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Over the past seven years, Prince Brathwaite has transitioned from personal trainer to fitness entrepreneur, opening up his own gym, Trooper Fitness, in New York City. Ironically, he doesn’t even enjoy working out.
This doesn’t matter, because in Brathwaite’s eyes, his line of work is about more than just physical fitness.
“I’m in love with helping people reach their goals,” says the 31-year-old. “I view myself as a motivator and in some ways a life coach. When I’m pushing somebody through a workout, I’m helping push them through life.”
And he’s been doing so since beginning his career as a trainer at New York Sports Club in 2007, before deciding to teach the often misunderstood group fitness.
“In the past, [group fitness] was a female-dominated way of exercising,” says Brathwaite. “But as fitness has grown as an industry, you now find that it’s not just aerobics anymore.”
Brathwaite noticed this shift at the same time that obstacle course racing began growing in popularity. Realizing that this was an untapped market, the Brooklyn native started outdoor boot camp to train newbies for upcoming races. The class became so popular that, last November, Brathwaite expanded by opening Trooper Fitness, in Manhattan.
The midtown gym offers classes from strength training to metabolic conditioning to, of course, the boot camp that started it all. Not everyone will know which class is right for them, which is why Trooper provides a roadmap based on a member’s specific goals.
“Our group exercise program actually reflects individualism in the sense that you have a plan, as opposed to just jumping around taking classes because your friend is doing it,” says Brathwaite.
As a huge proponent of goals, Brathwaite sets his own. He flipped the script by competing at the NPC Brooklyn Grand Prix last October.
“I’m constantly coaching other people, dealing with other people’s wants and needs,” he explains. “This is something that gave me new fire, invigorating me to push my limits beyond just maintenance.”
Leading up to his first competition, in which he competed in all three categories—Physique, Classic Physique, and Bodybuilding—Brathwaite focused heavily on legs because leg size plays a major factor in how a competitor places. But the goal is to do more than simply do well—it’s to win.
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His get-it-done attitude and detailed training were enough to win his class in the Classic Physique division, qualifying him for nationals in Miami on Nov. 17. A win would earn Prince his pro card—he has two years to get it— though he’s made the decision to put it off and work on his physique.
“Everyone at nationals is a winner, and they’re going to look like ones onstage, so I want to make sure I come in on point,” Brathwaite explains. “I want to add five to 10 pounds of muscle to my back and hamstrings.”
Prince’s nutrition is dialed in, keeping him in single-digit body fat year-round. He sticks to whole foods—eggs, oatmeal, rice, veggies, and peanut butter sandwiches—fitting in meals between meetings, clients, and his own training sessions, before hitting the hay at midnight.
“My only regret with my training program is that I’m not getting as much sleep as I’d like, waking up around 5:30 or 6 a.m. for work,” says Brathwaite.
Early mornings, late nights, lots of training, which he doesn’t even like. Prince sounds like a real trouper.
Follow Brathwaite on Instagram at @trooperprince.