Posted on March 02 2018
“Ring, Ring, Ring.” It’s 5 a.m. and Jeremy Bethea is reaching across his bed to turn off his alarm clock.
The 30-year-old certified personal trainer of four years is always awake before dawn. He’s preparing to meet with his first client of the day in less than an hour.
Bethea believes his passion to change people’s lives for the better can’t wait on anyone or anything. “I have to make sure that every minute of every day is spent productively.”
Bethea lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, a lush coastal city about 75 miles north of the sprawling mecca of Miami.
His childhood is rooted in West Palm Beach, growing up in the community that is currently home to approximately 100,000 people. “I love it here, the sun, the water, the people, this is home, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
As someone who has not always walked a straight and narrow path, Bethea has overcame personal obstacles that continued to lead him down a winding, endless and bumping road of run-ins with the law.
“I went to prison for the first time when I was 19 and was in and out of the system for a long time. I had jobs here and there, but I kept going back to the streets where I was supplying my income and fighting.”
Bethea’s first stint behind bars lasted 2 ½ years. He said he lost his eligibility for early release within his first two months of his sentence because he constantly fought other inmates, forcing guards to repeatedly send him to solitary confinement.
While separated from the general population, Bethea was able to think about his actions. “I finally just told myself ‘I can’t keep coming back to solitary confinement’ and I needed to stop fighting so much.”
As an alternative to fighting and to help past the time he spent in prison, Bethea decided to start working out. At first, his workouts included lots of pushups and calisthenics. “I was doing 1,500 pushups a day, they were so easy … I remember when I could do 500 of them in just 45 minutes.”
He eventually began to lift weights and after admiring his workouts and how big he had become, other inmates begin to lift weights with him.
With a newly found passion of lifting weights, Bethea successfully reached the end of his sentence in 2008 and was released.
Unfortunately his sigh of relief was short lived. Bethea served nearly two more years for getting into a fight with two police officers. He underwent a five-day jury trial and realized that this would be his last run-in with the law. “During that time I saw one of my friends receive a life sentence and I knew this life of crime wasn’t who I truly was. I had to turn my life around.”
When Bethea was released after serving his second prison term, he had nothing to his name and was homeless.
He was able to find a job on Craigslist, working for a business that did marina upholstery work. Bethea stayed in that job for a year. “It gave me hope and a purpose in life, especially when the streets were all that I knew.”
Bethea’s faith was soon tested as the business owner sold the operation, putting him out of a job. He said he prayed about his situation and decided to go back to school to become a certified medical assistant.
School was a way for him to occupy his time as he figured out where he was supposed to be in life. While in school his urge to fight returned, but not like before. “Since I always liked to fight I decided to train to become a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter. This way I wouldn’t be me in the streets fighting, I would be part of a legal and organized sport.”
Throughout the school year Bethea studied his academics, trained in the cage and worked as a bouncer to make ends meet. Each day while he was in school his desire to land a fight grew stronger. Following his graduation, he landed an externship with a doctor’s office and got a phone call the next day notifying him of his qualification to finally enter the cage for a match. “God humbled me … he kept me on track … and answered my prayers.”
His resume as a professional MMA fighter includes four wins. “When I’m in the cage and the door shuts, it’s on. When the bell rings, it’s go time. I can’t lie, I’m nervous and my head is spinning … all of the months of training go out the window. This is the real thing.”
He hasn’t competed in any matches over the past year and plans to resume training in hopes of making it to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
But before he starts training again, he wants to grow his personal training business. “I want to eventually have a team of trainers who share the same goal of helping people, not for the money, but because it’s the right thing to do.”
Bethea uses his unbridled past as a tool to motivate others to be their best selves and to also reach their health and fitness goals. “My objective is to help any and everyone, especially my clients. I am available around the clock to help them deal with whatever issues they may be going through. In my perspective, trainers are therapists who mentally challenge their clients’ minds.”
When Bethea isn’t in the cage, or training clients, he is working to get stronger. He recently completed in a power lifting competition where he received a first place award in two categories. His next power lifting competition is scheduled for January 2017.
Bethea is also an avid motorcyclist who just enjoys the open road.
If you’re looking to get healthy and fit, Jeremy is always taking on new clients.
You can reach him on his social media accounts or via his email address:
- Instagram, @Getbusyjay
- Facebook, Jeremy Bethea