Internationally ranked athlete working to redefine tough

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — June is Men’s Health Month, which is a time focusing on early detection and prevention of diseases for men around the world. 

As people around the country focus on physical health, one internationally ranked athlete says it’s about time men redefine “toughness” by considering mental health. 

 

What You Need To Know

June is international Men’s Health Month

In a month focused on awareness and prevention, one Charlotte athlete says mental health should be part of the conversation

Now, he’s sharing his story to encourage others to redefine “tough”

 

On a usual day, you can find Taylor Self working out or working behind the desk at CrossFit Charlotte 

Taylor started CrossFit four years ago after his sister brought him to a session. 

Now he’s ranked 49th in the world for CrossFit. 

Taylor says, while physical fitness is a part of the reason he’s into cross fit, it also supports his mental health and his path to sobriety. 

“I think a lot of young men in the world, not just in our country, don’t have a strong influence, and AA gave me that and CrossFit gave me that, which has really changed my life,” Self said.

Alcoholism runs in his family. He says he started drinking after his father died.  

“That was a catalyst for change. I kind of dove off the deep end when that happened and I had every excuse that I needed to do what I wanted,” he said. 

But since then he’s walked away from that life, saying CrossFit helps him focus and decompress when stressed. 

“Getting sober gave me a lot of spiritual tools and mental tools, which in turn helped me be a tougher person to help me deal with in the gym,” Self said. 

Taylor says he wants others to know tough isn’t all about the physical.

“It takes more toughness and security to be vulnerable, and I think that’s what people don’t realize is it doesn’t take someone who’s very tough to pretend things don’t affect them. It just shows you they’re really scared,” he said.

He encourages others to find a community that will support vulnerability and consider men’s mental health.

Self will compete in the NoBull CrossFit Games during the  first week of July.



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