Fitness trainer Curtis Starks’ heartfelt account of why he believes fitness is his ministry

Curtis Starks
Curtis Starks
Owner, C Starks Personal Trainer

What inspired you to be in the health and fitness business?
You know how Michael Jordan was born to play basketball? Well, I was born to do fitness and change people lives. This is my ministry. True story. And every time someone asks me that question, ‘what inspired me,’ I always think about this. When I was going up, my great grandmother, Big Mommy, used to keep me while my mother was at work. This lady did anything for me. Well, I would go outside to play with my friends but I would always come back to check on her to see if she needed anything. One particular day, I went out to do my normal routine which was play with my friends. Upon returning to check on Big Mommy, I came up to a house with unfamiliar cars and paramedics. She had fallen and broken her hip trying to pull the curtains back. Fast forward, she had a successful surgery. I told her I would help her with the rehabbing of her hip. But the hip replacement lead to a number of strokes and her being bedridden. I felt like I failed in getting her back to walking and moving around. So that is what inspires me to change peoples lives.

Tell me about your education, training, and certifications and your proper titles.
I attended Miles College from 1994 to1996 and then I transferred to Samford University where I attended school from 1996 to 2000. Both schools are located in Birmingham, Alabama. I’m certified in Kettlebell Training, TRX Suspension Training and Rope Training. I often speak at schools, health fairs, community centers and at corporations about the importance of health and fitness and why they should incorporate it into their work place. I also sit on the NAACP health committee, was recognized in 2014 as Birmingham’s Best personal trainers, and am a 2014 recipient of the NAACP outstanding community service award.

What made you become an entrepreneur?
I love the hustle and not the luck. That’s a quote I always use when people ask me this question. But seriously, I feel that I was born to be a entrepreneur and not be afraid of failure. People think failure is a loss and get so down and beat themselves up about it. Me not so much. Failure to me means that a certain situation just didn’t work out. I look at failure as the inability to live your life on your own terms. I see people like Sean Combs, Donald Trump, Shawn Carter, Oprah Winfrey and I say why not me.

This is your tenth year in business. How do you plan on celebrating?
Well, even though it will be 10 years in business, I will be celebrating by putting together my first 5K event, benefiting Children’s of Alabama Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders. This is a big deal because I wanted to do something that with be giving back to the community and also be apart of research that can cure something that affects so many.

What keeps you motivated?
I want to be known for being the best at what I do, not just here in my city but nationally. Also what keeps me motivated is my son Curtis Si-yaan Starks. Being in a position to be able to touch the world and let them know who I am because this is what I was born to do.

How do you motivate your clients?
I love seeing my clients get results. I’ve been doing this now for almost 20 years and year in and year out I love seeing those who come to me feeling like they have won the battle of losing weight, or just not being sure about themselves. So the mere fact a total stranger is willing to trust me to change their lives, that motivates me.

What has been your biggest success?
My biggest success is being able to continue my profession in a state that is ranked the third fattest state in America. Why? I think it’s my dedication to the constant grind that is takes to promote the importance of a change and being able to make people aware of the risk factors that affects our community.

Where do you see your career in the next five years?
In the next five years, I see myself a well established figure in the fitness industry, running my fitness business from outside instead of inside, teaching trainers how to be trainers, having a couple of exercise DVDs , becoming a celebrity trainer and doing some print work. Basically, I’m hungry and ready to reap the rewards.

What has been your most difficult challenge?
Tough question. But like I said before, my most difficult challenge is keeping these doors open and also trying to change the mindset of my African American community. Let me explain. See there is a difference in the Black community and White community when it comes to fitness and healthy lifestyle behaviors. I found that Black people come to me when there is a problem like the doctor has told them that they need to exercise because an increase in blood pressure. Then, you have white people who come to me for preventive measures. That needs to change. That has been my most difficult challenge, getting to my people before the problem.

For more information, visit www.curtisstarks.com.

Yvette Caslin
Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.



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