Folks – here’s a man who is very physically and mentally strong (and that’s an understatement). Ted Hughes is an experienced attorney AND professional bodybuilder! Where he finds the time & energy to accomplish both of those intense feats? Who knows! But, I’ll leave it to him to explain in today’s Black Perspective.
Introducing: Ted Hughes
SSD: Jumping right in, tell me a bit about yourself and what you do.
TH: I identify myself as an insurance defense attorney specializing in auto accidents, personal injury, and premises liability. I also defend medical malpractice and products liability cases and litigate business disputes. I am also a natural professional bodybuilder and father. I describe my profession as one that is ingrained in our society as it impacts any and all things and society.
SSD: What inspired you to get into Law and Bodybuilding??!
TH: Dr. Larry Underberg, my debate professor, inspired me to go to law school. I joined the debate team just to get an elective toward graduation and [was] one of the best crossfire debaters in my conference. At my very first show, my partner and I won the entire competition and I won third best speaker.
For the first time, I felt seen. Very thankful for Dr. Underberg’s guidance and support as I never thought it was possible for me to become an attorney.
And when it comes to bodybuilding – I struggled with, and still struggle with, depression. I turned to the gym to help deal with the mental struggles I routinely face. I’ve been athletic most of my life but, again, never believed I could get to the level of a competitive bodybuilder. What I’ve learned about depression is [that] the mind is in control. Bodybuilding proved to me that my mind is what kept me from reaching a level I knew existed. I am in the process of applying this to all other aspects of my life.
SSD: I dig the mind and body connection.
If you had to pick one, which would you say is harder – “training for a bodybuilding competition” or “(back in the day) when you had to prep to pass the bar exam”?
TH: Hard to say which is more difficult as both challenged me in ways I’ve never been challenged.
While a bar exam is a long two-day exam testing you on more than 15 areas of law (some of which you never learned during law school), it was familiar – as my ability to memorize and analyze has been tested most of my life. What made it difficult was [the pressure of] it being the gatekeeper to earning income as an attorney.
I had never taken a test so important to my livelihood, and that added more stress than normal.
For bodybuilding, I had to completely trust another person to create a plan to achieve my goal of competing and doing it successfully. Although I’d always been “fit” from playing high school, college, and recreational/club sports, I had so much to learn about the human body and how it operates.
Both experiences taught me a lot but if I had to choose… I’d say the bar is more difficult.
SSD: What’s a tip that you’d give someone who sees you, is inspired, and wants to follow in your footsteps?
TH: As I write this, I am giving myself the following tips… Start therapy early in life, challenge everything you’ve ever learned in childhood, maintain a creative hobby, create your own mindfulness/meditation practice, read regularly, lift weights, and track your food.
SSD: “Challenge everything you’ve ever learned in childhood” rings personal.
Can I ask what perceptions you’ve challenged from your childhood? Maybe your Top 2.
TH: I have challenged the perception of children being seen and not heard and gender roles. My children are humans and therefore need to be heard, so I create space for them to exist as they choose. I am curious about how they feel and want them to be confident in expressing their feelings, whether it is to me or anyone. I also do not believe in gender roles. I do not like being put in a box, and I try not to put women in a box either.