By Jim Larkins
Nobody ever expired from a super-wedgie or an Indian rug burn. But anyone who has gone through life carrying the psychological baggage of childhood bullying will tell you that a small part of them died a long time ago.
Although we adults sometimes dismiss bullying in school as a childhood rite of passage, this form of aggression may have long-lasting psychological implications for victims, who have filled the void left from these early abuses with all kinds of self-destructive behaviors. Now that they’re all grown up, these individuals are burying the past in grown-up vices like alcohol and drug abuse, overeating, and other destructive habits.
Enter John Carrido, an advocate for the bullying underdog, who is making his mark on Orange County youngsters—one bully victim at a time.
Carrido has seen firsthand the lifelong effects of early youth bullying, and he’s committed to doing something about it. When he isn’t exorcising the demons of childhood peer badgering from emotionally wounded adults, he’s working diligently to prevent the next generation from enduring the same cycle of physical and emotional abuse.
“My passion is helping people change their lives physically, mentally, and spiritually,” says Carrido. “I want to reach out and teach parents and their children about bullying, so everyone can see the effects these sorts of behaviors have on our lives.”
What makes Carrido’s methods so successful is that he uses a comprehensive program to help young people build a barrier of self-confidence against the blacktop badgering of junior high school and high school ruffians. He that by working with clients—like the 320-pound woman who used comfort food as a tool to bury her own ghosts of adolescent bullying—that there had to be a way to get to the root of such problems.
“Many adults still have an association with having been physically bullied or verbally abused,” says Carrido. “But if I can help empower young people and brace them for the inevitable onslaught of adolescent abuse, I can make a huge impact on their future adult lives.”
As a result, Carrido developed a unique, holistic approach consisting of a personal fitness assessment, life coaching, and tutoring. These preventative efforts aim at empowering victims by teaching techniques that will help them withstand other types of stress as they grow older.
“I want to make people understand they need to celebrate every day they are able to wake up, breathe and enjoy life,” he says.
This isn’t just a philosophy for Carrido – it’s also his way of life. From the time he was just nine years old, when he was told by his basketball coach to try another sport because he was too short, Carrido never stopped believing in himself.
After obtaining his degree in exercise physiology from Cal State Long Beach, Carrido eventually became a motivational speaker, author, and CEO of numerous profitable businesses, including his latest endeavor, Carrido Integrated Fitness on Irvine Avenue in Newport Beach. Operating on the idea that one’s prime wellness is based on both mind and body conditioning, Carrido Integrated Fitness is an all-inclusive center.
All of these achievements serve as great inspiration for those youngsters Carrido has taken into his fitness fold.
Children who are bullied also experience many short- and long-term consequences. They are more likely to get involved in other harmful activities, especially as adults.
Carrido’s young clients are introduced into a life coaching phase that helps them avoid sabotaging their own dreams of success. “This way they can develop successful strategies for accomplishing important goals in life,” he explains.
Tutoring is another Carrido Integrated Fitness phase, which sharpens study skills and clarifies learning goals. This hands-on training regimen gives young people the chance to review class material and formulate ideas on paper—in both individual and small group environments.
These testimonials of triumph allow Carrido to see the association that people have with their negative past. “There’s still that nine-year-old kid inside all of us that needs to be reconditioned,” he says. “Then, and only then, can we get rid of those negative, sabotaging connections that hold us back from achieve personal and professional success.”