PEPPERTOWN, Miss. (WCBI) – A high school student, who was bullied for his size and didn’t want to go to school, has found a way to improve his physical fitness and inspire his trainer, who faces his own set of obstacles.
It’s his first official day of Spring Break, and his 16th birthday, and Alex Johnson is at the PowerZone Gym, going through a steel mace workout.
The Mantachie High School sophomore trains with Jason Tackett, who is one of the first in the area to utilize the mace training system. The mace tool is like a dumbbell, except only one end has weights, the other is for gripping. There are many exercises and workouts you can do with the mace.
Alex is a towering 6 feet six inches and 330 pounds. He has ADHD and has been diagnosed with borderline Aspergers Syndrome. Alex says he never had an interest in sports, or school, and he was bullied a lot because of his size. But since he dropped 30 pounds with the mace workouts, He sees and handles things differently.
“It’s given me the confidence to deal with it, and then I realized some bullying was some people trying to make friends but I didn’t realize it, I had almost no social skills,whatsoever,” Johnson said.
Earlier this month, Alex competed in the “Arnold Classic Vintage Games” in Ohio where he earned his first gold medal in the mace event.
“He is a humble monster,” said Jason Tackett, who has faced his own set of obstacles. The former MMA fighter suffered a stroke several years ago and while Jason is pumping iron again, the stroke resulted in permanent hearing loss. Although Jason is deaf, he and Alex have found ways to overcome the communication barrier.
“Him being able to lip read helps a lot, I don’t ever think I could learn sign language, for one thing,” Johnson said.
“He was easy to train, he listened and he followed instructions,” Tackett said.
Alex will continue spending a lot of time at the Power Zone Gym. His next big competition, Mr. Olympia in Las Vegas this September.
Alex and his trainer are also planning on offering weight training classes for area students who are bullied and facing other issues.