We’ve all been through it. 

That desperate feeling like something is missing. Like things just don’t add up. 

That’s when fear begins to take over and apathy sets in. 

For APEMAN Russell Hayes, the pattern was all too familiar. 

“We’ve all done things in our past that we aren’t proud of,” he said. “I certainly have a past like that. From 19-years-old to about 21, I was plummeting down the wrong path. I dove into drugs, alcohol and everything in between. I fought depression due to my grandfather passing years earlier, and battled addictions to cough syrup medication as well as marijuana.”

During his high school days, Russell was a multi-sport athlete. Working out, back then, was just something he had to do to keep up. After graduating high school, he tried out for a college baseball team. He didn’t make it, so he came back home to work and make a small-town living. 

For years after, Russell had been looking for his life’s calling. He worked long hours in a factory which contributed heavily to him being overweight, lethargic and sedentary as far as anything heathy was concerned.

“So here I was, 21-years-old, married and with my first child,” Russell said. “I realized I needed to stop everything I was doing. I tried and tried to better myself for him because ultimately that’s what needed to be done. It took a few months, but I beat the addiction to cough syrup and drugs. I also quit drinking on top of that all because of my son. After a year of being married I found myself divorced, due to a multitude of reasons, but it was ultimately the best thing for us.”

Being a single father, Russell did what he needed to do – provide. He wanted to give his son everything he never had. When his son started to crawl, Russell quickly realized how out of shape he was. 

In fact, he couldn’t even play with him. 

“A change had to be made,” Russell said. “I started to eat better and just walk the local walking track. Cutting out cokes and junk food. Eating salads and fresh produce to try and boost my metabolism. A buddy of mine was walking with me and he worked out non-stop all the time. He told me to come and work out at his gym. I promised him he would see me in there if I could lose 30 pounds. I was 230 at the time. I had to become committed to the process.”

Fast-forward five months. All of the walking, running and eating right had finally paid off; he made it to below 200 pounds. He wanted to keep his promise to his buddy, so he joined the local gym and started seriously working out. 

“I started seeing muscles form that haven’t been there in so many years,” Russell said while smiling. “I had finally found my new addiction. That’s when I found APEMAN and I’ve supported the mission from the first day I went on the website. I love what you do as a company and you’ve truly helped me in my journey.”

But now that he found his calling, Russell wasn’t about to stop there. 

“Shortly thereafter, I had a thought,” he said. “I want to use myself as a motivator for others and become a personal trainer. I enrolled at ISSA took the classes, studied hard every day learning the ins and outs of every workout that can possibly be done. At the end, I’m proud t say I received my personal training license. I was very proud of the work I put in to obtain it.”

Along with helping others attain their personal milestones, Russell has his own goals. He recently competed in his first powerlifting meet and destroyed his personal bests. 

“It was a blast!” Russell said. “I’ve been training for it for the past year; an amazing adrenaline rush and one of the best things I’ve ever experienced.”

Now, Russell is nearly 30-years-old and finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. APEMAN has always been a major inspiration to him as he continues his powerlifting journey. 

“It’s been a fantastic ride to get to this point,” he said. “And it’s only gonna get better from here. I thank my wife, Brittney, for her constant support for what I want to do. We just had a beautiful baby girl a few months ago and my son is so happy to be a big brother. Life is good. 

“I can finally say I’m living the dream.”