Day 35 - Ashton (3rd person I approached)
February 04, 2014 - I saw Ashton standing outside an office building just outside the downtown core. I asked if he’d talked to me, and he told me he would, but that he didn’t have a lot of time. “I’m waiting for a client to meet me, I’m a Personal Trainer, and we’re heading off to do a workout.” Ashton is a big man, and it’s clear he’s very fit.
He was born and raised in Mississauga, Ontario, and then moved to Vancouver with his family. I asked Ashton how he got into fitness, and personal training. “I’ve always been into sports. My nickname, and I’m not joking, even when I was kid, people have always called me The Genetic Freak. It’s just the way I’m made.” His father is Jamaican and his mother is Ukrainian, “I’ve got the best of both worlds right there.” He has one brother, who is younger, and also into body building and fitness, “He’s a Genetic Freak as well, seriously.” I asked Ashton if his parents were into fitness, and if that’s where the interest came from. “Yeah, not in the same way as my brother and I are into it. They’re active though.” I suggested that maybe he and his brother get their size and strength from their father, and Ashton immediately tells me “No way, that comes from my mother, she’s very strong, and definitely stronger than my Dad!”
Both brothers are ‘natural body builders’ and Ashton explains that means “no hormones, no steroids, all natural. Good diet and good clean food, exercise and the gym. All real and all natural. Just hard work is what it is.” When I ask Ashton if he makes a living as a personal trainer, he gestures towards a vehicle parked across the street, “See that over there, that’s my car, the Corvette. Yeah, I’ve got a good life doing this.”
Using the internet and word of mouth is how Ashton has managed to build a clientele that he trains regularly. As we’re talking, his client arrives, and I’ve time for a couple more quick questions as Ashton asks the man if he could wait a minute. “My favourite exercise, hmm. That would have to be lifting weights. Dead lifts.” Of course I want to know how much he can lift and when he tells me “700 pounds,“ I’m in awe. “But that’s almost three times your weight!” “Yeah, that’s right, that’s the definition of powerlifting, when you can lift three times your own weight.” As for his least favourite, “My least favourite exercise, that would have to be long-distance running,” and when I ask why he says “6’3” and 250 pounds isn’t built for endurance, I just don’t do that.” #notastranger