Life generally turns out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.
No matter how hard or difficult those “things” are.
APEMAN Branden Bertero is a perfect example of that creed.
“My father died when he was just 35, I was only seven-years-old,” Branden said. “I grew up in a broken home and we were very poor. I was hurt. Angry. Developed trust issues. I don’t think I ever really recognized how angry I was.”
Branden’s outlet to combat the anger had always been sports. He was always naturally athletic, but when he stopped playing sports during his senior year of high school, his role models went from coaches to criminals.
“I was lost, completely defeated by life,” he said. “Another statistic of a fatherless child. I was in and out of jails and other institutions for a while until I turned 21 and surrendered my life to God. I stopped fighting change and embraced a new life – a positive life.”
It took an incredible amount of work for Branden to change, but every day he got a little better than before. During this time, he worked two jobs to make ends meet and had no substantial possessions.
Unfortunately, life would get worse before it got better.
“One night I was riding my bike home – which was humbling in and of itself – when I turned down a street,” Branden recalled. “Boom! I got beat up by two guys and they took off with my bike. Once I healed from my injuries I swore to myself I was going to get back into shape and save up some money.”
With the money he saved, Branden bought his first gym membership.
“At this point, I was starting back at square one,” he said. “I lost any muscle I had previously eveloped playing sports and strength training. I fell in love with the weight room all over again. It was the old rusty dumbbells, the photos on the walls of past champions, the loud music blasting through the speakers.”
That was at age 21. Fast-forward to now, at 26, and Branden has a decent job, a fiancé and two beautiful daughters (Ryann and Aubrey). Does he still struggle from time to time? You bet. But does he and his family appreciate everything they have? No doubt about it.
“I should be dead, but my destiny was changed at 21,” Branden said. “I can’t explain it. And in the process, I went back to something that brings me personally joy. Lifting heavy shit for reps and pumping up. Very rarely do I take a day off from the gym even with two kids, a career, a fiancé and other obligations I still train twice a day at Diamond Gym.”
Branden credits APEMAN with keeping him inspired to keep going. To keep pushing.
Every. Single. Day.
“I love the affirmations on the shirts,” Branden said. “Little phrases can be so powerful. Dieting, training, working and raising a family can be hard at times. So I set reminders, alerts on my phone that pop up periodically throughout the day with APEMAN quotes like ‘Overcome.’”