SEAN COLLINS / Jan 29, 2019

Mental health is a prominent issue in today’s society. Like most people, I feel like I have gone through some tough stages in my life where my mind-set has been tested.

When I was growing up, I was overweight. I had some very hurtful things said to me, which resulted in overeating and crying myself to sleep regularly. Hating my body gave me the motivation to lose weight as I grew into my teenage years. At my lowest point during my time in college, I became bulimic. I was surrounded by very fit, athletic individuals and I felt like I had to do anything and everything to fit in. No matter what I did, my body was never good enough in my eyes.

I lost a very close friend to an incredibly unfortunate accident at the age of 18, which caused me extreme sadness for many years. I shut down, withdrew and struggled to talk to anyone about what had happened. The internal pain and suffering continued for a very long time.

Once I started to open up about some of the issues I was having, I realised how helpful talking to someone was. Opening up felt like a weight was being lifted off of my chest.

Though I cannot put myself in anyone else’s shoes and imagine what they’re going through, I do know that speaking up and asking for support really helped to alleviate my pain.


My commitment to 15,000 kettlebell swings in November for #RYUOneMoreRep was not for recognition, praise or to get any pats on the back. My aim for doing this was to contribute to the awareness of mental health. Ultimately, I wanted to reach out in the hopes of helping people realize it is okay not to be okay and to understand that talking about your feelings is an incredibly powerful tool.


On November 2nd, just after starting the challenge, I had a young kid who I used to coach back in Ireland reach out to talk to me. He was looking for some guidance and advice after he had been suffering with his own mental health for the past few months. To be honest, I was already regretting my commitment of 15,000 reps at this point. That was until I received his message…

Thank you for talking to me. I feel a lot better about myself and my future.

That’s when it hit me. Knowing that I was able to help one person speak up and seek help by doing something so simple as kettlebell swings lit me up. You really never know who is listening and how your actions will resonate with someone.

The influence we can have surrounding mental health is so powerful – we all just need to be open to creating more awareness. Be more mindful and make an effort to ask people “are you okay?”. Break through the walls and barriers that people put up to deflect you – I know, I was one of those people.


RYU and the community have collectively done an incredible job creating awareness and helping raise funds for the cause. I’d like to invite everyone to keep working towards helping others who are struggling with their mental health.

Let’s keep the conversation going and set a goal to help as many people as possible. If you’re in a good headspace, don’t be afraid to ask if someone is okay. Alternatively, if you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone and ask for help. We all share the responsibility to create an environment that supports people in feeling comfortable to speak up and seek help.


Sean, originally from Cork, Ireland, is a personal trainer at Equinox’s Vancouver West Georgia location.


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