The force of the blow sent Sam staggering backwards over his bike. He hit the ground with a thud and the metallic taste of blood filled his mouth. He could hear the 3 boys who’d jumped him laughing as they rode off. Sam desperately tried to hold it together but he could feel his bottom lip quiver while his eyes filled with tears. He picked himself up, dusted himself down and slowly trudged home.

He entered his house, quietly bypassing the kitchen so his mum didn’t see his bloody face and went to house room. He sat on his bed and sobbed..... He picked up an old copy of ‘Flex Magazine’ one of his mums friends had given him, flicked through the pages and a light bulb went off in his head....

Like a lot of guys I experienced bullying in my early teens. As a tall, chunky kid with an unruly mop of blonde hair I was an easy target. At first I laughed it off but pretty soon I wasn’t sleeping at night worried and overthinking what the walk to school would bring. That was back in the 90’s, nowadays cyber bullying on social media and on WhatsApp groups are increasingly common and with suicide on the increase among teens it’s fucking tragic.

Bodybuilding was my release and saviour i started with my little home set up then eventually a proper gym and the sweat and pain I put myself through took away the pain and anger of being bullied. Years passed and I went from 168 pounds at 14 to leaving school weighing 200lbs with abs.

Not going to lie bodybuilding didn’t end my experience of being bullied the new found confidence did.Hitting the iron made those years bearable and I don’t want to even think about what would’ve happened if I hadn’t found the fitness lifestyle. No kid should have to dread going to school, walking down a certain road or bumping into a certain person or group of people.

Bullying destroyed my confidence to the point where I’d cross the road if I saw a girl walking towards me. I used bodybuilding  to claw the confidence back but it took years for my confidence to match my facade of muscles and tattoos.

I have a lot of teenage followers so if you’re reading this and you’re being bullied, talk to someone. Parent, teacher or other family member. Talk it out, report it so steps can be taken to end it. If you feel there’s no-one to talk to, there’s a tonne of great organisations out there to help:

Childline 0800 1111
National Bully Helpline 0845 2255 787
Bullying UK 0808 800 2222
Bully Busters 0800 169 6928