dropped into a severe depression over months and months and got quite unwell. I lost an alarming amount of weight and even attempted suicide.”

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Adam Melson, Life After Football

“I’ve always been big for my age,” Adam said. “I used to get teased for being overweight when I was younger. So much so, that I would go home and cry to my mom that I was afraid I'd never have any friends.” 

Adam developed internal scars and strength through his adversity. Instead of fighting how he was naturally built, he embraced it. 

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Erik Plate Lost His Father at 14 and His Mother 9 Years Later

“I went into a rage,” Erik said. “I destroyed a door and put my fist through the wall with all of the anger directed at my stepfather since he was indirectly the cause of all of this. I still have the scars on my right hand from putting my fist through a wooden door and ripping it off its hinges. I spent the next three years living in a stupor. I lived off an inheritance, ate so much that I ballooned to 325 pounds, and became very antisocial while playing video games for 12 hours a day and becoming more and more suicidal with each passing day.”

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Vince Maier Picked Up the Pieces After His Girlfriend's Suicide

Vincent’s significant other, best friend, lover and girlfriend of two years had taken her own life.

“I came home that night, after an argument that morning to be greeted by silence,” he said. “Not only did she die, but a part of me did, too. She was the most beautiful, loyal, caring, compassionate, selfless, and empathetic person I had ever known. We’d stay up until the early mornings just talking. Sharing. Laughing.”

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Daniel Lubick, Overcoming Addiction

After coming home, Daniel relied on drugs and alcohol to escape life and all its emotions. If he’s honest with himself, drugs and alcohol helped him escape, literally, everything. 

“I gave up jobs, family, friends and myself for a very long time,” he said. “I began getting DUIs at the age of 26. I racked up four within 10 years. The last one was in 2012. I was at the point in life where I wanted to die.”

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Jonathan Long, Kidney Cancer and the Road Back

“I was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma,” he said. “That was about eight years ago. Never did I think that was the end for me. I knew that I would fight and overcome it. That’s exactly what I did.”

In fact, not only did he overcome it, he competed in his first Scottish Highland Games just 18 months after his surgery. 

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Erin Doherty, From Overweight to Anorexic and the Battle Back

“For the rest of my high school education, I was in and out of treatment facilities for Anorexia Nervosa and Exercise Bulimia,” she said. “I became addicted to feeling empty, fragile and weak. I severely restricted my intake and would run until I burnt off double whatever minuscule amount I consumed. Although I was tired, I was constantly chasing the high that my eating disorder gave me. I was no longer living for myself; I was either eating to please other people or succumbing to the voice in my head. I was completely disconnected from my body and in denial that what I was doing could have serious repercussions.”

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Juan Cervantes, How PTSD Changed Her Life

“My story begins after my last deployment to Iraq in November of 2006,” APEMAN Juan Cervantes said. “My struggles with dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and multiple attempts and thoughts of suicide, and how my wife has been by my side the entire time even before she was my wife.”

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