Fitness Is My Refuge

A homemade bench press I use at my neighbor’s house.

By Pedro Pablo Morejon

HAVANA TIMES – Amidst the many adversities and frustration you get from living in Cuba, where even the simplest thing becomes difficult, you have to find your own strategy to feeling good.

For example, I avoid comparing myself (as much as I can) to others who are in the same condition as me, but live comfortably in other places across the globe.

If you are unable to get out of here and don’t have the resources to change society, it’s crucial you create a protective bubble so as not to lose your mind.

That’s why I try and see the best in everything, enjoying the simple things in life, living a minimalist lifestyle.

My strategy may have been different if I were elsewhere, but this is the place I was meant to live, by chance, God’s will, bad karma or whatever else there is out there. I was born in Cuba and it’s very likely I’ll leave my bones here.

I have sought many refuges to survive, writing is one of them and fitness is the other. The latter is nothing more than seeking overall health and better physical appearance via physical activity and healthy eating.

If I told you it makes me happier than writing, I’m sure many of you would be surprised. But that’s the truth, it’s one of the best things to come into my life recently.   

Just over two years ago, I started out so I could “look good”, now I do it for my physical and mental wellbeing, more than anything else.  The only thing I regret is not having started out when I was a lot younger.

When I’m worried or sad about something, instead of complaining, I pick up the weights and everything begins to make sense. Ideas become clearer and the endorphins my brain releases take me to a immune state against adversity.

Long nights, alcohol, tobacco and junk food are things I never dabbled with, much less now. Training the body and taking care of it is something I will embrace for the rest of my life, it’s the best way to look after the soul.

Diet is the only thing standing in my way. Experts say that to develop muscle, you need to consume certain quantities of protein that range from one gram per kg of weight, to almost two grams.

Meaning if I weigh 77 kg, I need at least 77 grams of protein. Breaking it down even further, proteins are what repair the muscle after they are damaged during training, so as to build them up bigger and stronger. That’s how a muscle grows.

But where does protein come from? Foods such as meat, dairy products, eggs and vegetables, etc. These are the foods with the highest percentage of this important nutrient.  

Like I said, diet is the greatest obstacle to leading a fit and healthy lifestyle in Cuba. I know that it’s not easy, but I still persevere, seeing the great but gradual changes in my physical appearance and growing more muscle.

Like a safe haven to reality.

Others find this refuge in alcohol, tobacco, and other vices, unfortunately, so when I hear people say that this is all a waste of time, I think I’m not so crazy compared to them.

Read more from Pedro Pablo Morejon’s diary here.

Pedro Morejón

I am a man who fights for his goals, who assumes the consequences of his actions, who does not stop at obstacles. I could say that adversity has always been an inseparable companion, I have never had anything easy, but in some sense, it has benefited my character. I value what is in disuse, such as honesty, justice, honor. For a long time, I was tied to ideas and false paradigms that suffocated me, but little by little I managed to free myself and grow by myself. Today I am the one who dictates my morale, and I defend my freedom against wind and tide. I also build that freedom by writing, because being a writer defines me.

One thought on “Fitness Is My Refuge

  • June 10, 2022 at 10:21 pm

    A really wonderful and inspiring article!

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