Ted Hughes standing with his back against a brick wall while he's wearing a blue denim shirt.
Cover Image courtesy of Ted Hughes

Black Perspectives #07: Ted Hughes (Attorney & Pro Bodybuilder)

A Chat About Mind & Body…

SSD: What do you hope to accomplish as you continue pursuing legal work and bodybuilding?

TH: Before becoming an attorney, I did not know any. I have some personal goals I want to accomplish, which I will keep confidential, but have not completely figured out what I want to accomplish for the community/Black Community at large. One thing I love doing now is serving as a connector for those who have problems that require an attorney. I love being able to help persons find the right type of attorney for their issue(s).

In bodybuilding, I want to continue to live a fit and active lifestyle into my old age. I want to continue to prove to myself that it is my mind that holds me back and not anything else.

SSD: How do you manage to make time for both legal work and lifting? Both seem like steep commitments (either mentally or physically), so how are you juggling the two?

TH: I make time for both by being in the present moment. I still am working on getting better at this – but, with focus, I can accomplish the necessary things for both work and fitness while being a father.

I incorporate my daughters into my fitness by utilizing services that allow them to attend the gym with me, and my job allows me to bring my oldest daughter to work with me or work from home when daddy duty is needed.

I believe in keeping information about what you’ve done to learn where you can improve…

Ted Hughes

SSD: What do you apply from your time in the gym to your time doing legal work, and vice versa?

TH: In both the gym and for work, I track everything I do. Every amount of weight lifted, every rep counted, every hour billed, every task completed. I believe in keeping information about what you’ve done to learn where you can improve and [that it] helps develop gratitude for what you’ve accomplished.

SSD: You mentioned both “the mind is in control” and “tracking your food” earlier…

Do you personally find that there’s a connection between what you eat and how your mind performs? If so, what foods do you avoid & what foods do you make sure you eat to keep your mind sharp?

TH: Even though I have been serious about my fitness since 2017, there is still much to learn. While I don’t currently have a list of specific foods I avoid to remain focused, I have learned that carbohydrates help tremendously with energy whether I am at work or in the gym. During contest prep, I learned that eating low carbs and low calories dramatically affects your energy.

Ted Hughes on stage at a natural bodybuilding competition.

SSD: Focusing on the mental side of things for a bit…

Do you feel like people, in general, allow their minds to hold them back far too often? And if so, what do you think is the first major step someone could take to get past that hump? I mean, what did you do?

TH: Yes, people allow their minds, and the thoughts of others, to hold them back (i.e. gender roles). I am not sure if there is a universal first step to take to get past that hump – but, for me, [it was] being open to a challenge from my therapist, then reading.

SSD: Oh, that’s a nice segue to my next question!

What’s the last book you read, and what book would you recommend everybody read?

TH: I just finished, “The Mindful Athlete” by George Mumford last weekend. Two books I recommend everyone read are, “The Road Less Traveled” by Dr. M. Scott Peck and “How to Do the Work” by Dr. Nicole LePera.

SSD: Noted — but, figuratively speaking, what’s a good collection of words without a nice melody to them? That said…

What music, if any, do you listen to for staying motivated? I imagine whether it’s the gym or a courtroom, sometimes you have to play an anthem or two to get your mind right.

TH: Afrobeats!! It makes me feel fun and loose and want to move. I love to dance.

I am getting better at asking for help or saying no.

Ted Hughes

SSD: Do you think that you’re the type of person who likes to challenge himself without end & works on a bunch of things at once, or do you have to finish one thing entirely before moving on to the next? And how has that personality served you, for better or for worse, as a lawyer and an athlete?

TH: I tend to work on a bunch of things at once. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed and have to pull back to find my balance. I am getting better at asking for help or saying no. This goes for being an athlete and lawyer.

SSD: Ok, here’s my final question for you, sir. Given the things that you’ve accomplished professionally and personally, I’m curious about your opinion on this —

Do you think Black People collectively rely on others (“others” could be Black, Non-Black, whoever — just outside of ourselves) too much? And what makes you feel the way you do regarding your response to that question?

TH: I am not sure I can speak for Black people collectively but for myself, I don’t rely on others too much and sometimes wish I did more. I am still breaking old habits of doing everything myself. My professional life as an attorney, and athlete, has shown me the necessity of reliance and trust in others to help achieve a goal.

Without my assistant and paralegals, I’d become very overwhelmed and without my contest prep coach, I’d likely not have been able to become a professional bodybuilder. I am implementing this idea in my personal life as well and letting go of what is considered “normal.”

Ted Hughes -- the model.

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