Meet a Health Hero: Jeffrey Brous

Read more about Horsham Athletic Club's Jeffrey Brous, a semi-finalist in our 2013 Health Hero Challenge!

>> You can vote for Jeffrey on our Facebook page September 24-30. Mark your calendar!

Name: Jeffrey Brous

Occupation: Personal Trainer at Horsham Athletic Club

Who or what motivates you to be healthy?
I have two primary sources of motivation: first there is myself. I like to be my primary motivator so when I mess up or slip-up, I am the only one I can hold accountable. The second source of motivation is chef/professor Adam Sacks at Johnson & Wales University. While it’s been years since we’ve connected, his lessons continue to motivate me. In fact, the cornerstone of what he shared is the foundation of what I teach today: FLY- First Love Yourself.

Describe a health or fitness related turning point in your life.
The biggest “turning point” or “a-ha” moment, as I have told to many students, was when I came out of the closet. The emotional pressure and strain was absolutely the worst. Instead of finding healthful solutions to manage the stress, I turned to eating. And I ate until I was over 400 pounds. I came out of the closet my first year of college, and it was in those moments that I finally understood that I have control over what I do. Ever since them, I have taken control and been in control. This doesn’t mean that I have been perfect the entire time; no one person is perfect. It’s not about how you fall. It’s about how you choose to get up and move forward that counts.

What “policy” would you institute to make Greater Philadelphia a healthier region?
Instating a single policy may or may not help make the Greater Philadelphia area healthier. However, one thing that sticks out is making personal trainers more accessible and affordable to everyone. Working with community centers, playgrounds and parks, local municipalities can help subsidize physical fitness to all folks in their communities. The funds raised (<$5/person per class) from the weekly class would help remunerate trainers, but also to help fund continued growth to the program and allow folks to have access to structured activity and motivators to help them stay focused and on track.

What’s the most important part of your health or fitness regimen?
There is not one single thing I do that is more important than the other. It would be akin to asking a parent which of their children is their favorite, rather than looking at the family as a whole. This is how I approach my fitness regimen. It includes cardiovascular training, strength training, lifestyle activity, structured activity, unstructured activity, yoga, meditation, daily stretching, good eating and (some) bad eating, too. But of those things, I am most particular my eating. 85/15 is what I practice and what I teach: 85 percent of the time I try to make the best food choices possible, while the other 15 percent I enjoy whatever I want. This way I never feel deprived.

What is your number one piece of health related advice?
First love yourself, or I say be FLY. I have personally found that when we love ourselves in each moment, we work those moments harder. From a yogic frame of mind this would translate as “being present.” We all have faults, flaws and things we want to make better or change, and that is healthy. Instead of judging ourselves on what we can’t do, spend that energy loving yourself and what you can do—and do it.