Jesse Swoyer, a 2017 PFP Trainer of the Month award winner, epitomizes service to others. Since he began his business, G.H.O.S.T, in 2012, his mission has been to offer fitness not only to those who need it most, but offer it to those who are generally the most underserved. For Jesse, it’s not about simply offering workouts, he is committed to offering fitness and health in a meaningful way. We can all be inspired by Jesse’s selfless mission and how his impact extends throughout families and communities. Here is how Jesse is raising the bar…
Certifications/qualifications: ACE-CPT, ACSM/NCHPAD-CIFT, SilverSneakers FLEX Instructor, American Red Cross FA/CPR/AED Instructor
Studio/Business Name: G.H.O.S.T., LLC- Greatly Helping Others Strength Train
Year started in business: 2012
Awards & Recognition:
2008-Central Penn Business Journal: Exercise Enabled
2008-Exceptional Parent: Equality of Fitness Centers Vol. 38, No. 6
2011-Harrisburg Patriot News: Fitness Center caters programs to those with disabilities
2011-American Training w/ Jesse Swoyer
2013-Center for Independent Living Launches SilverSneaker Program
2013-Carlisle Sentinel: Bridging Gap Between Aging & Disability Population
2014-ABC 27: Heroes Among Us honored by Dunkin Donuts
2014-Dunkin’ Donuts “Thanks to You” Community Service Award
2014-Harrisburg Patriot News: Inspiring Story – Middletown’s Howard DeHart works around disability, stroke to lose more than 100 pounds
2015- Central Penn Parent Health Care Hero Finalist
2015 PFP Trainer of the Year Top 15 Finalists Announced
2015-Jesse Swoyer Recognized by PFP Magazine as a Top 15 Finalist for the National Trainer of the Year Award
2015-CBS 21: Jesse Swoyer “Making a Difference in the Community”
2016-ABC 27 “Good Day PA”: Jesse Swoyer w/ Center for Independent Living of Central PA
2017-Carlisle Sentinel: Local Man Brings Program to Senior Residents
What inspired you to start your business?
This question is a story of its own, but I will do my best with sharing how I capitalized on the emotions of life’s situations and circumstances to propel me into serving others by innovative measures. My place of employment in 2012, the Center for Independent Living of Central PA’s (Living Well Fitness Center) was going through a transitional process with lack of federal/state support of funding for the non-profit fitness center along with my current personal situation, a divorce process - all collided.
My pastor informed me that I had great intellect and that I needed to put it to use for the benefit of others. Sitting in my home on New Year’s Eve 2011, I bet on myself and I decided that I was going to purchase my first piece(s) of equipment so that I could begin to service individuals with disabilities via a community-based in-home and on-site fitness service. About 10 days later, on January 10, 2012 I registered G.H.O.S.T. in the state of Pennsylvania as a limited liability corporation (LLC).
What is one hard lesson you’ve learned in business you believe has been most valuable?
Opportunity versus security. What do I mean? In life, and in this case business, we all have the ability to choose opportunity or security. If we pick security we don’t rock the boat, we except the status quo of our daily grind; we listen to what the world tells us we should do (this includes friends and family); with security comes safety, routine, your peer group liking you. We all know how important these are to our peace of mind.
When you decide to make the choice for opportunity you will receive backlash in the form of animosity, bitterness and envy. You will be questioned and be told you can’t. People will talk about you behind your back, people will want you to fail and more importantly Facebook friends won’t like your pictures.
The hard and real-life lesson I learned was to remove the emotions and feelings and chase my goals, maintain faith, grind, be kind and serve others. I guarantee you that you will have abundance in business and life. Life doesn’t happen to you, it was made for you.
If I asked one of your clients why they choose you over other places/gyms/trainers, what would they likely say?
That I will do what others won’t do to achieve success for them.
Name one or two ways you are trying to raise the bar in the industry?
I established my business model to assist the disability population and the community by various services. Currently I offer an independent contracted FLEX Class through Tivity Health/SilverSneakers where it allows me to take the class into the community, in this case to low income housing at Susquehanna View Apartments in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. The class, that averages 30 plus attendees, is an inclusive strength and cardio exercise class that allows me to provide service to the aging and disability populations while adapting to each member’s needs. It also helps to add in a few community donation drives and social events to keep things moving forward.
My most recent endeavor has been expanding into the meal preparation services that are listed/required of individuals with disability service plans through the Office of Long-Term Living of Pennsylvania. An attendant or personal care aide typically manages this service; I am attempting to change the paradigm by focusing on offering fresh, nutritious and portion-controlled meals called GRIND Meals, instead of microwaveable Banquet Meals. Over the years of assisting those who have experienced an injury and life-changing disability, I have witnessed not only the effects mobility plays on joints, muscles, self-esteem and physical strength, but the secondary comorbidities that injury leads to due to sedentary or nutritional deficiencies. If I can combine the range of motion and strength training in-home with a proper meal plan then quality of life will be enhanced greatly and abundantly.