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Extraordinary People: New-found friendship built on getting healthy

Extraordinary People

An unlikely duo is gaining attention online and motivating others to get healthy. 

A personal trainer is putting his expertise to use in the community, helping a young man he just happened to meet. 

When Julius Davis opened Fountain of Youth Fitness in June, he noticed a young man in his 20’s struggling to walk the 75 steps to a nearby bus stop.  Davis decided that no matter the cost, he wanted to help him live.

“Physically it has always been hard because I’ve been fat my whole life basically,” 26-year-old Aaron Cooper said.

At 437 lbs., simple tasks were almost impossible for Cooper. 

“I wanted to help him because he was breathing hard, you could see him struggling,” Davis said. “He couldn’t make it to the bus stop. So I asked him to come in. He didn’t want to work out and said he couldn’t afford it. I said, ‘I’ll train you for free’.”

“I’m like ‘Why? Why would this guy who I barely know help me?’,” Cooper said. “In this world. people are so selfish that it’s hard to believe that he’d want to help me because I didn’t really know him back then.”

These days, Cooper thinks of Davis as more of a friend than a trainer. They agreed to just take this weight loss journey one day at a time. 

“(I was) skeptical at first because I didn’t think it was going to work,” Cooper said. “I tried several things and none of them ever worked out. I tried the YMCA. I tried doing it by myself, my family even tried to step in and help and it never worked because I couldn’t commit to it.”

“I’m a little in disbelief because I can’t believe I’m actually recovering better and lost a little bit of weight,” Cooper said. 

“My goal was 100 lbs., but I know once he gets 100 lbs., results are addictive,” Davis said. “Once he starts to see he’s getting better, he’s going to keep going, and that’s my satisfaction right there.”

Cooper lost more than 20 pounds in the first month, and is waiting for more visible results before he gets back on the scale again. But Davis has been documenting the journey on Facebook, helping motivate others. 

“A lot of people started watching it,” said Davis. “Actually, we’ve picked up clients because they were like ‘if he can get out and work, what’s my excuse?'”

Cooper’s answer is that there isn’t an excuse. He’s just focused on continuing to get better, with Davis motivating him every step of the way.

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