Making Lives Better: Johnny Ray
LVAC member Johnny Ray Bacos likes to compare his life story to the adversity and triumph experienced by the superheroes we all love. He cites Barry Allen, ‘The Flash’. His metamorphosis took place after being struck by a lightning bolt, or Peter Parker, ‘Spider Man’. Who could forget the scene where Spiderman lost his beloved Uncle Ben? Just like these superheroes, Johnny has experienced hardships and adversity, but has used determination, discipline and love to overcome his challenges. In the process, he has also transformed his life.
LVAC: What were some of the life experiences that have led you to be in the great condition you are today?
Johnny: As a child, I was diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis, which is a rare autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the hair follicle, resulting in hair loss. Growing up I was constantly and falsely identified as a victim of cancer. When people saw my baldness, they would automatically assume I was undergoing chemotherapy. The alopecia, combined with the fact that I was small and thin, led to abuse from other children. Sometimes the abuse was verbal, but many times it became physical. It was simply the harsh reality that I had to learn to live with. But regardless of what I experienced at school, I knew I could always come home to a mother that loved me and helped me to feel ‘normal.’
My mom, Ms. Debra Jean Ray was my strength, my center. No matter what the torture of each sunrise had in store for me, I knew life would be okay once I got home. I could always look forward to watching the sunsets with my mom. April 7, 2012 became a pivotal day for me. It was the day that my mom died. I had always dreamed of growing up and working very hard to give my mom everything she deserved or wanted. That dream ended bitterly on April 7. With her death I lost not only my home, but also my will to live.
In time, I came to realize that everyone suffers some heartbreak and adversity in their lives. I came to understand that these unforeseen circumstances would either break the individual, or force them to become the best possible version of themselves. I knew that I could not let my depression get the best of me.
LVAC: We are so sorry about the loss of your wonderful mother. How did you work through your depression?
Johnny: I made the decision that the sacrifices my mother had made would not be in vain. I decided that I would become a light that would brighten the lives of all those I knew and loved. I had good intentions to be someone who could influence others for good, but felt because of my physical appearance; people did not take me seriously. It was about that time that I began to weight train. Weight training began to unveil my inner strength. As I got ready to graduate from high school, I knew I would need to find somewhere to train. That was when I was introduced to Las Vegas Athletic Club. And as they say, the rest is history.
LVAC: What type of exercise and workout routine has helped you to succeed?
Johnny: I follow a six-day regimen with an optional seventh cardiovascular day if I am feeling energetic enough to do so. Each day I complete a workout that focuses on different areas of my body. An example would be on Monday I train my back and biceps, on Tuesday I train my chest and triceps, etc. I also do 10 minutes of cardio before and after a workout, and a 30-minute core exercise circuit, five times weekly. It can be challenging to manage your time so that you always leave room for your workouts. I have learned to focus on my priorities first, which means that I will always make time for the gym. As a personal trainer, I always give the same advice to my clients.
LVAC: Share the results you have experienced because of your lifestyle changes.
Johnny: For one, I have discovered a new confidence within myself. I seem to always have a smile on my face once I start exercising. Maybe it’s from the abundance of endorphins released, but exercising always makes me smile. I have a relatively high energy level and learned to love myself and I am proud of my accomplishments. Currently, I’m living with my grandmother and am trying to make her golden years the best they can possibly be. It’s good that I am now fit as my grandma always has something she wants me to lift or move!
LVAC: What are your favorite things about being a member at LVAC?
Johnny: I love the environment, the equipment, and the juice bar. Everything at LVAC is always of the highest of quality. Also, the staff is always friendly and willing to help. In short, the Las Vegas Athletic Club is without a doubt, the best place to workout in Las Vegas.