In his work as a personal trainer, John Young has devoted himself to improving the health of others. For years, he has encouraged clients to push their limits, to be better people inside and out.In May, Young was one of 34 recipients of The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership Award. The honor is given annually to those in the U.S. who promote healthy lifestyles in their communities.“I never worked, pushed and encouraged people expecting a reward, but it was certainly humbling to get it,” Young said. At 77 years old, Young is not slowing down.A resident of Cabarrus County just over the line from Mecklenburg near Midland, Mint Hill and Harrisburg, Young is an exercise enthusiast. He has trained hundreds in weightlifting and cardio. He said his age has never gotten in the way of his work; rather, it serves as motivation for those he trains. “It comes naturally to me to encourage people,” Young said. “The most rewarding part is seeing people achieve the results.”“They appreciate someone my age has my muscle definition, strength and ability.”While Young said his body is much smaller than it used to be, he is still able to perform a dozen chin-ups and can outperform all his clients in core exercises. Those clients range from high school athletes training for varsity sports to adults wanting to shed extra pounds.Young’s fitness career began in high school, when he ran track. He competed in the mile run against renowned athlete Jim Beatty, who later went on to set a world record as the first man to run an indoor mile in under four minutes. The two remain lifelong friends.After high school, Young became interested in weightlifting, he said, and put on 30 pounds of muscle in a few years. At his peak, Young said, he could lift a 1954 Chevrolet far enough that its front tires were clear of the ground.He wanted to spread his passion for exercise to others, so he turned his church recreation center into a family gym, gathering equipment and holding classes. Young also led one-on-one training sessions, many for free, under a carport at his house.Young’s exercise clientele grew along with his faith. He’s been a member of Hickory Grove Baptist Church for 43 years, and said his relationship with God is the most important influence on his training career. Young became a certified personal trainer in 1999. After a 30-year career at AT&T, he retired and now spends a lot of time training people in his home gym. A sign made by Young’s son reads, “A Lifetime of Fitness, Faith, Family and Friends.” It hangs in the home gym above a collage of family photos, many featuring a younger Young flexing his muscles. “Most of the world hates exercise. … but for me, it’s the highlight of my day,” he said.
Friday, Jul. 12, 2013
Veteran trainer and southwestern Cabarrus County resident honored with national leadership award
Learn more: Want a training session with John Young? Call 704-455-3459.
Crampton: 704-358-5112; Twitter: @liz_crampton
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