Stepping into the humid weight room, clusters of students playfully cheer each other on while others demonstrate their latest exercise routine. After a year of isolation, students seem eager to create an uplifting environment.
Among these weightlifters is freshman Ray Razon, a nursing major, who inspires his peers both in and out of the gym. Due to Razon training other Seattle Pacific University students and spending six days a week working out, no one would ever guess that his commitment to fitness is a newfound passion.
“In the middle of my high school career, things changed,” said Razon. “I discovered that working out was a necessity, and eventually over COVID, I just fell in love with it.”
Although working out started as an individual activity for Razon, it grew into a way to benefit the local community.
“People approached me, they’re like, ‘Oh can you help me out?’” said Razon. “As time grew, I found a new love for helping people and seeing the smiles on their faces.”
This desire to serve others followed Razon to college. Currently, he trains several of his colleagues, one being his friend, freshman physiology major Everett Tran.
“Ray is just a really nice guy to want to spend time with,” said Tran. “I’ve seen his progress and that’s, like, really influencing and inspiring to get somewhere. He really believes in himself that anything’s possible if you just put your mind to it.”
Though Razon’s work ethic and lifting capabilities cause others to be drawn to him, his trainees appreciate his friendship as much as his devotion to physical fitness.
“The important thing about weightlifting with Ray is that it’s not really about the exercise itself, but actually just spending time with him and getting to know him through that,” said Tran.
Razon’s roommate, freshman accounting major, Brandon Astudillo, wholeheartedly agreed with Tran’s sentiments.
“Ray is a very, very outgoing person. Never has anything negative to say, and even when you’re feeling down, he’s right there to pick you up,” said Astudillo.
As Astudillo and Tran described their experiences training with Razon, it became clear that his humility, listening ear and easy-going nature make him an excellent trainer.
Though Razon is dedicated to assisting his friends, he also has weight-lifting goals of his own.
“I’m hoping by the end of the year to reach the thousand-pound club, meaning you do 405 deadlift, 315 squat and 225 bench,” said Razon. “I already completed the deadlift, and I’m just ten pounds away from reaching the bench and squat, so I’m super close.”
Given the time commitment of reaching his goals, Razon has had to find a balance between being an intentional friend and a zealous athlete.
“It’s sometimes a struggle because I want to do my own thing. But there’s always sacrifice in great things, so I just put myself behind another person to see how I can help,” said Razon. “I never had anyone to train me. I basically had to do it all myself, so I don’t want anyone else to have to go through that.”
Razon’s affection for weightlifting came out of difficult times, yet he believes that is what has shaped him into a faithful person.
“To me, not just specifically for working out, you have to go through hard times. You have to fall. When you see yourself through darkness, you can be like, ‘Okay, I can keep doing things,’ and you’ll see yourself naturally committed to whatever goal you have,” said Razon.
Razon does not have any current plan of becoming a professional trainer, but he aspires to pour his devotion for the health and well-being of others into a career as a nurse. He hopes to encourage those striving towards a healthier lifestyle, both mentally and physically.
“I’m proud of you for desiring a better life for yourself. When you reach your goal, you’re gonna look back and you’re gonna thank yourself for making those sacrifices,” said Razon. “I hope that when things get hard, you won’t give up. Always seek out support. You’re not in this alone.”
For weightlifting videos featuring Ray Razon, check out his TikTok @rvymond03.