#payitforwardproject Beast Fit Nation

New take on paying it forward

Thursday, May 16, 2013 HALFSTACK MAGAZINE

I do not know about you, but in the wake of tragedies such as The Sandy Hook Massacre, The Boston Bombing, and what just happened in New Orleans over Mother’s Day weekend, I am sometimes left with the feeling that there is just no hope left.  I like to live by the mantra that “people are inherently good.”  However, when I watch the news and it is just one story after another about the state of disrepair in this world, I cannot help but question if my mantra actually holds any truth. 

The thing is, despite those moments in life when we all feel defeated, what it really comes down to is perspective.  Now this is not an actual statistic of any kind but it does provide some “food for thought.”  There are some seven billion people in the world, so for every one person that is “bad,” there has to be some several hundred (if not thousands), people that are a “good.”  And it is those little things that help restore my faith in humanity as I go through each and every day. 

Well, I was lucky enough to meet one such individual by the name of Sergio Jones.  A resident of Portland, Oregon, Sergio has always had a passion for athletics and fitness.  And in his desire to want to end the fight against obesity, he came up with a concept unlike anything I have ever heard of. 

The #payitforwardproject.  Through this project, he has opened up the nation’s very first “free” fitness club called Beast Fit Nation.   So what exactly is the #payitforwardproject, you ask?  In an effort to fight the ever-growing obesity problem in this country, he is bringing awareness to his movement through random acts of kindness.  His gym members are not required to pay a membership fee of any monetary kind, and the gym is open to anyone who walks through the doors; however, the club members are asked to “pay it forward” to help expand their reach within the community.  Compliment a complete stranger, or pay for the groceries of the person standing behind you at the grocery store checkout line are just a couple of examples of the kinds of acts attributed to the members of Beast Fit Nation and the #payitforwardproject movement. 

Since the gym’s inception in March of 2012, Beast Fit Nation has seen 2500 people walk through their doors with 23 new members in the last week alone.  And you might question how a free fitness club could possibly sustain itself, and it is certainly no easy feat.  However, not only do the club members pay it forward on their own time but the gym hosts 24 volunteer events per year, including a 5000 meter race where the organization was able to raise $400 for a local breast cancer awareness foundation.  Sponsors and investors such as Muscle Milk and Palm Beach Tan (including several others), are eager to tie their names to an organization that is growing by leaps and bounds.  Making a difference and leaving an imprint in the lives of those who need it while promoting a healthy lifestyle is Sergio’s dream and mission. 

When I heard Sergio’s story it warmed my heart because honestly, I feel I can speak on behalf of the majority of individuals, that in the hustle and bustle of daily life, we take for granted the little things that may mean the world to someone less fortunate.  A hug or a smile or even a $3.00 cup of coffee can be all it takes to turn someone’s entire day around.  And the team here at Halfstack feel privileged to be able to bring awareness to an individual’s dream of making a difference.  

Check out Sergio’s gym if you are ever in the Portland area and definitely check him out on all the social networks. 

Instagram – @mrbeastfitnation
Twitter – Beast Fit Nation
Facebook - Beast Fit Nation

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