Personally, I love an entrepreneur who starts a business because of a personal transformation in his own life. When someone goes through something intense, changes, and then commits to earning their living inspiring others to grow, expand, or change, I am so on board. How does it get any better than that?
Ryan Meyer is one such gem of a human mammal. When he was in his 20’s, Ryan was a serious drinker. But for real. He drank- like a lot.
Like, every night.
Like the kind of hard most of you reading this might explore once or twice in college and then avoid like the plague.
He drank like THAT every day. Until one day, he was 250 pounds of pure toxicity. He was an angry, rageful, bastion of denial, his blood pressure was through the roof, he was huge, and one day, while driving on the freeway, he had what the neurosurgeon called a minor brain hemorage.
After they spinal tapped him, angiogram-ed him, and watched him in an MRI for 25 hours, they discovered that he was in the lucky 5% of people experience what they call “external brain bleeds.” These folks are “lucky” because while they’ve essentially bled internally, from the brain, they don’t wind up needing brain surgery.
Hoo. Freaking. Ray! Right?
Now, most of you out there, after such an event, would take your cardiologist’s advice and stopping drinking immediately, right? Not Ryan. Ryan is the kind of man who takes a licking and keeps on ticking. He continued to drink and party and be generally, all around cray-cray for the next SIX years until he turned 31. One day when he was 31, his cardiologist, of whom he had grown fond, fired him. She said “You’re getting bigger and bigger and you’re going to die. I won’t watch you do this to yourself.” After which he went on a two week bender, woke up at the end of it and made a decision that changed his life. “I’m done.” He decided. “Done.”
It’s been a little over 8 years since that day, and Ryan has not had a drink since.
Now, some of you might think this is a story about the horrors of being an addictive type of person, about how terrible it is to be so “intense.” To which I would respond: “IS it..?” Because since that day 8 years ago, Ryan has lost 70 pounds, picked up a serious triathalon habit, built and been the main trainer at his own, private gym, and is presently inspiring hundreds of schlubs like you and me to change our lives through nutritional awareness and fun, easy, circuit training work.
When Ryan described his class during our interview, both Zephyr (our fearless and talented photographer) and I were so taken with the sound of it that we each signed up for our one free class.
“It’s circuit training made fun, basically.” Says Mr. Meyer. “I pump the music, and change it up every class so you’re never bored and you’re having a good time while you do it- because, seriously, if working out isn’t fun, then why bother?”
Stärke Fitness is bright, spacious, and just off the 5 at the Q street exit. He’s got some of the coolest merch I’ve ever seen in gym, and his place made it feel like hanging out. I didn’t want to leave when we were done chatting. “Lots of people are intimidated when they see gyms like mine because they think you have to be some meat-head, gym-rat, crazy, weight-lifting dude to come in here. But that’s not what I’m about at all. I’m about helping normal people change their lifestyle and have a blast while they do it! You can be anybody and come in here and take a class. It’s fun and we’re not scary, I promise!”
It’s true! I hung out with him for like an hour. He’s the least scary dude ever- but one of the more physically impressive. If you haven’t checked out his 'before' and 'after' shots yet, do so for your dose of inspiration today. And after that, join me in getting off my duff and taking my first class with Stärke Fitness for FREE!
I’m inspired! And off to eat some kale!