Choked, punched, intimidated, thrown to the ground—it sounds like a professional wrestling match. But these are the words David Wang uses to describe his childhood. And he’s not alone.
David’s experience of bullying as a kid growing up are echoed by millions of children today.
David was afraid to go to school. He was a slender child, and bullies called him names like loser, stupid, skinny, retarded, and small. These names especially hurt since at one point his legs were so weak he had to wear braces to support himself.
More than anything, David wanted the bullying to stop. He felt helpless. Perhaps the only thing worse than being the target of bullying were the bystanders who did nothing to help and even laughed on the sidelines.
The emotional and physical abuse took its toll, and David began to isolate himself. As he reached his teen years, there were times when he felt so depressed that he even considered suicide.
One day, David punched a wall in anger and shockingly broke his hand. After that, he decided he needed to make a change.
David began working out in his bedroom. He was still isolated, but he felt safe, and slowly he started to feel more positive. Eventually, he started attending a gym, and over time, he grew stronger and stronger. It made him feel alive and invigorated, and he was also around other people with similar fitness goals. He no longer felt so alone.
Working out became the outlet he sorely needed.
Before each workout session, David would put in his earphones and listen to music as he began to prepare, focus, and visualize his workout. It took some time and a committed personal effort, but David had found his passion, and he thrived on setting goals to improve himself.
To look at David today, you would never think of the words his bullies used to call him.
Loser? Quite the opposite. Stupid? No, David graduated college with honors. Skinny? If you mean skinny as in “not fat,” that would be partially true. Wang is built, buff, and brawny. Every muscle is as much a part of him on the inside as it is on the outside—and it was all earned. Small? Not anymore.
Two years ago, he was asked: “Who are you now, David, when you look in the mirror?” He answered back humbly, “I see a more confident person.”
“I see someone who has made a lot of progress. Most of all, I see someone who is on a journey.”
Wang explained that the gym is more than a place he goes to train, it’s symbolic in his life. “It’s a haven for me,” David said. “It’s given me my closest friendships, and I could even say it’s become a sanctuary for me, because it’s really therapeutic for me to be there.” David also decided to become a trainer to inspire and motivate other people. “I just fell in love with that as well,” he added.
Two years ago, David shared some advice for kids who are being bullied.
“It will make you stronger. Just stay strong and push through it. You will be OK.”
UnWind caught up with David recently over a phone interview to check in on him and see where he is now.
David Wang is everything you would hope for in a kid who grew up being bullied and a whole lot more.
This year, David completed the NASM Master Trainer program, an intense physical training program for personal trainers with a high reputation. Upon completion, he was told he was the youngest person ever to earn the Master Trainer endorsement. In a program that typically only sees around 60% finish, that’s quite an accomplishment.
David is also a corrective exercise specialist, fitness nutrition specialist and holds a Bachelor of Science (Magna Cum Laude) in Human Biology: Applied Physiology. Other than training others as a Master Trainer, David works on staff at an elite powerlifting gym called Barbell Brigade in Los Angeles, California, and works as a fitness model for Naturally Fit Agency.
David is only 22-years-old.
(Photo Credit: Pat Lee)
David has already inspired others with his life struggles. For example, one man watched David’s story on YouTube and reached out to him. “[He] asked if I would be a mentor to him,” said David. Of course, he said yes. He has communicated with the man via Skype, answering questions and providing inspiration.
For now, David says, “I’d like to move in a direction that allows me to have the greatest impact on others.” He has not forgotten what his pursuit of fitness has done for him, and he wants to continue to empower others with the same blessings that he’s received. David is considering returning to school to study physical therapy or sports medicine, pursuing some entrepreneurial endeavors in the fitness field, and possibly competing in powerlifting.
So the next time you see a kid getting bullied, tell them about David Wang.
(Photo Credit: Pat Lee)
David has the life experience, character, and mettle to offer more than a few encouraging words.
“As you grow, stay humble, keep your pride and ego in check, and learn how to dominate humbly,” he said.
Watch David Wang’s 5-year physical transformation here. Follow David on Instagram: https://instagram.com/davidwangfitness/ Subscribe to his YouTube, visit him on Facebook. Also, at David’s request, feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for training/life inquiries.
Watch the video below:
Source: This Student’s Powerful Answer To Bullying by Stories on YouTube and School Bullying Is Down. Why Don’t Students Believe It? by NPR. Also, davidwangfitness on Instagram, and UnWind interview by Billy Soden with David Wang.