Bryan Thomas is finding that he can fashion a nice career by preaching fitness and nutrition.
As a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, certified nutritionist and fitness model, Bryan Thomas is sought for his advice on a daily basis. He, in turn, follows the teachings of a fitness legend, someone whom he had the opportunity to meet.
Thomas, a 2001 graduate of Father Judge High School, where he played football, met Jack LaLanne at the 2007 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic in Columbus, Ohio, and found him to be a down-to-earth guy who put Thomas and his friends at ease.
“We walked right up to him and we started talking to him. He’s talking to me like he’s known me twenty years,” Thomas recalled, describing the meeting as “an event and experience that changed my life!”
LaLanne, a bodybuilder and nutritional expert, died earlier this year, on Jan. 23, at 96. As something of a pioneer in the fitness field, LaLanne was only 21 when he opened a gym in Oakland, Calif., in 1936. His contributions included designing the first leg-extension machines, and his TV program, The Jack LaLanne Show, brought exercise into people’s homes during a 34-year run that ended in 1985, the longest of any exercise program on television.
Thomas learned about LaLanne from his grandfather, Vince Kline, 87, a bodybuilder and native of Levittown. He has always appreciated his grandfather’s advice, which he puts to use every day, and sees a physical resemblance to him.
“I’m similar genetically to my grandfather — same abs, same legs. He was just so ahead of his time,” Thomas said. “His basis was heavy weight training, lots of protein and lots of fruits and vegetables. I still talk to him about his nutrition.”
Those who like to eat a cookie or two, or a little dessert, need not lose heart. Thomas, a fan of Lucky Charms cereal as a boy, has learned how to fit sweets onto the menu in moderation, and not as a late-night snack.
“The best time is after a weight-training session,” he said.
As for Lucky Charms cereal, it too has its place. “Lucky Charms after a weight-training session is OK in my book, as the body can use the sugar,” he said.
Thomas remembers that his interest in exercise was encouraged in his Mayfair home. “From an early age,” he said, “I used to do push-ups and sit-ups. I used to always like to show my mom what I could do.”
His elementary education came at St. Matthew School. He looks back on his years at Father Judge High School as a special time and a positive influence.
“I can say that I would not be the person I am today without attending such an amazing school,” Thomas said.
“She worked very hard, long hours to pay the monthly tuition — something I will never forget. I am very proud to say that I am a ‘Judge guy,’” said Thomas, who ran in the Father Judge 5K Crusader Classic on Oct. 2 and finished with a time of 23 minutes and 38 seconds.
Thomas also has a sister and two brothers. Lindsay, a graduate of St. Hubert High School, is completing nursing school. His brother Brad is a Penn State student, while Brett is a U.S. Marine who did a combat tour in Afghanistan.
From the time his father, Bill, bought him his first gym membership when he was 13, Thomas put his workouts to constructive use over the years and worked hard to add muscle before starting his fitness modeling career four years ago. He has never used steroids, and never will, he stressed.
He was named “Mr. Exercise” in the January 2008 issue of the fitness magazine Exercise for Men Only. His modeling credits include this month’s issue of the magazine, as well as Cosmopolitan and Muscle & Fitness, among others.
Thomas works as a personal trainer at Extreme Fitness in Fairless Hills. He has been a trainer for seven years, and he also works with clients who have physical disabilities, he said.
He is pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in organizational leadership at Penn State’s Abington campus. “No matter what career path I would want to take,” he said, “I would always want to keep personal training.” ••
For info on personal training, contact Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.