Proud But not Satisfied - Otilio Morera - Betancourt Athlete Takeover
TOUGH STARTS GIVE STRONG FOUNDATIONS
It’s easy to let our transgressions define us, but 29 year-old Betancourt Athlete, Otilio Morera, is no stranger to facing these challenges head-on. We sat down with Oti (as he likes to be called) as he opened up to us about his fitness journey, the inspirations that got him started, and how it has opened his life up to new possibilities.
“Growing up in Cuba was fun, playing a lot in the streets and having a lot of friends is what originally got me into sports,” Oti tells us from the inside of the Knockout Miami gym, the first of a chain of gyms located in sunny Miami, Florida. Baseball being the main sport in Cuba, he tells us of his first introduction to fitness as a way of passing time and coping with poverty in the communist country.
“My family was pretty poor, but we were happy. Even though getting food and supplements to the house was difficult, it was not impossible. My parents always tried to feed me with the best they could and that helped shape a lot of the hard work ethic I have now. You can always find a way if you work hard.”
He tells us about the strong influences he had in his home, being the youngest of 4 boys. Between witnessing his dad work hard to provide for the family despite political and financial unrest in the country, he says, a strong foundation was built for him at an early age. His oldest brother also became his first influence in leading an active lifestyle. Even though at 9 years old he immigrated to Miami, Florida - he had already embedded strong values within himself about work and self-care.
“When I came to the USA, I aspired to be like Michael Jordan,” he tells of his experiences as a young Cuban immigrant. “How he burst out of his struggles he had gone getting cut from teams but coming back stronger really did give me the strength to overcome my own struggles.”
“We fled Cuba due to political issues; my dad was incarcerated due to his political beliefs. The sudden change made it difficult to adapt to things, I found myself facing a lot of obstacles, the most being the language barrier,” he explains.
ADAPTING TO A NEW ENVIRONMENT
Just as many immigrants find themselves, Oti came to a country unable to speak the language. This, he tells us, made things like education and social life a really hard thing to adapt to. At 14 years old, he claims to have found his opportunity to get back into what he loved with afterschool sports and activities. It was around this time his brother introduced him to the gym and Oti’s life course was set.
“I loved what I saw when I started getting into weight training. It was literally my first love and I did it obsessively well into my adulthood,”
As life caught up with him with a career with the Florida Marlins and a marriage, Oti soon found himself having to make heavy decisions. “My responsibilities started to pile up and I had to put my fitness passions as the second plan.”
As a result, Otilio found himself, for the first time since childhood, neglecting his physical fitness. This led to many changes in his body and emotional state. The spiral eventually brought him to full abandonment of his lifestyle, bringing him to the lowest point of his life. “I completely stopped going to the gym, I completely stopped eating right, and I really just gave up on myself,” he tells us, fighting back tears. “My body changed, my self esteem changed - going through all this was a nightmare. I did not like what I saw when I looked in the mirror, it was heartbreaking comparing myself to the passionate athlete I used to feel like.” As bad habits and excuses began to pile up, Otilio found himself further and further from his former glory.
A turning point, as was desperately needed, came in an unexpected way for Otilio. After several half-hearted attempts to get back into fitness, he ran into an old friend whom he had originally introduced to weight training. Seeing this friend at peak physical condition, while Oti was at the opposite end of the spectrum, served as the conduit for him to get his head back in the game. Just like his idol, Michael Jordan, Oti gave himself another shot at overcoming the odds, starting with a new gym membership.
SEIZING NEW OPPORTUNITIES
“The change was not easy, but was necessary,” he explains, his face brightening up. “Nutrition became a major change I had to make. Before, I was eating whatever the hell I wanted whenever I wanted. I went from working out zero days a week to 7 days a week trying to make up for all the time I had wasted.” Soon after, Otilio discovered Betancourt Nutrition.
“A friend gave me a Betancourt sample packet and I tried it. It was my first time taking something from them and I was instantly hooked,”
“I went out and bought some more of their products and began posting on social media,” he tells us while scrolling through his Instagram Timeline.
“My only intention was to post to keep motivating myself but they soon took notice and I actually got a DM from them offering me to be an affiliate,” Soon enough, his following began a very steady climb upward as well as his career prospects. Otilio found himself flooded with client training requests and eventually an offer to help open up a gym and work as their manager & lead trainer.
“Betancourt Nutrition has changed my fitness focus and life. Having a nutrition company back you up in everything you do is a major goal. You can be a professional or just love what you do, but regardless, having a major company give you that support is a huge goal to achieve,” he continues, “It has made me better at moving forward. Creating content and continuing to grow feels fulfilling.”
BEING BETTER FOR YOURSELF MAKES YOU BETTER FOR OTHERS
He also adds that among the new opportunities that have opened to him, he also now has the chance to help others make a difference in their lives. Having the tools and support to give others direction has been a transcendent experience for him, as he now coaches daily.
“It has made me a better athlete, a better coach, and overall a better human being. Working with Betancourt has allowed me to make a difference in other peoples’ lives and that is the best thing I could have achieve,”
“It goes to show that in life sometimes things don’t happen to you - they happen for you.”