Joe Freni was seriously down in the dumps, until he worked his way to live up to his online ID: MrPullUp.


TRAIN: When was the moment you decided to change your ways?

Joe: I never thought I would use the word “depressed” to describe how I felt, but that’s exactly what I was from 2013-2015. It was bad enough that I was dreading waking up each day. I was miserable. High levels of stress at work, not moving, eating like crap, and generally feeling terrible, all combined until I guess you could say I’d become a shell of my former healthy and upbeat self.

By December 2014, I was heavier and unhealthier than ever, sluggish, and a miserable person to be around. I knew this was not me and I hated myself for it.


What got you in the gym?

As if cued by my wife and brother who had both suggested I go back to the gym, I received a marketing email from my former spot, that said they “missed” me. “This is exactly what I need,” I thought. Then, when I finally visited Gold’s Gym in Norton, Massachusetts, I noticed all the signs posted throughout about their fitness challenge.

I’d only intended to sort of return to a gym routine, but I knew I needed to do something different to eliminate all the negativity in my life.


How seriously did you take your nutrition?

I had a tough time with diet – specifically, that I was supposed to be eating five full meals per day. This was new to me, so it was hard to avoid the mind trap of thinking I could miss a meal or two, lose more weight, and get closer to my goal faster.

Over time, I realized that would not be the case. In fact, I would not have the energy and nutrients I need to sustain my training and my overall well-being.


What kept you motivated?

Know that setting goals is easy, but achieving them isn’t. I’m a fan of SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Write down your goals and make progress toward them each and every day – no matter how small the steps are.

In addition, I highly recommend surrounding yourself with positive people. With the help of my family and friends, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I haven’t had energy like this since I was in high school!


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