If You Believe…You Can Do It
For the past six months Always Believe Fitness in South Orange, NJ has been helping people transform their bodies and their lives. “Anyone can walk in a gym and turn on a treadmill. You want to be surrounded by people who know what they are doing,” says Earl Nelson. He owns the gym with Anthony Williams.
Nelson’s story is nothing short of amazing. Over the years he has gained and lost close to 600 pounds, sculpting his body into a specimen most would envy. His before and after pictures tell the story of an obese child. And even though he’s worked out since he was 14 years old, he was a self-proclaimed average fat kid. Well, almost average. He spent his teenage years learning and studying supplements and diet pills. “Even on my birthday, I would ask for supplements and fat burning pills.” He was a work in progress – addicted to food and football where “bigger was better.”
That meant years of visits to Burger King and White Castle. During many phases of his life, the visits were every day. His White Castle order still rolls quickly off of his tongue: 10 cheeseburgers, a sac of fries, 3 orders of mozzarella sticks and a large Coke. For Nelson, anxiety and worry often triggered his extreme eating habits, but the days of yelling his order into a drive-thru mic are over. Now 170 pounds lighter, he’s a certified licensed personal trainer and placing in SuperFit Competitions.
The believers in Nelson are many. Preston Hills went to high school with Earl and has seen results by training with Nelson over the last three months. “I see where he came from. He transformed himself and everything he says, I trust.” Giovanni Jackman is another believer. A trainer himself, he says Earl made him lean. “I was used to the standard reps of exercises when I played football in college. We’d do exercises, and would talk in between. But Earl transforms his clients through intense cardio.” When you train with Earl, by all accounts, there is no time for talking.
The name of the gym “Always Believe” echoes the words of his father. The gym is his dream – literally. Nelson kept dreaming about the words and was moved to get a tattoo of them on his neck. “I came from some dark moments, but all you may ever have left is just believing. You never know what you are capable of.”
If you visit to the gym, you’ll find men and women from all fitness levels taking part in hard-core exercises the gym’s owners have tailored for their body types. With each clank of the weights and series of grunts, you hear nothing but sheer determination.
Nelson says that most people do a lot of guesswork when it comes to getting fit. “At the gym we speak to people, get their stories and give them a plan. At the end of the day you were big and got smaller or small and got bigger. Everyone can change,” says Nelson.
How did he transform his body? A plan and an intense focus. “I know what it’s like being an obese child and teen sitting home on a Friday night because your clothes don’t fit, or being funny to take the focus off of your weight. It’s no fun.” Through his years of roller coaster weights, Nelson says one of the most important lessons he learned is that the way you think is a major part of your overall development. “Exercising kept me focused and helped me cope with life. We all have our own coping mechanisms.”
Nelson’s experiences with weight fluxuations and anxiety have made him an advocate of studies that link mental well being to exercise. As a result of his exercise program he maintains strong mind, body and spirit. “When things get hard in life, you don’t’ quit, you learn how to be better and in some cases you have to hire a trained professional.”
“If you workout with Earl, you have to be mentally ready. It hurts like hell, but there is pride when you walk out that door,” says Hills.
Always Believe Fitness is owned by Earl Nelson and Anthony Williams and is located at 260 Valley Street in South Orange, NJ. Visit www.alwaysbelievefitness for their training and schedules for adults and youth. Whether you live in the state or in an other country, the Always Believe Fitness trainers will create your personalized exercise and meal plans.