Stranger 2, Day 2 – Meet Manny, the “Fitness Master”

Stranger 2, Day 2 - Meet Manny

A little anxious today for my second Stranger having slept on the idea more. So, I quickly met today’s Stranger at the gym — his name is Manny, 25. He was actually the third person I asked today having been rejected for the photo the first go, and then, “wanted to think about it” the second go. Manny, though apprehensive at first, was all for connecting once I explained to him the Journey of 100 Strangers, 100 Days. So let me share with you Manny.

Manny, 25

What do you do?

“Personal trainer director… manage the trainers”… also known as “The Fitness Master”.

What are your passions? Any dreams? What?

It’d be surprising after opening our interview if Manny said anything other than fitness. So true to his moniker, Manny is passionate about fitness, sports, and football. What he particularly enjoys about fitness and sports is “watching it, doing it, studying it, analyzing it… breaking down the pros and cons… basically how I feel about it”.

I could tell for Manny, he wasn’t just an ordinary enthusiast about fitness, especially football, he was truly passionate about it. He loved studying, for example, the rules and how the game of football has changed citing how lenient sports were back in the day. Today, there are more rules to protect players around injuries. He also speaks about the many ways to analyze sports today and ability to dissect players and games — “game is a lot faster… more technology added”.

What is your biggest regret?

“Not putting my 110% effort into the game itself… how to take life more seriously and learn as much as possible and apply it.” This was a recurring theme for Manny — being able to live life, learn, and continue to apply and progress.

Manny shares how he takes home everything he has learned throughout the day. For him, he is passionate about fitness citing, “it’s your life”. He admits he does not everything about fitness, even as the Master, but reads about fitness whenever possible and applies his learning.

What do you want to be known for?

“Hard worker and over-achiever… the BOSS!” Manny wants to be well-respected man/ person.

Any great life lessons you wish to share?

“Not to give up… not every answer is going to be a ‘yes’. Overcome adversity no matter how tough.”

He continues, “react fast,” having studied successful individuals, and finding that those who were successful were quick to react (to good events and bad).

What’s your greatest achievement?

This was one of my favorite parts of my conversation with Manny — “making it this far”. This revelation highlighted to me his appreciation for the hardwork, the goods, the bads, and the obstacles he’s overcome to reach this point in his life. For Manny, I sensed he was content and was living in the present. He wasn’t killing himself to do more or less. Instead, he was appreciative of the present and of what he’s achieved… so far.

Some of the highlights Manny shared included: obtaining his business management degree (more on this in a moment), being a star track athlete in high school and college, earning All-American honors while playing football at Benedict College, and for teaching others.

What was your life-defining moment?

“Graduated from college, and had two contracts to play football in Germany”, but he ended up not going. He had a choice: stay and get a degree, or go play in Germany.

Manny realized that with a degree, nobody could take that away. Playing football, however, he could have been injured. He could have been “injured for life”. Manny realized the value of an education that would enable him to do things beyond the field.

Any last thoughts? Something you want to share?

“Find out what you want to do and go after it”. Manny realizes sometimes there are shortcuts or “maybe easy, quick routes” and there are those are “more fortunate”, however, he wants to hammer home the importance of going after it — whatever it is.

After the handshake.

Speaking to someone out of the blue for an interview can be odd. Manny does this often with similar questions for his clients. However, it was good to be the interviewer in this case. Manny, like me, also shares great passion for fitness and a never-ending curiosity and zest for learning.

What I also enjoyed about learning about Manny was, again, his answer to his greatest achievement — “making it this far”. It really highlights his appreciation for all that he’s achieved thus far. There was no specific event in his life. Instead, it was the culmination of life to this very moment.

Also, I actually took two photos of Manny including one where he was much more stoic. The picture used for this post was actually more of a candid shot as he was laughing at a friend of his behind me. What was great was after taking a look at the serious picture and the one used for this post, Manny wanted the one used. There’s something really great here in promoting his personality and his authenticity.

Meet Manny. No longer a Stranger.

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