In 2008, Barack Obama was elected the first African American President of the United States. President Barack Obama marked a period of significant change in this country from healthcare to international affairs. 2008 also marked a year which Jamaal Miller saw some of his close family members pass away from health issues like diabetes, respiratory issues and other diseases as a result of poor lifetime health decisions. This was a time Jamaal realized as an opportunity to change the course of his life by dedicating time and energy to improving his quality of life through fitness and nutrition.
Fast forward 8 years and we as a country will be facing another year of significant change with an upcoming election. The world of fitness also faces a turning point from Jamaal’s perspective. He has been committed for the past 8 years to making fitness fun and healthy lifestyle changes an enjoyable experience for as many people as he can. Jamaal’s philosophy is that healthy eating should not be equated to “eating like a rabbit” nor should people looking to get in shape live by the “no pain, no gain” mantra that is unfortunately standard in gyms across the country today.
Small Business: Fitness Destinations
Year of Inception: 2014
History: After his first year attending Western Carolina University, Jamaal started working at the fitness center on campus. He began by shadowing personal trainers in the gym and then decided shortly there after to pursue his own PT certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
While at WCU, Jamaal majored in Nutrition and Dietetics, a slightly different path taken traditionally by others pursuing careers in fitness. He began his training endeavors with high school football and basketball athletes from Swain High School through his junior year. After success with that group, Jamaal was confident his future in fitness was guaranteed.
Challenges: Upon graduation, Jamaal spent a period searching for an opportunity at a large gym while facing an uncertain job market in 2011. Once hired at Gold’s Gym and Lifetime Fitness, he found that being micromanaged and dealing with other PT’s trying to steal his clients was not conducive for the type of growth he wanted for his career. This lead to Jamaal starting Fitness Destination.
He began by training his mother who experienced a tremendous amount of weight loss and shared the word that her son was offering to train others in exchange for their critique of his training style and techniques. He would travel to different cities and hold memberships at different gyms just so he was able to meet clients where they were. But the wear and tear on Jamaal’s car, the costly maintenance of memberships at various gyms and still having to pay his own personal expenses really wore on his bottom line. This definitely didn’t resemble the lucrative financial opportunity that initially drew Jamaal into the fitness industry.
Current Situation: After trial and error with meeting clients where they are, Jamaal decided to have clients come to where he was. He began working with clients at the gym that his apartment complex offered and things began to turn around financially. He offers high intensity bootcamp style classes of 7 to 20 people as well as one on one training for those looking for more personal interaction.
Upcoming Plans: After a period of trial and error and spending so much in operations, once moving away from the mobile training business structure, Jamaal was able to save up for bigger investments. One of the biggest investments includes opening his own gym here in Charlotte on December 17, 2016. He also has plans to open locations in Durham (NC) and Wilmington (NC) in the near future, then on to scaling the east coast with his Fitness Destination Brand.
Eventually, Jamaal sees himself playing a more managerial role once his company expands through the east coast. He wants to hire certified personal trainers that share his enthusiasm for encouraging positive lifestyle changes. So if you have any fitness or nutrition needs, definitely get in contact with Jamaal. The results people see working with him truly are testament to how passionate he is for fitness and nutrition.