‘Begin With the End in Mind': Trainer on Fitness, Wellness

Dallas trainer helps star athletes, young kids improve their lives

NBCUniversal, Inc.

For AJ Billings, "mind over matter" is more than a catchphrase. It is an absolute commitment to how one should lead a purpose-driven life.

“A healthy lifestyle begins with a decision, right? So, if you would like to change your lifestyle in any way then I encourage everyone to begin with your mind,” said Billings, General Manager and Performance Coach at Sanders Fit Performance Center in Dallas.

Billings has dedicated his life to healthy living and helping others achieve their goals. His Instagram feed is filled with action photos of his work training professional athletes, including familiar and famous faces like Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, as well as many examples of Billings’ own rigorous workout routines.

But a deeper dive into his account finds multiple instances of Billings spreading his message to far younger faces for free, through his work with the Community Youth Development program, in partnership with the University of North Texas at Dallas.

Billings knows the statistics. Himself a product of a low-income southern Dallas neighborhood, Billings knows the many challenges kids and families face. And he knows the realities of being Black in America, including rates of heart disease and high blood pressure that far exceed the rest of the population.

That is why Billings endorses a commitment to proper diet and to goal setting that includes mentorship and an understanding that you will never get where you want to go if you don’t commit to each small step along the way.

“I always say, ‘It is not about what you are doing, but it is about what you are becoming,’” Billings said. “But what you are doing is determining who you become. So on a day-to-day basis, it could be anything. If you want to be a doctor obviously you have to go to school for six years, six or more years. And obviously [other] people don’t see the one, to two, to three years that you are doing, you are grinding, you are stuck in that grind to get to that endpoint. I always tell my guys, ‘Begin with the end in mind.’”

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