The Homeless Bodybuilder – Jacques Sayagh

It has been a few days since the video below went viral. In case you missed it, you’ll see a 50 year old homeless man who exercises on the street and competes as an amateur bodybuilder. He trains primarily with resistance bands and a variety of bodyweight exercises.

When I first saw the video, I knew there would be mixed reactions. Some people would be inspired by the man’s ability to exercise without a gym, while others would question his place in life. What I didn’t expect to see were so many insults directed towards a man who is homeless. I’ve seen this man called everything from a bum to a steroid abusing piece of crap.

When I read these comments, I can’t help but wonder if a homeless poet or artist would elicit such strong reactions. Call it a hunch, but I’m guessing that the haters would have skipped over the story and instead found someone else to bash. For some reason, strong reactions are the norm when discussing a man or woman who exercises. Maybe the haters are jealous that a homeless man has developed an admirable physique. Perhaps they’d rather see him drinking alcohol on the corner rather than buying supplements and exercising. I honestly don’t know. Regardless of the reasons, I’ll never understand why certain people waste so much energy arguing about a man whose life is different from their own.

Focus on your own shit

I make these comments not to suggest that you should be inspired by Jacques Sayagh. I hardly know anything about the man. I don’t know his life story and I’m not here to judge. I do however know some hard working adults who ended up homeless. It wasn’t by choice. Life isn’t always fair or easy. It’s certainly easier to sit behind a keyboard and cast stones without knowing the full story. But once again, what’s the point of criticizing the man? No one benefits.

I actually know a homeless professional boxer. If you’ve ever been to a boxing event in the northeast, you may have seen him. He’s fought on a few of the cards that I’ve worked at in Connecticut. We even shared a dressing room with him a few years ago. He lost that night, but he fought hard and earned the crowd’s respect. He scored a knockdown in the first round against an unbeaten prospect, but eventually lost a decision.

Afterwards, I saw him shaking hands with people in the crowd. I even saw a few kids ask for a picture. He may have lost the fight, but he won over the crowd. No one knew he was homeless, but even if they did, there wouldn’t have been any insults. Most people who insult others online have very little to say when that person is standing in front of them.

In summary, rather than criticize a man like Jacques Sayagh, why not instead use that time to better yourself and others around you. All I take from his story is that it is possible to stay in shape without a fully functional gym. I already knew that to be true, but Jacques certainly provides a unique reminder. As for whether or not he takes steroids, I don’t know and don’t care. Regardless of what he does or doesn’t do, he has clearly developed his physique with minimal equipment. Criticizing other parts of his life won’t benefit anyone, so why bother? How does insulting a man prove to be any more worthwhile than what you have insulted?

Time is limited for us all so don’t waste it stepping on a man or woman who is already down.


“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” – Bruce Lee


  1. Envy creates a lot of disharmony in life, not fully understanding anothers situation and having a black/white us/them, right or wrong judgemental approach creates conflict.

    It seems we have need to work on our attitude of mind as much as we work on our diet, exercise and training routines.

    “To keep our body in good health is a duty… Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear” – Buddha

    As Ross often says it’s easy to be critical of others when you can hide behind a computer screen. The internet is full of negativity and it’s best ignored.

    Pick people up, lend a helping hand and build a sense of community as well a healthy body… Well that’s what I reckon anyhow.

    As for not needing a gym, another good example of what boxers and martial artists etc have known since the dawn of time.

    “That man is rich whose pleasures are the cheapest” – Henry David Thoreau

  2. Nice article Ross…. You have absolutely changed my perception ….I saw a video about this man but after reading some criticizing comments from other users, I felt the same…like why not this person look for a job and such things….but after reading your article….I thought I should mind my business and you have written lit very well !!!

  3. Hi Ross, thanks for sharing love your bog and i love your perspective. Couple words i don’t know this man’s history or why he is unemployed so I cant judge. I do know of a man that was a corporate lawyer and is now a so called bum. Just goes to show you never know, could be me, could be you?
    These keyboard warriors that bag the shit out of the guy they wouldn’t survive one night on the street. His got a create physique respect to him.

  4. The story bored me. It wasn’t inspirational. Just another man’s obsession. And we’ve all got ’em. The guy’s a little cracked, looks 65 years old, but seems happy–and isn’t hurting anyone. Live and let live.

  5. Good view you have of it Ross. I watched the video and to me, he looks to be happy and at peace. It makes me think of Diogenes in ancient Greece, or the sages in ancient India who chose to be homeless. I think people nowadays are conditioned to think they have to have material goods (big house, car, TV) and be slaving away at jobs they hate. I think they get upset when they see that life doesn’t necessarily have to be like that. I don’t mean to idealize this man (not knowing much about him), but he seems a lot more happy and sane than a lot of “successful” people I’ve met.

  6. We all know that nutrition is a big part of building the body and staying in shape, as well as getting enough sleep. Under those conditions, I wonder how this guy manages to get the proper food and rest. Props to this guy for keeping a healthy lifestyle. No excuses for those of us lucky enough to have a roof over our heads and a bed to sleep on and 3 square meals a day.

  7. Que fut mon étonnement de voir ce sans abri vivant à PARIS pratiquait la musculation dehors avec peu de matériels…C’est exceptionnel. Cet homme est malade ( il a eut un passif douloureux…drogue, alcool, son foie est détruit..;) mais il va partir faire une compétition de bodybuilding dans le sud de la France….Bravo !!! Tout mon respect à cet homme…..Surtout dans notre pays défaitiste et râleur !!!!
    Encore une fois , merci à toi Ross pour cette vidéo et tous tes conseils que je suis depuis des années..

  8. I make NO judgements….I work in the ER and have seen alot of crazy shit…But in my opinion, he looks like he is taking some form of PED…….Other than that, I wish him all the best in life….If he wants to take PED’s, thats his business and god speed to him

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