Don't Give Up! Being Your Best Self is Within Reach

James M. Loy, Miami University

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Most of us, at some point, will aspire to become a better version of our current selves. But self-improvement rarely comes easy. 

“I think a lot of people have lost hope with their health, and they don’t know what to do or where to go,” says Adam Ortman, Anytime Fitness regional manager and part owner of eight locations across Ohio. “It’s just a constant thing of failure.” 

Unfortunately, this is a scenario that likely resonates with many people. On average, America is in the grip of chronic disease which includes heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more. And, even in spite of a growing cultural and entrepreneurial preoccupation with health and wellness, things don’t seem to be getting much better.

“If you look at a trend line, there are more gyms popping up now than ever,” Ortman says. “Yet America hasn’t become healthier. So something is going wrong in the fitness industry.”

This is a problem that concerns Ortman deeply. Because for him, self-improvement, especially as it applies to health and wellness, is not just the foundation of a successful career. It’s been a driving force throughout most of his life.

Adam Ortman takes picture with other Anytime Fitness employees“I didn’t have a lot of healthy role models growing up,” he says. “My brother and I were overweight. And then I went out for football in high school and realized that I was completely out of shape and lacked confidence. That was a wake-up call. So I started to take an interest in exercise and heath, and I ended up getting into Miami University. That started my passion into learning about exercise and fitness.”

While at Miami, Ortman put himself through school in only three years. He was the first in his family to graduate from college. And then in 2012, after earning a degree in exercise and health science, he quickly climbed the ranks with Anytime Fitness, which operates nearly 3,500 franchised locations all around the world.

In 2013, he was named as one of only five Member Success Story of the Year for his transformative work with a disabled client. In 2016, he was selected from among nearly 7,000 trainers globally to receive the Personal Trainer of the Year award.

And today, he’s on mission.

Ortman is fighting against many of the negative health and wellness trends that continue to afflict society. And that includes fixing many of the problems found throughout his own industry. Because alongside the growing number of gyms, we’re also now flooded with a deluge information through a near endless-array of fitness-based apps, videos, live streams, blogs, podcasts, and more.

But to what end?

“It’s never a lack of knowledge,” Ortman says. “As Americans, we have a general sense of what is good and bad to eat. We understand that fast food and chips are not the best things for our health. Yet we choose to eat them anyway. We all know that. Just like if you ask a stranger, ‘Is exercise going to benefit your health?’ They are going to say ‘yes.’”

So the way to a healthier life is no secret. That’s not the problem. Instead, Ortman says, what most of people really need is more support.Adam Ortman instructing

“They need to figure out how put that knowledge into action. And that’s where we try to bridge that gap and we do that through accountability, support, a supportive environment, and essentially through relationships. We want to be the place where when you walk into the gym, you are actually building relationships.”

His vision is to build long-term connections and deeper relationships with his clients and the community, both inside and outside the gym. And he understands, perhaps more than most, that envisioning a better future, setting a plan, and then making it a reality is difficult. And it may seem daunting.

But as someone who has dedicated his life to setting big goals and actually achieving them, he believes that everyone has that same power.

“The reason I do what I do every day is I want to be that healthy role model, someone that others can look to when they are stuck,” Ortman says. “Whether its fitness, something emotional or mental. I didn’t have that. So I wanted to be the best version of myself so I could show others that it is possible. For anyone who’s going through a tough time, there definitely is a way out. You just need that right support.”