“Back in 2009, I was diagnosed with Still’s Disease/ Early Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis. This was a devastating blow to my career that pretty much just started to take off. I started tattooing in 2006 and it was everything to me. I made a lot of sacrifices to succeed. After a few years of taking prednisone and methotrexate which left me all sorts of messed up, swollen and sick I swelled up to 225 and was fed up. I had spoken to Danny a few times about it back then and he always suggested a diet change and getting over to the gym. I ended up going Paleo for a full year and it worked incredibly well for me; so well that I was able to completely get off medication, leaving me 60 lbs lighter, but weak. I never followed through with the gym, I never made the time to really dedicate to it. It wasn’t until 2015 that I finally made my way into Soul to start training.
I originally did a little of everything while working out with Danny and whoever wanted to workout with us. It was definitely a rude awakening as to how much I had neglected myself. I could barely do a push-up and a pull up was completely out of the question. I eventually found my way to the powerlifting program and that was it. I found a passion for it and found something else to push me. I’ve always liked the competition and this is a very humbling sport. It forces me to stay accountable to putting the work in and ultimately I just do it for myself now. I did my first meet in November of 2016 and a second one in February of 2017. I’m currently training for my third in a few weeks. It’s been a couple of years now but I’ve definitely been the most consistent over this training program so far. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. I think back to first testing my numbers and failing my back squat at 100 kilos. It’s crazy to me that I’ve added over 100 kilos pretty much to all of my lifts since I started training with Team Soul. I could have never imagined this kind of growth was possible. Soul has been a huge part of my life these last few years and I couldn’t imagine life without it. It’s completely changed the way I think about my day to day, from the physical to the psychological. It’s my way of keeping my head right and decompressing. Soul is my escape from everything else.” – Javier Betancourt