Thrown into the fire: How Myles Berrio found triumph through trauma
At Ryderwear, we’re big believers in the idea that lifting is for everyone. Whatever your size, your body shape, physical ability or identity, the gym is a space where everyone belongs.
To help everyone feel at home in the squat rack, our ‘Lifting is for Everyone’ series aims to amplify the voices of people in our community who don’t always fit the stereotypical ideal of what a lifter looks like (but absolutely should) - who work just as hard, lift just as heavy and are just as committed as anyone you’ll find.
Kicking off our series is Myles Berrio, who after losing his left leg and losing all function in his right arm following a devastating car accident, has continued to reach his fitness goals, build back stronger and triumph through the trauma.
RW: Can you give our community some insight into your accident?
MB: About 7 months ago, I was almost killed by a drunk driver hitting my car head on at over 90 miles an hour. My left leg was amputated, my right arm lost all of its function and my ‘good’ leg has a sustaining ankle injury that doesn’t allow me to lift my foot up. The first thing you might wonder is ‘why me’, but the reality is why not me? What makes me so special that I’m exempt from the brokenness of this world? It’s a hard truth but it’s true. We’re all human beings and the reality is we live in a world of sin, sickness and bad choices. But thank God we also live in a world of opportunity, love and good decisions that happen every minute. So, being angry or feeling sorry for myself won’t change my situation, but continuing to glorify God and being a positive human to others could change someone else’s life. That’s how you triumph through trauma - My accident is my testimony for someone else to be encouraged and say ‘because of you, I didn’t give up’
RW: What role has the gym played in your recovery journey?
MB: There were many days and nights I couldn’t walk with an amputated leg. There were many days and nights I couldn’t even talk, eat solid foods, dress myself or take a shower without using a bucket of warm water and someone washing me on the bed I couldn't move from.
But they say our minds are more powerful than our bodies. I mean, look at someone like Roger Bannister - the first to ever run a mile in 4 minutes. Before him, doctors and scientists concluded that it was impossible to do such a thing. But Roger trained and trained, and most importantly trained his mind that what the world saw as impossible was possible. On May 6th 1954, Roger Bannister proved his mind right - this is what fitness and getting back into the gym and lifting has done for me. It’s proved my mind right - that what the world might see as impossible, I was right to always see as ‘I’m possible’
RW: What’s your overall approach to health & fitness?
The very first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is get my butt to the gym, and for a very intentional reason. It’s not the gym that we love but the effect it has on us, and the way it makes us feel as we watch our bodies transform and our self-confidence grow.
Not many people like getting up early every morning to go beat your body down to work out, but if the very first thing you do when you open your eyes is accomplish a challenging task you don’t want to do, imagine what that does for your mentality for the rest of the day! You’re 100 times more likely to crush the day and all of your goals
That’s why fitness for me is not just something to do to look good, it’s the oil to my mindset for life. Imagine putting sand inside the gas tank of a ferrari - most people don’t realise that no matter how cool your life looks on the outside, if fitness isn’t a part of your lifestyle, you’re allowing for your most important muscle to deteriorate quicker than your body can keep up - your mind.
RW: Can you tell us a bit about your upbringing? How would you tell the Myles Berrio story?
I started off with very humble beginnings. My parents didn’t have much money after paying bills, so I learned very quickly that money is not everything, but having said that you can’t buy groceries with a smile. I grew up with an insatiable hunger for success and financial freedom. I graduated high school top 20 of my class and competed in many clubs and sports. I went on to attend the University of Georgia where my hunger for success and competitive drive met learning about entrepreneurship. This is where my mindset was refined even further when it came to leadership and communication skills. I learned very early on that ‘if you help enough people get what they want, yours will come automatically’.
I’ve since gone on to work as a personal photographer for celebrities and major influencers like Jamie Chung and Mary Leest. I’ve travelled all over the world to places like Thailand, Belize and the Dominican Republic to photograph weddings, as well as worked for some of the most well-known brands like Netflix, WeWork and UberEATS. As of today, I’m a happily married husband, father and work full-time as a real estate investor. Creating wealth has just become my tool to be able to help, encourage and inspire as many people as possible to be their best self. I do everything from automating an entire wholesale business to buying real estate through creative finance. All this to say, God has been my teacher and the captain of the ship. I can’t thank Him enough for the opportunities I’ve had, like becoming a part of this Ryderwear family.
RW: We’ve been in awe of the positive outlook you keep despite the challenges you’ve faced. How do you do it?
MB: To keep positive, I simply focus on where my energy flows. Where your thoughts go, your energy flows, so it’s important to understand that perspective is everything. In spite of the pain, I’ve realised that if I focus on what I don’t have and what’s changed, I’ll miss everything beautiful about what’s to come and what I do have. I lost my leg but not the opportunity to still be in my wife and daughter’s life. I’m alive, live in the greatest country and have opportunities to build the best life for myself beyond measure. Is that not enough for one to be excited every day?
RW: For anyone experiencing challenges or going through adversity right now, do you have any words of advice?
MB:Keep in mind that adversity is something we all face in some way or another. Just remember you’re not alone in your struggle even if it might seem like it. But it’s not what happens to us that really matters, it’s what we do with what happens to us. You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for because every time you thought there was no way you’d make it through, you’re still here now aren’t you? You aren’t just a warrior, you’re amazing.
RW: What does it mean to be #AMPUTEESTRONG?
MB: #AMPUTEESTRONG is a type of strength that requires every bit of your mind, body and soul that just physical and mental strength does not. Now this isn’t to devalue what it takes to become an Olympian or win the highest level of CrossFit games - it’s not about comparison. It’s just a strength that only a few will experience - it creates a unique type of individual who’s been thrown into the fire and became it.
RW: How can the fitness industry build a more inclusive culture for everyone?
MB: We learn this trait as little kids to include other kids whether they’re shy, look differently or talk differently - maybe the industry can think like little kids more often.
As much as we prioritise lifting and strengthening our own bodies, let’s continue to build a culture where we lift anyone and everyone up, no matter their race, cultural background or appearance. We’re not just strong as Ryderwear leaders in the community because of what takes place in the gym, but because of what takes place in our hearts to show the world that strength and beauty starts from within.
THE RYDERWEAR I’M REPPING
Myles’ favourite Ryderwear pieces for the weight room, working up a sweat, rebuilding on rest day and everything in between
MB: I’ve never worn athletic wear that actually fits so well and comfortably. I literally wear Ryderwear for everything from the gym to casual clothing (and even to bed as pajamas).
Made for performance. Take your training to the next level with this lightweight, breathable baller tank that moves with every exercise you do. The low cut armhole design and stretch fabric allows freedom of movement, so you can focus on nothing else other than your next PB.
IRON BALLER TANK
Ready for anything your workout throws at you. This Baller tank was created for comfort, with our classic stretch fabrics that serious lifters love.
CAMO TECH MESH TRAINING SHORTS
The breathable mesh fabric is designed to combat sweat patches, making sure nothing gets in the way of your training. The added details of zip up pockets and adjustable waistband take away any distractions, so you can keep the focus on your next PB.
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