Jeremy Manning discusses fitness and wellbeing site Manning Up...
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After a period of turbulence in his life, Jeremy Manning decided to accentuate the positives of his situation and started up Manning Up USA. The ever-growing website is comprised of health and fitness professionals who aim to be a beacon of hope for those who have experienced/are experiencing adversity. Through inspirational stories, useful resources, guidance, and using sports and fitness to gain strength. We spoke to the founder to find out more...
Tell us your reasons for setting up Manning Up and why you feel it was important?
Manning Up is the culmination of my life's work and my personal development. It started in concept when I used martial arts to help overcome a six year crystal meth addiction. After getting clean I went on to win two bronze medals in an international championship and that gave me the confidence to change my career. I became a personal trainer, excelled quickly to an Advanced Specialist and moved to LA to pursue my dreams of living in Hollywood. My addictions followed and instead of meth, I found the bottle and eventually went into AA. After a few months of sobriety my mom passed away from Alzheimer's. That experience changed me completely. At the funeral I felt a sense of her presence like it washed over me and changed my perspective and I started to see myself as she saw me. So I returned home with a sense of passion and self worth I had never had before. I set out to use the skills that I developed as a trainer and reached out to others who were fighting for their lives. I started to develop my own model for personal growth through health and fitness and that's where you could say it all began.
Your website covers both mental and physical health. Do the two go together more than people realise?
You can't really have one without the other. Not at the level we're speaking of and what we strive for in our own lives and through our audience is balance and harmony. There's really no point in looking like a model if you're miserable or suffering with demons. And I've experienced spiritual and mental change through physical action like sports and fitness. So yes, they absolutely go hand in hand to live like a champion.
What kind of impact has working with [Former US marine turned model] Alex Minsky had for the interest in the site?
Well he's a pretty popular guy and for good reason. You know how there are those really smart or really stunning looking people who you can't help but adore because they don't let those things get to their head. Alex is one of those guys. He has a lot of reasons to be above it all and he works hard to stay humble and appreciates the people in his life. He's been through tremendous adversity and not only did he overcome it, he used it to fuel greater success and a sense of balance in his life. He was the image of Manning Up. His involvement played a big part in our development and put a lot of eyes on the achievements we've made over the last 10 months, like raising $75,000 for a charity in our efforts to raise $100,000 this year. On a personal level, Alex keeps me grounded too and helps me stay focused on the mission, which is to improve ourselves a little more everyday and to inspire others to do the same.
Tell us about your charitable events and fundraisers...
Well, we created the Manning Up Challenge in Jan, 2013 which was for two teams to raise $100,000. One was the 'AIDS LifeCycle' team that set out with a goal of $50,000 and achieved a little more than $75,000. Our next team, 'The Manning Up Trailblazers' which Alex is a part of, as well as our other amazing family. We plan to raise $50,000 and run a 13.2 mile trail run in Hawaii in November to benefit Team 2 'End AIDS'. We've also raised money through merchandise sales for 'The Wounded Warrior Project' and 'The American Cancer Society' and our ultimate goal is to have teams in charity events across the country raising money for various charities every year.
What message are you hoping to send through Manning Up?
That we are ultimately in control of our own lives. The choices we make and actions we take define the state and condition of our well being. We can sit around blaming our misfortune, or society or whatever we want to blame to stay in our comfort zone or we can man up and take action and change our lives for the better. Everyone has it in them to be their own champion. All it takes is a plan, being active in that plan and owning it to yourself and doing whatever it takes to get what you want out of life. Manning Up is about finding the willingness to push past limitations by first recognising that we all have something holding us back. I mean think about it, we fight against gravity every time we stand up, our existence is a constant state of controlled chaos, but we get to create order and process and live like the hunters and warriors we were born to be.
Get involved, share your story and find out more information at the Manning Up Facebook Page or at Manning Up Website.
You can read more about Alex Minsky in this month’s issue of GT, available digitally for your smartphone, tablet, computer, Kindle and more here.
Words: Lee Dalloway (@Leeroydalvin).