A solid body of work

Bry­an Thomas posed with fit­ness le­gend Jack LaLanne dur­ing a meet­ing about four years ago.

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 res­ult­strain­er@ya­hoo.com.

You can reach at cmeyer@bsmphilly.com.

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