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Off the Cuff

Fit Legend Founder, CJ Hammond: Taking That Leap & The Bonds we Build—OFF THE CUFF

How can you reclaim your pre-Covid fitness level? The COVID environment has forced us all out of our normal fitness routine. What can you do to get it back without breaking your body in the process? In this in-depth, Off the Cuff interview with Larry Sharpe, Fit Legend founder CJ Hammond provides valuable insights from the trenches to help us achieve our best physically and mentally.

Watch The Full Interview on YouTube

CJ Hammond Interview Key Points

In this article, CJ shares the benefits of his fitness expertise and business experience. He shares a number of insights, including:

  • How should people deal with the forced inactivity that came with the pandemic lockdown.
  • If you have gotten out of shape over the last few months or been less active, the importance of slowly ease your way back to your previous activity level. 
  • The need to focus on small incremental elements of progress.
  • The vital need to take care of self first.
  • How he came back from a failed business to find renewed success.
  • What triggered him to go out on his own in business.
  • The mental fortitude required to come back from adversity.

About CJ Hammond

CJ Hammond was born and raised in Washington, DC. He attended St. John’s Catholic High School and then went on to played Division One football at Temple University. After graduating in 2013 with a degree in human resources, he relocated to Miami, Florida. There he opened his first gym, Fit Legend Sports and Fitness. The gym specialized in sports fitness and rehabilitation.

CJ Hammond looking all sweaty after his boxing workout.
CJ Focuses on Functional Training, Sports Performance, Recovery, and Boxing

In 2016, CJ was forced to close down his gym due to financial pressures. He fell on hard times, resorting to sleeping in his car. He then relocated to Los Angeles. There, he worked out at a boxing gym for three years while he upskilled his professional knowledge of the fitness industry. He became a certified EXOS Performance Specialist. In 2019, he rebranded and started Fit Legend Inc., a personal coaching service. CJ focuses on functional training, sports performance, recovery, and boxing. His clientele includes a number of celebrities and top athletes, including the #2 overall NFL draft pick Chase Young.

CJ Hammond wearing his Fit Legend Inc. shirt with hoodie.
In 2019, He Started Fit Legend Inc.

Here’s CJ on the mission that drives Fit Legend:

At Fit Legend Inc, we provide an integrated performance system that enhances the overall productivity and skill level of each athlete: Optimally, Efficiently, and Ethically. Our athletes are motivated through educational tools that allow them to understand the operational value of each tactical point. This knowledge allows them to apply our teachings to their specific athletic ability, physical environment, and life’s daily routines. Reducing the risk of an injury is our ultimate goal.

C.J. Hammond

Find CJ Hammond online

Watch The Full Interview on YouTube

  • Hey, I am so happy that we are here in Off the Cuff, and I’m very lucky and very blessed, that I have with me today the CEO of Fit Legend, the fit legend himself CJ Hammond. How are you, sir?
  • I’m doing great. Thank you for having me Larry.
  • You know I’m so happy that you’re here. I’m glad you came on Off the Cuff, you know, for people who don’t know you, you are a gentleman born in DC, right?
  • Yes, sir. Born and raised
  • Raised in DC. Went to a Catholic school.
  • Yes, sir.
  • Then went off to college?
  • Played football in college, right?
  • Yes, sir.
  • Played football in college. But I gotta ask you a crazy question. Guy like you, raised DC, plays football in college. You got a degree in Human Resources. Why?
  • Well, for one, I wanted to always be in business. So I always wanted a business degree. So when I went to college, I knew I wanted to be in a business school. Now I didn’t know which field of business I wanted to go into.
  • Sure.
  • So it took me about two years, my freshman and sophomore year to kinda figure out, you know, which field I want to go into. I’m not that very good at math. So I knew accounting and economics and others were out of the question.
  • Sure.
  • And then my sophomore year, I took an HR class, and I just loved the way that it just dealt with people. I’m a people person, how to deal with ethics, conflict, solving problems. And I kinda just gravitated towards that, and I became good at it. I was intrigued by the HR role, and in that industry it’s not a lot of males in there.
  • That’s true.
  • In that field or industry. So I kinda wanted to break that barrier a little bit. So I chose it, I stuck with it. I mean yeah. That’s double levels of rebellion here. That’s someone who wants to be, you know, worried about fitness and business, but understands there’s a human component. I love that. And then you said it’s full of women, and I don’t care I’m going anyway.
  • Exactly.
  • I love that. That’s great. So you get in there, you get your degree in HR, and you decide you’re going to Miami.
  • Yes. Football didn’t quite work out obviously. I think everybody dream after playing football in college is to go to the NFL.
  • Sure.
  • Had some trials of course, you know, didn’t quite go as well. You know, after months of trying, I was like, okay. And for me, I was one of those guys, where I’m kinda just real with myself. I’m like, okay, I’m not going to spend five more years. I’m not gonna waste five more years of my life trying, you know, like wasting these years, just trying to get to the NFL, and playing these small leagues. So I kind of, for me, I kinda just “CJ like you had to go run. “You mean like you already did amazing things. “You’ve achieved most than, I’m sorry. “You achieve more than most people. “Now it’s time to move on.” And and one thing I knew, when I was done playing college football then, I knew I didn’t wanna sit behind a desk, and have a desk job. So that’s what I knew I didn’t want to do.
  • Right.
  • Didn’t quite necessarily say, I mean, cause out of college I mean, I could have not told you that I would have been doing what I’m doing now. So when I got out, my instructor.
  • Yeah, but what you’ve done here, and I’m hearing this so well, what you’ve done and maybe didn’t know you even doing this, but you were literally by process of elimination, you at least knew what you weren’t gonna do.
  • Exactly. And I think that’s the most important thing is knowing what you don’t want to do.
  • Right.
  • Cause yeah, cause I mean, I don’t think anybody really knows what they’re gonna be doing, as soon as they got out of college, for the next 10, 20 years, you know, unless you land a crazy job coming out, and you know, you’re right into it. So I knew what I didn’t wanna do. So that eliminated a lot of things for me.
  • Sure. But the point I wanna bring here, and I wanna really kinda accentuate this is, that means you had to realize you were bad at things, right? You had to realize,
  • Sure.
  • I’m not good at this, right? Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m not good at this. But so often, I’m sure you see this when you’re training people. So often when people see they’re not good at something, they get down on themselves, right? They begin to fail and quit and go, “Well, I’ll never be good at anything.” Right? “I’m just, why bother?” How did you get over that? How did you, when you were saying, “Okay, I’m not good at this.” How were you able to just know you can go someplace else?
  • I think it’s all about, I think for me, I think for most people, people get comfortable with where they at. And I knew for me,
  • Yes.
  • It was like, and I’ve seen my friends, I’ve seen my mom, my parents like stuck in these jobs for 20, 30 years that they hated.
  • Yes.
  • 20, 30 years but stuck with it because it was a steady paycheck. So for me it was never about the money. It was all about being happy,
  • Love that.
  • And from early it’s kinda one of the reasons why I moved to Miami, which we’ll kinda get to. It’s all about taking a risk in life. Like and I’ll kind of talk about my journey.
  • People are afraid, you’re right. We get comfortable,
  • Yeah, we’re afraid.
  • and afraid.
  • And it’s hard like I get it, it’s hard and it’s tough. It’s hard to move away from your parents. It’s like, it’s hard. It’s so hard. So just for me, I was one of the ones in this city, I was like F it, like, I’mma go get it. I’m moving out of my parents house. I’m moving to Miami. And I’m just gonna go after my dream, and you know, and I stuck with it. Times got tough. You know, we all kinda dive in, you know, people do but,
  • I know it does, no success, they always say,
  • Yes.
  • It took somebody five years to become an overnight success. They don’t see the five years. They don’t see the 10 years you put into it, right? They don’t see it.
  • At all, they don’t see it. So for me it takes a strong willed person to just say like, like I’m not gonna do it. Lemme just go for it. And I think what some people, don’t really understand or can see, like they don’t really see the long term process. Everybody wants to see short term gains,
  • Yes
  • and it doesn’t happen. If you do see it, it’s not sustainable. But I think one thing I knew, like I knew it was gonna be a long journey. I knew it was going to be tough years ahead. And I wasn’t looking for that instant gratification
  • Right.
  • instantly. So I think if you nail those things down, you understand that, I mean the sky’s the limit, what you can achieve. I mean, and you’ll look back. Like I am now, five, six years later, it’s like, wow, like I did it.
  • Right. So you can look ahead and say, there’s something I could shoot for. or what so many people do is they stay comfortable. And over the course of those years, then they get regret. Then it affects their wellness. Then it affects their head. Then it affects everything. And before you know it, they can’t even move anymore. I get it.
  • Right.
  • So you get to Miami, right? I’m glad you get to Miami. When you get there is it success? Is it kinda success? What happens when you get to Miami?
  • So when I got a cause like I wanna train athletes, I wanna own my own gym. It’s not what I got when I was done playing football. So I studied underneath my strength coach who got me ready for my NFL pro and everything like that. Before I went to Miami, I interned underneath him for about six, eight months, before I moved to Miami. Miami has always been my second home. My roommate in college was from Miami. So I mean every spring break, every summer I was down there. So eight months in my internship, I got a call, crazy how things work , my best friend, who was my roommate in college. She was like, “Man, there’s this is an investor. “He wants to invest in a gym, “and this and this, like, “can you get out here in the next couple months, “let’s make it happen.” I mean, literally I was like, okay. I literally picked up my stuff.
  • Nice.
  • I was 22 at the time. And just literally just left.
  • Nice.
  • Not really much money in my pocket. I mean, I stayed at my friend’s house.
  • But there was a trust level between you and your roommate, right? There was a trust level there.
  • Oh yeah, for sure. I stayed with him. And then shortly the gym opened up running. It was called Fit Legends Sports Fitness, had my own brick and mortar literally fresh out of college. Didn’t know what the hell I was doing.
  • Sure.
  • I knew how to train, but it turns out like goodness. So it was, well, to be honest, when it first opened up, it was okay. It was decent. But yeah, man, when it came down to just like,
  • But at one point, two things happened to you, right? If I know your story well enough, at one point it came down to you focusing on boxing. That became an important part of what you did. Is that right?
  • No, that didn’t happen till I moved to LA.
  • Oh, so that was the LA thing. Okay.
  • Yeah. That was the LA thing. I didn’t get into boxing till three years ago when I moved out here. That’s a whole other thing
  • Ah, okay.
  • So that’s still kinda fresh, and now you would think I’ve been doing it for a long time. Cause I’d say I’m good at it, but that was something I learned when I came out here, and added to my game, I’ve to kinda talk about that too.
  • So in Miami boxing wasn’t a major part of what you did.
  • Oh, it wasn’t a major part. So it’s kinda how I kinda got into the field. I trained a bunch of Cuban boxers, on the training edition aside in Miami. So I did a lot of fight camps. I had a heavyweight by the name of Louis Ortiz. He won the top heavyweights in the world. I trained him for all his fights, like training addition-wise, but never like on the technical side I would admit. And yeah so I’ve been training boxers for a long time now. So that’s kinda how I got into the field. And then, and I kinda piggyback on, and so another college teammate of mine, who actually opened up the boxing gym in LA, when he saw me training those guys, he kinda saw something, made me to kind of transition over a little bit, to learn the boxing skills side of it.
  • But then the thing that I really like about how you train, and what you talk about, is your mission is if I’m gonna get it right, it’s move, recover, move again, is that right?
  • Yes sir. That’s my slogan. It’s my trademark right there. Move, recover, move again.
  • So the thing that, you know,
  • It’s literally life.
  • When I think about, Yes, that’s yes. That’s exactly why I like it so much. It’s not,
  • Yeah.
  • You know it’s not like, kill them or get them, right?
  • So many gyms are like that, right? Like get them, kill them, something like that. Yours isn’t that. Yours is move,
  • Yeah, no.
  • recover, move again. Now I’m hearing what you’re telling me.
  • Exactly.
  • Boxers, elite athletes, but that is for anybody, no matter where they are in their fitness world, no matter where they are,
  • Exactly.
  • in their life.
  • Exactly.
  • It’s a different, I mean.
  • I want people to understand. I didn’t mean to cut you off.
  • No, no, what I’m saying is that, I like the idea that you are actually getting anyone, even though you focus on the elite many times, anyone can respect this.
  • Anyone, and I tell people all the time, like unless you see me trying to come to you, to chase you out, there’s always been a few, but 95% of my clientele is regular everyday people . That’s what I kinda want people to realize, like the athletes they come and go I mean, they’re in season for six to eight months. Then they go on vacation. I mean, most of these athletes, I may see, I may see them two to three months max, at a time a year consistently maybe. No, but these athletes, they move around. So I’m not training athletes 24 seven every day. Like these pro athletes, they’re busy pretty much three quarters of the year round .
  • Yeah.
  • So my job is when they come to me, they’re pretty much main thing. Keep them healthy .
  • Well, that’s a second thing, right? You’re an EXOS specialist, is that right?
  • Correct.
  • And that whole idea is really about proactive, right? Making sure that someone doesn’t get injured, that they can recover, and they can get back on track again. That’s something I don’t often hear.
  • Correct. Yeah, I mean, we live in a day where, I mean, you know, on Instagram, you see these crazy exercises people are doing. And I mean, it looks cool, but it’s really not gonna be paying any benefits or results, and two, you do it enough, I mean you’re definitely going to lead to injury. And I think what has made me so successful, and why I have clients who’ve been with me for three plus four plus five years, is because they see the way I take care of their body. They actually see the way I’m invested in them. Like showing a client, an actual program that’s written out from “Kayla, you wanna do this in January, “and in February we’re going in this phase.” And then over the years, I mean, they just see the body improve and it’s all about making people feel better. So like you wake up the next morning, and you can’t move for four days. I didn’t do my job . Like that’s not good. Like me killing you, and I can’t see you for four or five days, for one, that’s not financially effective for me. Cause you’ve gotta take a week for you to heal up .
  • Right?
  • And two, I mean to the client it’s not sustainable. They wanna get cuddled, and the client’s gonna get scared to come back. Then they’re like “Oh, I don’t wanna go. “He’s gonna beat me up today.” It’s all about taking care of the client’s body, helping them feel better, “Oh CJ like, my posture’s better today. “I can walk better.” It’s all about, that’s what functional training is about, moving better, feeling better, becoming stronger in the process.
  • So I like you, you look at your training, and the idea of strength, strength is almost a byproduct, in how you look at it. You look at it making a person feel good, wellness, health, and what’ll happen is you’ll be stronger, but I’m not trying to make you strong. I’m trying to make you better. Is that what I’m hearing?
  • Correct, yes. And especially like you said, it depends on who you’re training, but for 99% of the population, yes. It’s all about helping them move better. Feel better . Like this is all about, life is all about movement. And as you get older, and as you get older you’ll start to see your body, your body starts to change. Like when you get in your thirties and your forties, you’re not moving like your twenties anymore. So how can I make you feel 20 in your forties?
  • Right?
  • That’s the thing. Like I’m 30. Like I just turned 30, and I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life, like I was in my twenties. And I wish I knew what I knew back then, than I did now in terms of my training, yeah.
  • There’s an old saying, “Why is youth wasted on the young?” Right? Cause you don’t know nothing when you’re young, you gotta learn it all, right?
  • Exactly.
  • Exactly, yes. No, I love it. So, but you bring up something else though again, and this is the idea that you have literally, talk about the idea of ethics, right? You say things ethically, does this come from your HR background? Is this where this comes from? Or is this you? Is this family? Where does this idea of being ethical? Like everything you’re telling me is, you’re trynna to provide value for somebody, while they give you money. You give them value.
  • Sure.
  • It’s fair.
  • Yes. I think it comes from a combination of things. HR for sure, family, like just being a good person. There’s so many people out here who, like you said, like, I’m not about the money. The money will follow and that’s another topic, but I’m really invested in you, I want you to understand what we’re doing. I genuinely want you to be the best version of you. So I like, I definitely take that seriously, in a bunch of your certifications, even EXOS. I mean, there’s a whole section on ethical training, like ethics, like, and I like to call myself, I don’t like to call myself a trainer, I consider myself a coach. I don’t like the word personal trainer. I consider myself a coach. I like coach. Like, I’m gonna coach you. I’m gonna mentor you through this whole training process. And it’s not all about physical like training. It is not all about physical strength. It’s for most of these people, my clients, it’s a mental thing.
  • Yeah.
  • Like when they leave me, it’s the best part of their day. But when they leave me, and it’s like they’re ready to go for the day. “CJ, like man I loved my class company. “I’ve a lot of problems at home.” So when they come to me, this is their getaway to just free their mind of all the stress they have going on in other parts of their world. So it’s my job. I definitely consider myself a therapist. A lot of my sessions.
  • Sure. Coaching them through things, and helping them out. I mean, I’ve had people crying in sessions before, you know, it’s more than training. So that’s why I do consider myself coach. And it’s all about being a good person. And result wise, it’s resulted in me, maintaining clients for,
  • Right.
  • for years and years and years and referrals, I mean being a good person, goes out a long way. It goes a long way. And it’s one of those characteristics.
  • And you’re setting the example for them. Are you setting the example for them to look at it, and go, this is the kind of person I wanna emulate also, right? Because if someone doesn’t feel good about themselves, and obviously, you know this, they start to become self-destructive. They do things that are bad. They make bad decisions. They, you know, they’re doing things they shouldn’t be doing. They maybe they don’t eat right. Maybe they don’t act right. All that kinda stuff. So I love what you’re saying. Your workouts are also therapeutic. Your coaching is also therapeutic, to make them feel good about themselves, and to give them not just physical wellness, but also that mental wellness, to just kind of be good to themselves and those around them, right?
  • Yes, yes. Lemme say, it took me some years, to kinda get the hang of it. Like it’s coaching as a science. It is a science. You can read all the books you want, you can do everything, but it takes hours and hours of just practice, physical action, probably in front of the person, learning how to talk to people, learning how to motivate different kinds of people. Like I can’t push this person, as hard as I can push this. I can’t say this to one person, as I can say to this other person, you have to literally adapt to different personalities.
  • Sure.
  • Physical attributes is literally a science. I may see 10 clients in a day. All 10 of them are different. And I have to give each one of those 10 clients, a different experience. So, but over time you start, you know, you develop those skills. And yeah, man.
  • Let me bring up COVID if I could, right? COVID-19 hit us this year bad, and really made a lot of people think differently about their health, differently about what they should be doing with their own bodies, what they should be doing with their, you know, their family members. It really made people think a lot. But something else happened. It made us less connected, right? Many more people are doing this kind of interview, right? Online. We’re not getting together as much. All of those things, my worry is, when people start losing that connection, they start losing going out in the world, when they start losing working out, and being physical with other people, and physical with themselves, right? Running or walking, or exercising or any of those things. Isn’t there some kind of depression, that’s just gonna set in. They just, they’re not gonna feel themselves. They’re not gonna feel right. And if all these months, what do we do now, right? What do we do now after four or five months, sitting inside that house feeling like we’re not effective.
  • Yeah. I think that first six to eight weeks for everyone was tough. I mean, even for me. And I think those first, let me say the first two months, I think everybody kinda, and just to piggyback, I think we needed this as a world .
  • Okay.
  • You know, its crazy man. I think the world needed this to happen. And from people I talked to, I think we’re all gonna come out here better. I think we all found out a little bit more about ourselves, do you understand? What we should have been doing, what we could have been doing. And I think during this time, if I think a lot of people develop some other skills, that they know they didn’t have or had to adapt, but I think everybody’s gonna come out stronger. People are gonna appreciate the connections more.
  • Absolutely.
  • Coming out of this.
  • Lemme ask you though. If you’ve got somebody, and if there’s somebody who you know, right? If I have a family member or someone I know who’s struggling, right? They’ve been away for a while. They used to be a bit active, now than not active at all. And they’re falling into that world of almost intimidation, right? Look, I used to be able to do these things, now I can’t, I got hurt or I don’t feel good, or I got sick and they’re kinda given up. What kind of advice do you give to that person, when they’re starting to feel like, you know what COVID was the end of me, right? I’m 40 something, 50 something, and COVID I’m done, right? I can’t be that person I was before.
  • You can be that person before. And I think what people, I think people need to realize just to help them understand, like it’s a process. I mean, you’re not gonna be back the way you was in one week, but just take those baby steps. And this is the beauty of the journey, is seeing the small increments of progress.
  • Sure.
  • And once you start and like, all you need is just one, just one little ink of progress, like, “Oh, wow, like I’ve dropped two pounds.” Just something like that. It’s gonna trigger something in your brain. Like it’s endorphins, It’s motivation, okay. Like, I can’t do this, but you have to, decide about doing something, and just it’s cliche, but a little bit becomes a lot, you know?
  • Right, right.
  • Just keep tagging at it, and look at the small increments of progress, progress, progress, progress. And it’ll go.
  • So I think what you’re saying,
  • if I get this right, is you’re saying that when someone feels, look, this COVID thing is a good excuse for me to just sit around and watch Netflix all day, and not work out anymore and eat junk food, right? Just order from the pizza man. And that’s all I’mma do all day, right? I got it. But now when I have to realize, okay, I made some bad choices here. I’ve done some things I shouldn’t have done. You’re saying, don’t try to jump right back in, and be that person you were, you’re saying, take some small steps,
  • Exactly.
  • To get back to that person.
  • Exactly. Exactly. And I’m glad you brought that up. And this is what I tell people all the time now. And so over these past four months, everybody’s been working out at home, using body weight, resistant bands, and you know, small weights. You can’t just go back into Equinox, and start squatting 300 pounds, If you haven’t been doing it four months. Like your body is the same thing, your body’s not adapted to that yet. So instead of starting over 300 pounds, for the first four to six weeks, you need to start at maybe 135, and incrementally work your way up. So your body can adapt to that weight again. So it’s kinda the same analogy. Like I can’t go back in the gym, and put up 300 pounds on a bench. When I’ve been doing pushups for three four months, you know?-
  • right.
  • Your body’s not gonna take that punishment right away .
  • Got it.
  • You know? So it’s kinda the same thing.
  • And I think people wanna jump in.
  • Yeah
  • They wanna jump in. I was that guy, I wanna keep being that guy, right? Of course they wanna there, but I see what you’re saying. That’s gonna get them hurt. That’s gonna make things worse, and now they’re gonna be like,
  • I can’t do anything.
  • Exactly, exactly.
  • So lemme ask you a personal question if I could, when you were a little kid, like elementary school, like little kid, is there somebody you looked up to that you were like, “I like that person. “I kinda wanna be a little bit like that person.”
  • I guess everybody wanted to be Michael Jordan, right?
  • Oh yeah, sure.
  • Everyone wanted to be like Mike. And I think my dad too, like my dad was a big inspiration for me. I mean, just, you know, I pretty much, and I kinda a lot of my success, and I kinda owe to him, but I mean, he took me to every practice, every game, every, I mean, just the sacrifice he made for me, like come home from work, and take me to practice, and like come up to all my games at college, like that time, it all paid off when I got the full ride scholarship, you know, but the time that he invested in me, and money that he invested in me as a child, to fulfill my dream.
  • See kinda paying that forward back now, right? What he instilled in you,
  • For sure.
  • Take your time, to invest in people. You went to HR,
  • Yes
  • and then you started out, now you’re doing the same thing. You’re investing in people, to make sure they can be their best.
  • Exactly. And what he invested into me for what, 17 years, you know, before it paid off with a full ride scholarship.
  • Right.
  • You know, but that’s how long it takes. You know, like you gotta start the kid’s young, and you got to start them at five. You gotta start him at age four, six, and then, you know,
  • Absolutely.
  • Kids even starting earlier now, so it’s a competition only I think that people have to realize like, there’s always somebody gunning for you. There’s always somebody trying to take your spot. What can you do to gain at 1% over that next person?
  • Absolutely.
  • Yeah sure
  • So your company is Fit Legend. So that means you care about your legacy. And if you care about your legacy let me ask you this question. If you had a choice, when you’re gone and there’s your tombstone, what do you want on your tombstone? What should people be thinking about when they see your tombstone?
  • Wow, that’s a deep question. What do you question, what do I want on my tombstone?
  • Yeah.
  • Loving, caring, hardworking.
  • Loving, caring, hardworking,
  • Those three things.
  • I like that. Loving, caring, hardworking. Takes hardwork to love. It takes hard work to care, doesn’t it?
  • For sure. And a lot of trust.
  • Absolutely and a lot of trust. So if someone gonna give your eulogy, they gotta talk about that.
  • Yeah, for sure. And I think that’s what you want. You know, when you leave this earth, you want to be known as a good person. Like as it, as a lot of people wanna talk like nobody’s gonna talk about a bad person. Like they’re gonna talk about all the goods you’ve done, how much you’ve helped them and others. And I think that’s what it’s all about, leaving this earth and being known as a good person who helped others or who helped some way shape or change the world.
  • So let me ask you, you help, you’re loving, you’re hardworking, tell me a story if you would right now, without any names, tell me a story about somebody who came to you, who was broken in any way you want to think they were broken and you were able over time to kinda fix them and put them back together.
  • Oh wow, well, I’m gonna say about a year ago, she’s probably my number one client. I mean, I train her probably twice a day. I mean I trained her twice a day for like five days a week. Two years now this is kind of one of my best friends. Her dad randomly got diagnosed with like a brain tumor. I mean, and her life kinda went upside down, like shattered. She was crushed, you know like ended up had to quit her job go take care of him. And we’re talking about somebody who workout twice a day, five days a week. And she was like CJ I can’t come in to work out no more. I mean for her to not come in and workout was–
  • That’s a lifestyle, that’s a massive lifestyle change.
  • Yeah, it crushed her. And one thing when I helped her out with, you know obviously you go through the grievance stays out . Take the time you need, this and this and then I hit her up. I was like, how you doing? I was like look, come back in, workout, see how you feel, trauma session and then you know go from there cause she’s in his grievance stage for like a week or two like. And as a person, it’s my job to help her get out of that. So when she came back through the gym, she came back to the gym one day we trained. I mean, it was rough. I mean, she cried through the session, like literally was like a literally a 30 session for, and after that session she texted me and she said, CJ like, you don’t understand, like you just helped me so much, like I needed that. Like I need to keep doing this to keep my mind straight. And for me it was always like use this time to get your mind away from everything cause I always tell somebody, you can’t take care of somebody else until you take care of yourself. So when you’re in good spirits and you take care of yourself, then you’re able to give that same spirit and that same effort to somebody else. I mean yeah, every even days now she’s like she said, thank you for helping me out with that situation. You know what I mean like I hope we’re cry through sessions, you know I had a shoulder for her to lean on it–
  • This was exactly what you were talking about. You literally took a person step-by-step like you said, they went from you know doing two days, I mean twice a day to just come in once, right? Just have a little bit and then was therapeutic as you said as you went through, they had some success and then their mind got straight and then they were able to help others. It’s exactly what you were talking about. I love this story.
  • Yeah and her dad is doing well now. Her dad is doing well and finished chemo. And then you know, she’s you know she’s still changed me you know like to this day but I took someone who stopped working out for two weeks cause they couldn’t get out of bed, it was just so just distraught of what was going on with the dad to, you know getting her back into the groove of things and literally that being the best part of her day and help her to actually get through that situation.
  • So on a little bit of a detailed note, does something like that, is it by the person or is it by what’s happening in their life, whether the workout has to be different. In other words if someone’s grieving, is that what changes the workout or is it because of the individual their own physiology that changes the kind of workout they should have? In other words are you supposed to be more intense or less intense or more cardio or more weights or does that change depending upon the person’s emotion or depending upon the individual or both?
  • The workout doesn’t change at all. It’s and this is where the psychology, the coaching psychology comes in, in terms of just so during the workout, you’re having a conversation, you know and it’s kind of a tricky line for the most part like, I don’t want to talk about how I’ll probably come in, but nine times out of 10, that client is gonna bring it up to you. CJ like this happened today boom this and this. So I don’t initiate it until they initiate. And nine times out of ten, they’re gonna be the first initiator like any type of problem with stress going outside of the world. Then from then during this session, we’re pretty much having a therapy verbal session, while they’re physically working out, you know. So he is kinda hating it so like, I don’t bring it up, but once they bring it up, boom okay. She wants to talk, she’s talking about it, it is my job to comfort her during the time or you know coach her through it, you know like it’s okay, like this and is where you know. And always tell people, training a powerful thing. It’s a powerful thing. I mean, for what I mean you’re one of the few people in the world who sees them at their lowest point or when they’re weak, they can’t do something. Is a the trainer relationship is a powerful thing. And I think that’s why these clients they see me as family, like I see them at the lowest point, I picked them up from that low point and take them to a place that they never been before and I think that’s so powerful. And like you said like, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a session, where the client is crying through the session. Like, you know whether it’s, you know what you know, whether it’s them like finally getting their it could be like, they couldn’t cry for three weeks, then they came to me and like I hope we get it all out. No we finish that last squat rep like I did it, and then all emotions come out from something else is going on. Coaching is such a powerful thing. And I don’t ever consider myself a trainer. This is definitely a coach, a life coach, a therapist. And when you can tap into that, the sky is the limit for any trainer or coach out there is all about relationship building. Yeah.
  • I love the fact that you literally showed us how someone goes from you know, doing great, falling down, slowly getting back up, connecting the physical and the mental wellness together, so they can help themselves and then help others. That’s amazing. CJ is there anything else you wanna talk about before we wrap this up?
  • I think we hit well, I kind of sold to Miami things and I moved to LA. I kinda want everybody to know, so–
  • Oh yes, I’m sorry. He gave me so much interesting stuff, I didn’t even go there. I should have gone there.
  • Yeah I know we didn’t even.
  • My mistake. It was so good, I just kept going. So let’s go to your right, I’m sorry. You leave Miami and you head over to LA and you get into boxing. Tell me why you went to LA.
  • Yeah, so before I went to LA I kinda everybody know it’s, I mean I was 22 on my own business, I didn’t know what I was doing. Printing outside, looking in, I mean I’m training everybody, things are well but I mean one of my worst I mean, I was broke. All the money I was making was going back in the gym. Like I mean, then it got to the point where like, I couldn’t even, you know me and my vest had a little fallout, you know, we couldn’t afford to keep it open you know it was tough, man you know, and being in my life, it was a tough time. So we end up having to shut the gym down and close it. I started training outside of another gym. I mean at this point, a lot of people don’t know I was actually living in my car for like two months, at one point. Towards like leading up towards LA, I mean, I thought about quitting so many times, moving back home. Like, I mean I think I drained my parents’ savings account. Like–
  • So what stopped you from going home?
  • You know what honestly, this is probably one of the times and I kind of, I don’t like to get religious but it’s probably one. I think everybody has had this moment in their life. Most Christians have where this is the closed I’ve ever been with God. Like when I was going through that tough time, I mean, I was going to church every day. I mean, that’s what kind of helped me out. I was going to Bible study. Like I was, that stuff helped me. It was like, I see they keep pushing, keep praying, God got a plan for you. Like just keep going. And behold, I was sitting in the park one day in Miami and I get like a message on Instagram for one of my old college team mates. He’s like, yo like what’s your situation? This and this. I just opened up a gym in LA, I see China boxers. What you think about coming up and send if you like it? I would love for you to develop the strenghth program. I’ll teach the boxing side. So long story short, they flew me out like two days later. You know check the place out. Mind you I’ve never been to LA in my life. And I don’t know anyone out there. So the only person I knew out there was the owner who I played football with in college for like a year. He was a senior. I was a freshman at the time. I mean, long story short, I said, let’s do it. I mean I literally picked up, they relocated me three weeks later. From the time I got that message, I just went. I was like I’m young, I don’t have no kids, like, let’s do this. And my ambition and my grind, like I knew I was gonna make it, all I needed was just a new opportunity, a new fresh start. Like I knew I was gonna be good. I just needed just a new opportunity to start–
  • Yeah but your opportunity the one in Miami and the one in LA both came because you had relationships. They came because you were a good human being with people who trusted you, right?
  • Correct.
  • They trusted you in both cases. And that’s why you got both those opportunities. That’s not luck. That’s who you are.
  • Exactly. It’s not exactly I always go back to being a good person, somebody trusting you . All that stuff always goes back to that. Like what type of person are you are?
  • Right, absolutely.
  • I think that’s the main thing. I get to LA I literally I busted my butt, two years straight.
  • So when you’re in Miami and things aren’t going well for you, right? You’re obviously still working out, but you’re finding your therapy in spirituality, right? So in your spirituality was kind of your therapy and getting you through all these things, right? So were you going to a specific church? Was there a specific priest who was more kind of open to hearing you?
  • Yeah, I was going to specific church tonight, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was kinda like down the street from where I used to live at. And I mean I just really like every, I didn’t miss a Sunday. I mean I even did the whole, I joined the church thing. I had to go to Saturday, like Bible class. Like that stuff really helped me out. You know like when I didn’t have anybody else to lean on, you know, and literally got me through that whole situation, like keep working hard. Like your opportunity is gonna come just keep trusting. And it happened man. It was just such a powerful thing. Kinda how it all just seems and then just look at me now.
  • So now you get to LA, tell me what happens there.
  • So then, literally the first day I moved to LA, imagine I haven’t like, you know never like physically like box, you know. Late at first day I get in and the owner tells me that its honestly alright, like you go spar your first day. So my first day in LA I’m sparring, never spar before, never really punched put on gloves. I probably got my butt kick in there, but that was my first initiation to the kind of my boxing background. And then from there meta competitive in I’m like, okay, that’s never gonna happen again. I’m gonna bust my butt to learn this thing. And from there I’m out boxing every day, learning how to hold mix, punch. At the same time developing a whole different program for the gym that was pretty much nonexistent, you know. We got up a whole strength program. So on top of that, I’m teaching others how to train and you know, different strength mechanisms and things about the body and learn. And then they teach me how to box. We were all kind of helping each other out. And then once I added that to my game, I mean it was like, okay, I can do strength, I can do or you go And then over those last three years, I just booked relationship with clients. And then December, I decided to pinch off my own start my new company for Legend Inc. I mean, literally it’s been the best thing that happened to me. My business is going really well now. Its been a six
  • Tell me what the trigger
  • Seven year journey.
  • was for you to go on your own
  • Its a couple of different things. I mean one financially, you know what I mean. You make a gym like, I mean at the end of the day, like when you work for someone else, you’re helping them put money in their pocket–
  • Sure.
  • I mean I was looking at how much money I was bringing in and how much money I wasn’t, you know, really thought I should have been deserving of getting be like, I can do this on my own. So not only we were wrong. It was scary to go.
  • Of course.
  • Cause as much as I was still kinda paid kinda where I was like, okay–
  • And you also had a failure in Miami that was still there in your head.
  • Yeah. LA is a tough place. Like, should I leave this study paycheck? And I was still getting paid fairly nice for me to then I thought deserve more. And I was tired of the long 14-hour day. I was just tired of it. And then I was just like, let’s just do it. So I did it. And when I did it, when it’s crazy cause sometimes like when you go out on your own and when you kind of become vulnerable, I didn’t realize the support I had, when I went out on my own. So like when I’m basically made an announcements or that told my clients I was like, I’m leaving on my own. Like the support I had was insane and that’s kind of maybe relevant as like what was CJ like? You have a special place in these people’s heart. It was like clients like, like what do you need? Do you need anything like money? This and this. I can help you with this. CJ like wherever you go I’m gonna follow you. Literally all of my clients follow me, every single one.
  • This goes back to that trusting good person that you’ve been talking about, doesn’t it?
  • Yes. Yeah, CJ went in there, like see the light, I don’t care a lot. You let me know where you at, I’ll be there. So I mean literally like, and I just hit the ground running. I made myself available Cause now I’m working less and making more money, clothing line going on and writing blogs for things like magazine, one-on-one, women’s health, men’s health, like it’s, everything is finally growing into fruition for me now. And I’m in it, and I just turned 30 this year and somebody told me to say, twenties up while you’re learning, thirties up for earning. And I definitely see that now, everything I learned in my twenties is finally starting to pay off now. It’s been an amazing ride.
  • Is that saying it took you 10 years–
  • Exactly. And now I think that we’re kind of just flowing now. You know, it’s just so flow now. So I’m working less and chilling and you know, so it’s been an amazing journey.
  • I’m very glad that things are going well. I’m happy that you were able to give us some time on off the cuff so that you could, you know, try to enlighten us and show us some of your what’s important to you and how you’ve been able to move forward and how you’ve been able to help other people and how all these connects together with wellness not just physical but also emotional, also business, also social, all those things together. It wraps it all up. I appreciate your time so much CJ. Thank you so much for coming.
  • Anytime, I appreciate you. That was amazing.

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