A man who struggled with anxiety and body image issues has told how he’s turned his life around by taking up boxing.
Robbie Wildgoose found his mental health deteriorating during the pandemic and was concerned about his weight.
But the 32-year-old decided to take action and has been building up his confidence since taking up boxing classes.
Now the 32-year-old is busy helping other men with similar difficulties and has been organising a charity boxing event which will take place in November.
‘I was at rock bottom’
Robbie, of Aberdeen, became concerned about his mental health a year ago and turned to exercise which he found helped.
“I’ve had a lot of anxiety and depression in the past, but lockdown really hit me hard,” he said. “I was at rock bottom in September last year.
“It was very heavy depression and I was riddled with anxiety. I turned to boxing because I was so heavy that it was the only thing I felt comfortable doing with my two best mates.
“I started losing a bit of weight and from that I started to tackle my anxiety and felt like I wanted to stand up and show what I’ve done to be an example for everybody else.”
‘I didn’t want to be the fat boy in the gym’
Now that he’s found his love of boxing, he wishes he got involved in the sport at an earlier age.
But he felt too self-conscious about his appearance.
“I struggled to go into my local shop without being scared that someone will see how big I am and it will spiral my anxiety,” he said.
“I’ve always been a boxing fan, but because of anxiety towards my weight, it’s something that I never fully focused on.
“I didn’t want to be the fat boy in the gym, I didn’t want to be that person.
“Since I started the training and got a little bit of self-belief, I’m disappointed that I never did it before.”
‘I just want to be someone’s hero’
Robbie is now helping others by sharing his own experiences with other men.
He’s set up his own Instagram account Fat2Fight, where he says many people have reached out to discuss their own mental health and how the page has become their inspiration.
Robbie, who works as a masseur at Aberdeen Football Club, said many of the men have been encouraged to get into sport too.
He said: “A lot of people got in contact with me and opened up to me or told me that because of what I’ve said and done that they’ve opened up to other people.
“They might be sitting there not feeling great and watched a few of my videos and thought ‘I’m going to go to the gym, I’m going to go for a run.’
“That’s been the biggest thing for me. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t turned into a fitness fanatic, but it has changed my mindset completely.
“I just want to be someone’s hero, I want other people to look up to us.”
Robbie is now raising money for a mental health charity
Robbie has now organised a boxing event at Pittodrie Stadium to raise money for the Scottish Association for Mental Health.
He will take to the ring along with his friends, many of whom have suffered similar difficulties to raise money for the charity which is close to their hearts.
Anyone who wants to donate can visit https://bit.ly/3vjqT6u