Kyle Welch Uses the Gym to Combat Mental Health Issues


Chinese teacher, politician, editor and philosopher, Confucius, is credited with saying, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” 

Life is fraught with defeats and setbacks. And depending on how you look at it, encountering those may be necessary in order to find who you really are. 

That’s how APEMAN, Kyle Welch, sees it. 

“My life has seemed like a continual struggle,” Kyle said. “In 2008, I was 22-years-old, weighed nearly 400 pounds and worked a job I had no real interest in. I basically had no idea what I wanted to do in life, but I knew I wasn’t doing it.”

There are times in everyone’s life when they need a jump-start. Hit the reset button. For Kyle, the decision to join the military was the solution. 

“I knew I had to do something drastic,” he said. “As you can imagine, telling my friends and family that I was going to join the military elicited some disbelief. After all, I hadn’t achieved much in life.”

To remedy this, Kyle stared to read about diet plans, got a membership at a nearby gym and began working with an amazing trainer.

“I started working out every day,” he said. “Sometimes twice a day. I kicked ass and at the end of 2010 I took my oath of enlistment in the US Army to be an 89D-OD Technician – bomb squad. In May of 2011, I went off to basic training at a lean 200 pounds and was easily the most fit I had ever been.”

But then came another one of those roadblocks. Kyle was injured at the end of 2011 to the point where his lower back was destroyed; after countless therapies and procedures, Kyle was medically retired from the military in February of 2013. 

“When I came back home, I was in horrible shape mentally, physically and emotionally,” he said. “For about six months or so, I just ‘existed.’ I didn’t really do anything other than go to continued doctor appointments.”

At the end of 2013, Kyle decided to go back to school. Eighteen months later he started an internship with the Social Security Administration and was eventually hired permanently. He loved what he did, and the people he worked with; it was his way of helping others. 

“On the surface I was fine, but my mental health continued to decline,” Kyle said. “I ended up resigning from my position and have been working on myself since then. Life in the military can take its toll on you; I’ve had seven friends either commit suicide or be killed in combat since 2013, which is incredibly painful to deal with.”

Finding the fortitude to continue to push on – every single day – is a struggle. For Kyle, it was the greatest battle he’d ever faced. He ballooned up to 480 pounds at the beginning of 2018 while also taking nine prescriptions. 

But he kept moving forward. 

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

Kyle got back into powerlifting and being more physical. He also started a diet plant. 

He credits APEMAN with being his motivation on a daily basis.

“I actually found APEMAN while watching YouTube,” Kyle said. “I fell in love with the story and brand. When I go to train now I am usually wearing an APEMAN shirt because the mission and brand is very powerful to me.”

At the beginning of the year, Kyle wasn’t even thinking he’d be able to do a squat ever again in his life. 

Just recently he did a 745x2 rep hack squat. 

“Life is tricky, a struggle and a blessing,” he said. “There is truly strength through perseverance.”