This weeks XL Trailblazer Of The Week is Jelani Maleeq. Now I opted to do thing a little different because I wanna highlight great people with great storys.
1. How did you become a personal trainer/life coach?
Studying theater and dance predominantly from elementary to college days an entertainment career was always my main focus. I learned quickly that auditions aren’t always landed and there are definitely dry spells so, I started off teaching what I knew between performing arts schools and gyms. I taught mostly dance fitness to adults and taught dance fundamentals like ballet, modern and jazz to kids. As I progressed with the gym circuit I got into a lot more forms of fitness and acquired about 5 different certifications. The gym circuit was convenient because it kept me in shape to maintain the much needed endurance a musical theater actor needed to have and of course leaving for tours or shifting my class schedule around was fairly easy when I would be in show and I knew I had that job to return to if things would dry up again! Becoming a personal trainer and life coach followed a few years later and I’ve been a wellness professional all together for about 10+ years now slowly starting in 2006.
2. Whats been your favorite part of your entrepreneurial journey?
Unchecked depression is real serious. After a terrible injury (breaking my foot and then having to undergo surgery for a severely ruptured appendix 2 weeks after) way back in 2010 The “healing time” was LONG AND BRUTAL and when I came back to work after almost a year things were really different for me. I went from a very fit 225lbs to very unhealthy 310lbs and I felt like I was useless. I wasn’t able to perform in the gym, I wasn’t landing auditions and I felt like love wasn’t happening because I was so unattractive (I didn’t know better then) I went into a terrible depression and ultimately made an attempt on my life that was the realest light in the dark moment I ever experienced… I found myself again after learning black men can benefit from therapy, learning I truly am the master of my own happiness and when I returned with a different purpose and attitude, the messages I got from clients about how I was able to use the new tools I had to get them through their own struggles sky rocketed me into understanding what it is to truly LIVE ON PURPOSE! With that being said I learned to do things with more purpose and my mission as a personal trainer, motivational coach, wellness pro, etc is so much more than “looking better” it’s about being and doing better ON PURPOSE. And I fine tuned the little things I learned along the way and created MoFo lifestyle (Moving Forward LifeStyle) to empower, improve not only physical health but, improve mental health as well and boost one’s confidence the same way I continue to learn myself everyday. I have learned to love this big ole body that I once hated … I am finally doing something that I LOVE!
3. If you could swap styles with one celebrity who would it be and why?
That’s a tough one to be honest, I have come such a long way where I love my own personal style so much that I don’t think I would want to swap with anyone especially since I’ve learned to get over a lot of silly gender specific rules I used to adhere to from not wearing pink cause I’m a guy, being afraid to wear thing too form fitting for fear of judgement or not wanting to be “too flashy” cause if you are shining brightly enough you shouldn’t worry about someone dimming your damn light, I can just throw out a few who I think say fuck the rules … Solange, Jidenna, Erykah and Lil NasX (meanwhile they ALL slim so I can’t fit the shit they wear). Next question, lol!
4. Where do you see yourself in five years and how do you see yourself accomplishing it?
I definitely see myself relocating (preferably ATL but, still not opposed to
Real Quick, I just wanna say:
Life is fleeting, I promise you there will never be a way that you can turn time backward! Explore yourself to find your personal happiness, live on purpose and for BLACK MEN THERAPY doesn’t mean you are mentally ill, it’s a way to fortify your mental stability! Being alive is a special occasion so whatever great idea, cute outfit or bottle you are waiting to open needs to just go ahead and happen!
Live your ENTIRE best life and never forget “a hug can change a life!”
Follow Him On Instagram @jelani_maleeq