Lynn Soto 

Brooklyn, NY

"My fitness journey started in 2015. I had always worked out on and off but I was in a dark place and feeling unmotivated. I was going through depression and dealing with the reality of my dad and my aunt’s battle with cancer.

I began working out as a form of therapy. I started with kickboxing which gave me a way to release some of the anger I had inside. I became stronger and more confident. I started challenging myself more each day. I began competing in obstacle races and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

I transitioned to bodybuilding after a close friend suggested I meet a friend of his who was a pro bodybuilder. I decided to proceed on that journey. The discipline I would need to be competitive in this sport started to carry over into the other areas of my life. With every rep, every set, every workout, I began to gain the strength I would need to handle some of the most difficult moments of my life.

My dad and my aunt both lost their battles in June of 2019. They passed within 18 days of each other. These were devastating losses. No one can ever be prepared for the magnitude of that gut punch! I watched them fight so hard for so long. I worked harder the more I saw them weaken. I wanted to be as strong as possible so I could assist them in any way I could. I was transporting dad to Chemo every two weeks. During that time I earned my certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist certifications. My aunt’s cancer advanced and she had to be placed in hospice. Dad’s illness advanced as well and he had to be placed in a rehab facility. I visited with them every week while prepping for competition. They were both so supportive of my journey even though they were struggling with theirs.

Fitness and especially bodybuilding gave me the discipline and resilience to fight through the anxiety and depression that had started to creep back in. I still use the gym as therapy and I’ve learned to turn the pain into gain. It gives me such a rewarding feeling when I can help guide others in learning to do the same.

I carry my angels with me all the time. I connect to them through my workouts and my competitions. I have developed a stronger mindset and I now face life’s challenges with a new found strength and confidence. I will continue to work hard and make them proud because I know they are watching."