This was the beginning of a new life. A life I had never known. One without a football in it. You see, when I look back on my life I always see two different lives, led by two very different people. Who I was and who I became were two parallel entities. I never had the life of a “teenager”. I rarely partied, alcohol was rare, drugs were out of the question, no time for girls. Which I appreciate because football kept me away from all that. Except the girls, I’d like to have lost my virginity sooner rather than later. I lived the life of an athlete since the age of 8. I started this thing very young and it was all I ever knew. Until I quit.
I wanted to live the life I missed out on. Do all the things I never did. I felt as if I had so much catching up to do. Everything was new and completely different. After all, my world had just turned upside down as I knew it. But I always knew I was a good boy. I knew I would never cross the line. That line between adventurous and stupid. I just wanted a little taste of everything. Do this, go there, do that, fuck her, try this, live there, and on and on it went. There was something always missing. I didn’t know if it was her, or the football. I guess it was a little bit of both. I didn’t know what I needed to get over, her or football. It took me a while to get over it all. Even today I’m still not sure.
I am going to reflect on this right now, as I write… I guess, If I was to look back and knew what I know now, I would say I don’t think it was her.. because now I know I was maybe in love with the idea of her. I can’t help it. I’m a hopeless romantic. Is it football? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I just needed to find a new identity.
For a long time I found myself in no mans land. I didn’t know where i belonged, or where I fit in. I wanted to figure it out, find myself and do it as soon as possibly could. I thought only then would I find my peace, my happiness, my means to live. I just wanted a normal life. But I didn’t know what that was. I was in search of something everybody else seemed to already have. As time would go on, I would feel more pressure. I didn’t wanna be a burden on my parents financially, nor emotionally. I always expected the best from myself in whatever I strived to do. Except I felt as if I was failing with everything I did. Every turn I made I hit a dead-end, every gun I held went off. Maybe I just quit too easy. Maybe I gave up too quickly. Nothing comes easy, and you have to work hard in whatever you want to accomplish in life. Nothing is ever given to you or written in stone. It took me a while to figure that out and I had to find it out the hard way. I did many things and jumped from one place to another. Looking back now I think I did that because there were so many things I wanted to try to do. I wanted to do it all and do it asap. Once I had conquered a skill or a place, I’d look to move on to the next thing.
Before I continue writing, I would like to just mention that the person you will get to know, is trying to get to know himself. This is part II, act II whatever you wanna call it. I will not hold back in this book. I will reveal everything and tell every story with all the truth that it holds. Because only God can judge me.
After Denmark I moved back to New York. Fuck New York! I started drinking everyday, depressed, not training, eating like shit, getting fat and boring. Marcial was opening up a small studio in Queens. He offered that I hang out and help him out. It got me out of the house, which was exactly what I needed. Who knows maybe getting laid would have done the trick. But my penis was as useless as a pair of hot tits on a nun. I worked in that studio for a couple of months before deciding to become a Personal Trainer myself. I thought I had found my calling. Little did I know. Around that time to help me with my struggles, instead of hiring a hooker, I decided to get a dog. I went to a pet store on Northern Boulevard. That’s where I met Charlie Brown. Charlie was a shitzu, who shed a light in my heart. It didn’t take too long before my parents fell in love with him and eventually ended up having him after I moved to Australia.
In those few months I spent in New York, I started hitting the gym with Marcial. We would go workout after closing and train hypertrophy in the gym he used to train me in since I was 13. Only this time, I was 21 with pubic hair. He inspired me to start working out. I can’t tell you how much that helped. When I quit soccer, I was not only broken down mentally, but physically. My body had always been an athletes body and I treated it like so. Getting back to some form of training with any set of motivation was a gift. It helped me when I was struggling with depression. I would workout and immediately feel better. Kinda like jerking off without the remorselessness. But that could have also been the weed.
I remember the very first time I smoked weed. Who could forget such a landmark. More than wanting to try it, I wanted to kill the goalkeeper inside me. Because I knew that he would never in a million years do this. I knew if I did this, there was no coming back for him. I knew that. Because in my mind I was done with football. But not in my heart. I wanted this to kill what was left inside. My boy rolled a blunt, took a puff and passed it to me.
It was instant magic. What an incredible ride. I honestly agree with Bob Marley, it is a gift from God to mankind. First of all, you don’t laugh at every little thing. But you are more prone to laughing at shit that makes no sense what so ever. Which in return raises the probability of you laughing more than usual when you are sober. There is nothing better than chilling with friends, with some good weed, and food. I still smoke today on occasion. I find a sense of serenity in it. I was never addicted to weed, but there were times in my life where I smoked everyday. Whether it be boredom or to get creative or just sit back and relax. I could quit instantly and be completely fine. I have a very high level of self-control. I’m very disciplined when it comes to my body so I can never be “addicted” to anything because my brain wouldn’t allow it. I wish people would judge themselves before they pass judgment upon others for smoking weed or living a different lifestyle than theirs. Nobody is better than anybody. In fact the coolest people I’ve met in my life smoke weed. If you don’t smoke weed, then I may actually doubt you. Alcohol makes people do stupid things. Weed just makes you hungry and happy. You can overdose and kill yourself on almost everything except weed. Plus, it’s calorie free. Minus the munchies. I’m not trying to justify smoking weed, but it helped me a lot with my depression. It’s different for everybody but at times it was the only thing keeping me alive. For a long time I had the stigma of a bad person from my parents. Just because they didn’t agree with it. I found it odd to be judged on smoking when they themselves had made more than a few mistakes in the past. I don’t expect them to ever understand or be on board with the idea. I just need to be respected with the life choices I make as a person. Whether it’s right or wrong, nobody is traveling through my path except me. So far I don’t regret a single decision I’ve made in my life. Not even dropping football to go after love. Even though looking back that was probably my penis making the decisions instead of my heart. Everything has come together to make me the man I am today. And you know what, with the good and the bad, I kinda like the person I have become. I’m not better, but I am different and I take pride in that.
On new years day 2010, I moved to Australia to attend the “Australian institute of Fitness”. A personal training school based in Sydney. I spent three great months there staying with uncle Frank. Made new friends outside the world I’ve known. Amazing experience all round. My only regret was not diving with a great white shark. That’s in my bucket list along with a several other things. Australia was beautiful, but far, far away. Not to mention full of wildlife. I remember shitting myself when I saw a black widow crawling up my park bench.
Trying to get some form of life on track, I decided to move to Sweden after I was done with the course. Why Sweden? I don’t know. Maybe because I knew Denmark and Sweden were similar. Maybe because I just wanted to be closer to her. Maybe I liked my chances of making a life there. After all, I was very much into blondes and tits. At this point in time I was trying to move on. So I was fucking girls left and right. Which is funny because in high school I was still a virgin. I was shy with girls and couldn’t put two sentences together in front of a pretty face. Whatever happened after high school; Thank You! But even though women came and went, my heart was still elsewhere.
After moving to Stockholm I got a job at SATS as a Personal Trainer. That was a whole new world for me. A cold one too. I met many amazing people who inspired me to become a better version of myself. People I still carry in my heart today. I adapted quick to the Swedish life. Maybe because the culture was similar to the Danish. Or maybe I was made to feel right at home by the beautiful Swedish women who found the American accent somewhat exotic. Everyone spoke English and people were very friendly. I was living smack in the middle of the city where all the action was and working in Odenplan. You see, being a personal trainer at SATS Odenplan was not like working for your ordinary gym. The music was loud, swarm of good-looking people working out and hot Swedish girls sweating in those tight ass shorts. It was like a night club exploding with muscles and ass. It was unique and famous for the way it was. Needless to mention how many girls I met there and trained for “free”. In pt school we were told not to become too close with our clients. Fuck that! Clearly none of those guys ever had hot clients.
My fellow personal trainer colleagues at Sats thought me a lot. I learned from the best. People that were champions. Everyone there was on a whole different level. Strict diets, strict training, with tip top shape bodies and a motivation that kept them always wanting more. Being under the same roof with these people made me a better Personal Trainer, and made me wanna take my training and body to the next level. I had found a new tool for motivation. Inspired by people like Alex and Joseph, my body was under construction. I’d never forget the words that were said to me right before I began my fitness journey, “You wanna see what you look like under that fat”? Yes! Yes, I did. Mind you, I wasn’t “fat”. But with these guys it was all about measurements and percentages. The worst of them had about %10 body fat. I mentioned their training and diet was strict. Up until then I would shove my self with McDonald’s, Burger King, pizza, sugar and all kinds of carbs. Right after training I would go have a burger next door. Those days came to an end. I was ready to Rock N’ Roll! Alex wrote me a diet and challenged me to do it. He doubted me, and that made me even more motivated to succeed. I would get up in the morning, eat 5 egg whites with no salt. Eating every two hours, I would down protein shakes between lunch and dinner. This went on for as long as it took. Until the day I could look in the mirror and say “mission accomplished”. Things were easier being amongst people who lived and breathed fitness. I would train my clients and work out with Joseph, Abbe or Platini at the end of the night when the gym was all empty. They are the true definitions of beasts. Hence why, I became a beast myself. If you learn from the best and be amongst the best, you will be the best. It’s really true when they say, you become like the people you surround yourself with.
My diet and training were very tough. I always trained hard, but I learned how to train smart. Another difference was that after training, I wouldn’t munch on burgers and pies. It’s really %80 diet. Soon enough I was down from %17 body fat to %8 with minimum water retention. In other words, the specific look of a fitness model. But you see fitness is a drug. The better I got, the less satisfied I was. The more I wanted, the better I wanted to be. I stayed hungry and motivated. Which was the key for success. Doing all this made me learn my body in and out. I was no longer getting sick, no longer getting tired. I knew my limits and kept pushing them to find out where the line of chaos was. I was always curious to see how far I can push my body. If football had taught me one thing, it was that to be the best, I had to train harder, be better, become faster, push further than anyone else on that field. That attitude was encoded in my DNA. Sports, fitness, will always be something my body craves.
This transformation didn’t happen in 1 week or 2 months. I put in the hard work, didn’t put a single grain of sugar in my body for 4,5 months. I wanted abs like Jesus. So I had to be patient. My body taught me to be patient. It taught me that small progress that you hardly notice, is still progress. That the baby steps taken on a journey today, will one day become an adventure that shapes you into the person you are. What people don’t understand is that fitness is not only a journey you take to get somewhere. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a way of life. If you have sex just to cum then you’re one of two things; either you’ve been fucking the same person for too long or you’re just a shitty lay yourself. There are no shortcuts in fitness. For me, it’s like taking a shower or brushing my teeth. If I don’t workout, I feel like crap. That’s the state of mind you have to achieve in order to make fitness your lifestyle. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
Working as a pt my first ever client was a woman called Ingela. She was a true Viking! The sweetest person you could ever meet. A very humble business woman who built her empire from the ground up the old-fashioned way. After training her a few times we couldn’t help but become friends. Ingela and I are still in touch today. She is sort of an auntie figure for me. I think deep down maybe I’m the son she never had. But for you to understand where the core of this friendship lies, you first have to meet Chef Francesc West.