The Gay Strength Coach

Words: Jasmine Parrotta
Images: Courtesy of The Gay Strength Coach

‘My dream is to ignite confidence and self-worth in young gay men, so they have the courage to pursue their dreams.’ – Cody, Founder The Gay Strength Coach

Not feeling good enough and struggling to fit it is a tough way to grow up. Preferring to play with Barbie dolls instead of kicking a ball around as a young boy, naturally made it difficult to find a place to belong. Cody always knew he was gay… did he want to be? No. He believed that if he came out to the world, he would lose the people closest to him. Instead he ignored that part of himself for as long as possible. To do this he began training in the gym in senior school, a ‘manly’ way to spend time. He discovered fitness magazines that showed masculine men and so he began aiming to look like these people. Trying every training plan he could get his hands on and increasing the amount he was eating, yet, he still remained that skinny guy pretending to be straight.

‘If I looked like that, people would like me, I wouldn’t seem feminine, I might be “straighter”’ Cody explains.

After finishing school, it was time for people to know the part of Cody that had been hidden. And to his surprise (not to anyone else’s) he didn’t lose anyone in his life. After six months of a visual art degree it was clear he was on the wrong path. He turned back to training and began pursuing a career in personal training. Isolation and hard work lead him to start his own personal training business. He was still confronted with the same questions and thoughts; Am I attractive enough? What if I had a better body? Nobody will ever like me. I can’t trust anyone. Extremely destructive stuff however it eventually led him to uncover the strongest parts of himself and to see the true value he has always held. 

Cody later set himself two goals; to travel to Europe, and to complete in a natural physique competition. With his mind busy focusing on achieving these, there was little room for all the other noise and thoughts. Returning from eight weeks abroad he felt reinvigorated and says he felt ‘in the perfect mindset to start the 18-month journey to get on stage for the physique competition.’ His first season competing he walked away with two first place medals, one second place medal, a fifth place and third place ranking overall at the national competition. Cody says the experience taught him to be proud of himself and what he was able to achieve.

‘Your worth is not defined by what you own, the people who have in your life, or by your appearance. Your worth is defined by how you perceive yourself.’

Q & A

What advice do you have for someone who might not be feeling very happy with their body?

I would suggest seeking out someone who can guide them to realising what they need to do to change that. Whether it’s a personal trainer, dietician, or a physiologist. There are so many professionals out there who have experienced this, and they can help you get to where you want to be faster, and with methods that you can utilise for the rest of your life.

One thing you wish you could’ve told your younger self?

What other people think of you is none of your business, if something makes you happy and brings you joy, you should do it. Because who knows, it might teach them a thing or two about self-confidence.

Tell me what your dreams are for The Gay Strength Coach?

My dream for GSC is to influence 1 million LQBTQ people to make a positive change by adding exercise and sustainable nutrition strategies to their life. This is obviously the BIG END GAME dream for me. But in the short term I’m working on an online platform that is a go to for LQBTQ people covering everything exercise, nutrition and mindset related they need to start making a positive change.

Finally, and most importantly, what is your go to guilty treat?

Hmmmm, my go to guilty treat is definitely gelato! There is a beautiful homemade gelato shop near my house, and I can’t turn down a sneaky two scoop cup every now and then.

‘Bad things happen every day. You can ether take it as a disadvantage or an advantage. For me, I’m taking the lessons I’ve learnt as tools to help the people around me. If I can influence one person to live a more confident fulfilled life, then I’m living the best life I can.

The Gay Strength Coach

Founder Cody Ruse


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