One of my favorite quotes is, “If you want inspiration, go find it.” I live by it, and when I see others doing it, my curiosity is piqued. I immediately have to snoop out the story. Enter Jeffrey Brous. Jeffrey is a fitness instructor at Horsham Athletic Club in Horsham, Pennsylvania. While he may seem like the picture of health and happiness these days, that wasn’t always the case.
Jeffrey grew up as a closeted homosexual that hid behind his weight. By the time he enrolled in University, he weighed over 300 pounds. It was an embarrassing moment for him when he couldn’t climb three flights of stairs. Rather than shirking him, his classmates rallied around him and helped him reshape his eating habits and exercise. As a result, he dropped over 180 pounds in about 3 years. Holy sh*t! I know, right? That is exactly what I said, too! That is a major accomplishment, and I don’t think any of you will argue the point. But losing weight wasn’t enough for Jeffrey, he wanted to inspire others and pay it forward.
Today, Jeffrey is a trainer at Horsham Athletic Club in Horsham, Pennsylvania where he teaches Zumba Fitness, Zumba Toning, Yoga, Yogalates, Fitness Boot Camps and is available for personal and small group training sessions. Who would have thought that someone that couldn’t climb three flights of stairs could end up being a fitness instructor? It is what happens when you dig up the courage, go find the inspiration and take action to overcome the odds that are stacked against you.
Jeffrey’s story is inspiring to me, not only because he has lost so much weight, but because of his attitude toward helping others. He’s a big advocate, of the “It Gets Better Project” which is a charity organization founded by Dan Savage and his partner, Terry Miller to inspire young people facing harassment. The It Gets Better Project™ has become a worldwide movement, inspiring more than 50,000 user-created videos viewed more than 50 million times. To date, the project has received submissions from celebrities, organizations, activists, politicians and media personalities, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Lambert, Anne Hathaway, Colin Farrell, Matthew Morrison of “Glee”, Joe Jonas, Joel Madden, Ke$ha, Sarah Silverman, Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres, Suze Orman, the staffs of The Gap, Google, Facebook, Pixar, the Broadway community, and many more.
I cannot truly understand what it is like to be bullied because of sexual preference. I cannot imagine what the shame and embarrassment of not being able to climb three flights of stairs would do to the psyche of a person. But what I do know is that someone that can face those circumstances, overcome them and lead others through the maze of emotional and physical evolution to a better and healthier life – is a hero! He may not run into burning buildings, or stop a bank robbery, but he’s saving lives every day, all day, one life at a time. I can’t say that, can you?
Jeffrey does what so many forget. He leads by example. He inspires. He encourages. He pays it forward. He did not forget the darkness of what he went through. Today he is a light unto the path of inspiration, and he won’t quit until his clients have won their battle. I believe that approach is taking “winning” to the next level, and THAT, my friends, is inspiring!
Jeffrey has been nominated as a finalist in the Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge. In order to win, he needs your vote. If you were at all inspired by his story, by his efforts, by his accomplishments and attitudes, then please take a moment to GO HERE. Please “Like” the Be Well Philly Page, watch Jeffrey’s video, and vote for him (you’ll be cheering him on by the end of the short video). It will only take a minute and your efforts will provide someone that deserves a cheerleading battle cry even more reason to continue changing the world. You can vote everyday, until October 31st. If you need to go find some inspiration, then perhaps you might start with Jeffrey and pay it forward in faith.
I don’t normally endorse people on my blog, but I see the transformational difference that Jeffrey is making with people that I personally know and care about. I know he is their inspiration, and I know that watching them evolve, change and embrace fitness inspires me to get off my behind and get moving, too. Sometimes you only have to inspire ONE person to start a tidal wave. Are you in?