Native Columbia resident, Thalas Steele is personal trainer at Steel Athletes as well as the Centennial High School Boys and Girls Track Team Sprint Coach. Steele feels as if everyone has an “inner athlete.” With a list of notables and celebrities, his clientele is proof that his method works. We sat down with Steele to learn more about his success, what it means to “Eat Clean, Train Dirty” and the opening of a second location.
Tell us about yourself?
I am from Columbia, TN born and raised. I moved and lived in Franklin for 10 years during my twenties. My mother and father are from Franklin, so moving to Franklin was like being home away from home for me because all of my extended family lives here.
How did you get started on your journey training everyone from celebrities to students?
I love being an athlete and staying in shape. People would always ask me for advice and although limited in my knowledge I would share what I know. My sister wanted to run her first 5k, so I trained her and my wife. Then she told friends in her congregation and I trained them. Then I realized I must be okay at this so I started training people how to run at my office job and they paid me for it. So I was like wow! I wanted to keep my clients safe and I felt that everyone deserves a knowledgeable trainer regardless of age, status, or income so I became a certified personal trainer. And I just wanted to train everybody.
My supervisor realized my talents as a trainer and she said, “Thalas either you finish your bachelor’s degree and focus on staying here for 10 years to move up in company or pursue your passion in personal training.”
I needed that nudge off the ledge. I took a leap of faith and started personal training full time 6 years ago. And I haven’t looked back since.
Your clients have seen tremendous success, at what point did you have that lightbulb moment and realize you’re a successful trainer?
I feel that success in life is being able to pursue and do what you love. So I was a successful trainer as soon as I pursued training full time. But do I feel as if I am the best trainer out there? That is up to public opinion. I try to be the best but I always take the underdog approach because I never want to be comfortable or get relaxed in my knowledge and training abilities. So I am constantly pushing myself to be better, and I train my clients with that mindset so that their health is a daily effort not a 1 month gimmick.
You have a saying – “Eat Clean, Train Dirty”, can you explain that to us?
Eating clean means eating food that God made. No processed or man made foods. Now I don’t expect everyone to be 100% when eating clean because mac and cheese is awesome! But at least 80% of our diet should clean.
Training dirty is getting the job done by any means necessary by tapping into our primal primitive mind. Who cares if it’s hot in the gym, if the playlist sucks, or you forgot your headphones and favorite workout shoes. I don’t care if it’s outside, at home, on a work trip. Just get the workout done. Too many times we look for the perfect scenario to workout and when it doesn’t happen we just don’t get the workout done. So I try to get people to appreciate the workout first. The workout is the meat and potatoes. And then when the stars align on a beautiful day, you have all Luluemon gear, wireless ear buds, and new Nikes on, you can truly appreciate the perfect scenario. But you have to appreciate the grind and training dirty first to appreciate that perfect day.
How do you feel your techniques and workouts are different than other programs offered?
I help people find their inner athlete by combining athletic based training, functional training, strength training, and cardiovascular training all in one session. I feel that most trainers are okay with one or 2 modes of training but I love combining all 4 modes. So the workouts are never dull. You are always thinking and moving. I can progress and regress any exercise, so no matter your age or health we will find your inner athlete together.
Your business has grown so much that you are offering training in a second location, tell us more about that?
Moving back to my hometown Columbia, I want to inspire the community to be fit. I absolutely love my hometown. I noticed over the past 3 years we have a high rate of obesity from kids to adults without education on how to change into a healthy lifestyle; so Mid South 5 Fitness was created. The motto is “keeping the community fit.” Our goal is to be the center health hub connecting people together to do this as a community.
We are full service private training studio and we have 4 trainers total that are ready to get people healthy. We will start training September 12. You can follow us on Facebook and on our Instagram page for updates.
What are the different offerings you have from one-on-one training for adults and students to group classes?
- I offer 30min and 50min 1 on 1 sessions
- I have group training 3 days a week
- I train youth athletes and teams
My focus with my one on one to my groups and my youth and youth teams that I train is to offer the best service possible and to be economical. Being healthy and fit is for everyone not a certain demographic. So if you can’t afford one on one, then join my group, you won’t find anything cheaper. And if your child needs training but one on one is not in the budget then let’s train the team and break the cost down that way. Yes, I have bills and a family like everyone else, but I love what I do, and I don’t like greediness. I have always told myself that when I start training for just the money, then I will no longer be a personal trainer. You can guarantee that.
Let’s hear about what makes you laugh or smile?
I talk to God every morning. Training has been such a blessing. I thank God everyday that I have this opportunity to train so many different people and groups. That honestly makes me smile. Sometime I feel like I’m cheating life.
Side note – I also love when people mess up a exercise move and they don’t realize they just created a new workout for me to torture them with.
For more information about training and group classes email Thalas at [email protected] or visit their Facebook page. Steel Athletes is located at 1724 Carothers Parkway, Brentwood and Mid South South 5 Fitness is located at 508 North Garden Street, Columbia.
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