We are very excited to announce October's Member of the Month, Sam Perez. While Sam hasn't been a member at Underdog for very long, he has certainly made an impact on all of the instructors that he has worked with here, as well as the members in the classes he has attended. While Sam can be a little bit quiet at first, spending the time to get to know him is rewarding. He is an exceptionally kind and thoughtful member with a strong heart. Congratulations on your spot as Member of the Month, Sam! We are very happy to have you here at Underdog.
Member of the Month – October, 2020: Sam Perez
How long have you been at Underdog?
I’m going on my third month.
How long have been involved with Martial Art/Fitness Training?
Just the three months that I’ve been here.
How has your life changed since you’ve come to Underdog?
My overall outlook on things has changed. I feel like I was in a funk before I got here, especially with the quarantine and the pandemic. It was taking a real toll on me mentally, and I was having trouble dealing with the way my life was changing. These last three months have been phenomenal. Physically and mentally, I’m putting my energy into something that’s been helping me cope with my frustrations from everyday life.
Do you have a background in athletics?
I wasn’t really athletic growing up, I did play Football in high school, but other than that I didn’t really do too much. I got a little more involved in sports as my son got into playing sports. He started playing basketball, and I’d start to do drills with him and picked up some time in that sport.
What’s your first strong memory of Underdog?
Just coming in was a bit of an epic moment. I came in a little banged up. I adopted my son’s best friend, we took him in, he’s been living with us for a year. His uncle got a little intoxicated and got jealous that he was having a good life with us, and he confronted me. I lost that fight. He threw a hook and I went down. I came in straight from the hospital and signed up. That gave me a lot of motivation to get started, but it isn’t my motivation anymore. Now this has become more about me furthering myself and making myself better physically and mentally. To tell you the truth, it wasn’t easy to walk in here looking like that. It wasn’t easy to be seen like that by my kids. It really hurt my pride. But since being here, I’ve developed a lot of confidence.
What is your favorite thing about Underdog?
The variety of classes that is offered and the level of experience from all the coaches. It’s phenomenal. Before I started training here, I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t even know how to lift weights. I’d go to the gym and just pump some weights, but since starting here and following a program, I’ve been getting a lot stronger, and I feel more solid.
What motivates you to train?
Getting better. I feel like I’m showing my children a better example. I’m not just sitting on the couch. I’m making the gym a priority, my health a priority. I enjoy coming here. When I’m here, I don’t have to worry about the distractions that I have outside of here. My body and my mind are getting sharper as I train here. That feels great.
The energy here is great, too. I felt like I was embraced here on day one, and whenever I’m here, I’m smiling. I learn from everybody. It’s an easy place to want to come back to.
Since starting at Underdog, what goals have you been able to achieve? What challenges have you had to face and overcome?
The big challenge for me was being the new guy. I saw everyone lifting really heavy weights, working through challenging techniques on the mats without having to think. I had to learn not to put myself in competition, and to put my pride and my ego aside to focus on my own development. I really appreciate that lesson, though. A lot of people let their ego mix into things, and that’s not a good formula. I had to learn to be a student again.
What has had the largest positive impact on your training?
The people here at Underdog, the community and culture. I read somewhere that it’s the people around us that make us great. There are so many good teachers here, and I get to take something from everyone. Learning some of this stuff and going home to teach my kids has been really cool, too, to pass on knowledge.
What goals do you still have? What’s next for your training?
My goals are to keep on getting better, to learn as much as possible, and not to limit myself. A lot of people end up getting limitations forced on them by other people, people who doubt them or want to keep them stuck at their level. I want to keep on reaching, and to try to be the best human being I can be. I want to keep on pushing my body and see what I can accomplish.
Anything you want to add?
Being here has taught me discipline. There are times where I don’t feel like coming in, but someone told me once that you have to train even on the days when you don’t feel like it. That really stuck with me. I’ve been tough with myself about showing up, being consistent, and doing my homework. I want to make sure that I’m doing what I can outside to come to the gym prepared.