Everyone has something that motivates them to succeed; to be better. For some people it happens naturally and for others, it takes a little more soul searching to find what truly ignites their motivation. For me, it happened without any second guessing. My motivation came from the gift that Shylynn and I received on June 26, 2017 when my son, Ezekiel Jones, was born. 

My life changed in so many ways on that day, and all for the better. The biggest, though, was that I went from a man to a father, and as a result my motivation became providing my son with the most amazing life possible; by surrounding him with people who would support him and love him just as much as we did. With that, one of the things that Shylynn and I wanted were godparents for Zeke. Without a doubt, we both knew exactly who would be the perfect people to take on this role. We knew these two people would have a great relationship with Zeke. Tim and Jess were going to be Zeke’s godparents! Creating a supportive circle of friends and family for my son was extremely important to me, and there was never a doubt in my mind that some of those people would come from my “gym family” at Elite Custom Fitness. The decision to make Tim and Jess godparents really brought all of us closer and really solidified the idea that friends truly can be like family.

That was just the beginning, though, and the connection between Zeke and the gym has only continued to get stronger as he has grown over these last six months. Considering the gym and training is not only my livelihood but something I am extremely passionate about, there was no doubt in my mind that Zeke would spend time there with me whenever possible. I wanted him to be as much a part of Elite Custom Fitness as I am! As a first time parent, though, there are many fears that come with raising a newborn… especially out in the “real world”. So once we were able to face our fears of taking Zeke outside of the comfort of our home for some mini-adventures, his first stop had to be the gym. Naturally, we didn’t know how he was going to react so we were hesitant to take him, but just like a natural member of ECF, we adjust, adapt, and overcome… so he quickly got used to the place. I mean, he did become one of the first babies that did not cry the first time Tim held him, which is a huge feat! I am still not sure if it was because Zeke is as tough as his father or if Tim was just giving off that “godfatherly love”. Regardless, I could tell from the beginning that Zeke was going to love the gym just as much as I do!

Since that first trip to the gym, Zeke continues to love the gym each time he visits. He is constantly smiling, attentive, and even getting a little lift in with his 3 once dumbbell rattle every once in awhile. We bring him to our events, introduce him to clients, and let him hang out in the gym… and honestly, when he is there, he brings such a positive vibe into the space. People can’t help but smile when they are around him! (But can you blame them?!)

That’s the thing about it, though… not only does he have a profound impact on the people who meet him and spend time with him, but he has impacted my life in so many ways in his first few months of life. He pushes me to be a better person and to be a great father by simply looking into my eyes and smiling. Even as I train for my upcoming powerlifting meets with some of my awesome gym partners, I think about Zeke. I think about being the “cool, strong dad” that he can look up to as he gets older. There is no greater feeling than accomplishing something you worked so hard to do, especially when behind it all, there is someone/something motivating you and keeping you focused. Zeke is that someone for me. It’s a great feeling lifting and seeing him in the stands at a competition… it is indescribable. He truly is a blessing to not only me, but our families and our friends. I am excited to continue to progress as a lifter, a trainer, and especially a father, and I know that Zeke will be the driving force behind all of that.

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