Understanding the whole person

Physical fitness is just a very small sliver on the spectrum of Physical Wellness, let alone overall wellness. That’s why I don’t just focus on my clients’ fitness development. I home in on their mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing, too.

My philosophy: Drinking water, eating quinoa, and doing 100 pushups might make you look good, but they don’t make your life trouble-free. Embracing yourself as a whole person, however, can help you manage.

Getting to a place where I understood that about other people and myself took a lot of patience and perseverance.

I came out as gay when I was 15. It was 1991 and I lived in Harlem, GA (a small town near Augusta, which straddles the South Carolina border). My family and friends accepted me fine. My classmates and peers harassed me relentlessly.

In high school and even worse in college, bullies assaulted, provoked and baited me into fights. People hurled vile insults and ugly epithets at me. They mocked me. Laughed at me. Humiliated me.

I started to fight back and, for a while, felt that I managed to exert control over how people treated me. Then came the news that reminded me I wasn’t in control at all.

At age 22, I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which in retrospect started appearing when I was about 10. I wasn’t a danger to other people, but I was to myself. I exhibited hypomanic tendencies, which means I experienced intermittent highs during which I exuded tons of energy and developed brilliant ideas… only to eventually crash. Hard.

Over the next few years, doctors would incorrectly prescribe me medications that exacerbated my illness. I battled anorexia for 20 years (got past that – YAY!), and I still contend with dysmorphic disorder. I experienced bouts of suicidal behavior and punctuated periods of feeling like a zombie.

It took nearly 30 years before I finally got access to the meds and resources I needed to stabilize my life and the chemicals in my brain. During that time, I kept working, kept dancing and kept training.

Leverage my experience

My repertoire is vast. I taught in the public high school system and in colleges and universities. I also became the artistic director of my dance company. I danced in strip clubs to pay my way to LA for grad school, and then started dancing in clubs again years later during the recession to pay the rent, after I got defrauded for $100,000 (Paid that off! YAY!) I’ve published articles for publications like qnotes. I’ve trained celebrity clients in New York City and have performed, trained and taught all across the U.S. and Europe.

In 2019, I decided to stop training full-time in studios, and go all in with my own company. Today, I am a mobile personal trainer and wellness coach. I meet clients on their turf and orchestrate training programs that make sense for them.

I’ve developed eight essential fitness fundamentals that get at the heart of better moving, eating and living. I consider myself an empathetic trainer. I know full well how hard it can be to drum up the motivation to exercise. I know how difficult it can be to get out of the bed and hit the gym. And I know what it’s like to aim for a goal that feels so far out of reach.

That’s why when you work with me, you work with someone who is #JustLikeYou. No judgment. No gimmicks. No Silly Highly Ineffective Theatrics. Just you, me, and my 20-plus years of experience helping clients become the people they want to be.

Ready for a change in your life? Let’s get moving!

Jack Kirven is a gay mobile trainer in Charlotte, NC who gives a free gift to people who subscribe to our newsletter.

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