What's up everyone! It's Manny Stackks, the one and only EP for our amazing show. Continuing on with my round of guests featuring Black KANGS, I sat down with an impressive young blood out of Charlotte. He is the man behind Alpha Fitness, Kevin Willis, aka COACH KEV.
Moving by Mistake
Right off the bat, Kevin and I connected on multiple levels. The first one, is being all too familiar with the concept of accomplishing whatever we put our mind to, something us up-north boys had instilled in us from a young age. While I left New York over 15 years ago, Kevin made the move down south from New Jersey just three years ago. Since then he has traveled a unique path to now establishing a business with the goal of achieving financial freedom and generational wealth for his family. Besides that, Kevin remembers loving to play sports, being active, and what he could just describe as "picking up really heavy stuff." Boys will be boys right?
Kevin's plans were not always set in stone. Being a certified personal trainer, owning his own training brand- none of this was the original goal. Kevin explained that he "moved to Charlotte by mistake," chuckling as he knows that sounded crazy.
How does someone move by mistake?
Well, for an up and coming student athlete on his way to JUCO, it was actually a real possibility. After some financial aid mishaps, Kevin was stuck in Charlotte, NC where he made a pit stop visiting his father, before he was set to play football in a school in Utah. After realizing that everyone was up to the same ol' song in Jersey, Kevin decided to stay in Charlotte and try something new. After some attempts at community college and menial jobs, Kevin was eventually greeted by his inevitable "ah-hah" moment.
Taking the Leap
Kevin's moment of clarity wasn't at some legendary party or sporting event. It was not during a meaningful conversations with a wise old sage, but at his old place of employment: Food Lion.
I know, not necessarily inspiring right? But - we don't pick when these things happen, they just do.
Anyways, Kevin goes on to tell me that he was let go of Food Lion for giving out 'friendly" discounts, but when he walked out that day "I wasn't tripping. I walked out of there and the sun was brighter, everything was better...soon after I started applying to all the fitness connections I could.."
Instead of wallowing after losing a job he did not even care about, his New Jersey instinct kicked in. "As long as you can walk, talk, breathe? You can literally do what you want...literally anything...a f*kin astronaut," Kev recalled as he recounted his epiphany as he walked out of that food lion that day.
We go on to chat about how making the jump into entrepreneurship is a big part of the battle only to inevitably face learning your business model as well as what works and doesn't. After finding his groove working at the gym and getting his CPT status Kevin's journey was starting to take shape. Here is where he learned that physical training is not just working out, its getting to know your client, their needs, their capabilities, as well as hanging and implanting plans for them to reach their goals. Kevin also grappled with how to explain the importance of adhering to plans and holding his clients accountable. These were big realities he had to com to to terms with, but did not stop him.
Like many young business owners today, the Covid-19 pandemic gave Kevin the extra "oomph" to go from just a trainer to Coach Kev - owner of Alpha Fitness. What started as a social media collaboration to host virtual workouts, eventually blossomed into a living breathing brand.
"The Pack waits for no one" - the mantra him and his buddies followed while working out together instilled to others that they need to keep up and dig down when striving for their fitness goals. Combine that with his love of animals and boom - Alpha Fitness was born.
"The Alpha Mentality is not showing off or barking orders, it's intentionally making decisions for your own progress every single day," noted Kev who wanted to make sure the idea and message behind his brand was clear.
Kev was furloughed early in the pandemic and once he gained momentum through social media and was getting invited to peoples garages, that his Jersey instinct kicked in once again and drove him to take the steps necessary to form his own business. Kevin lives his alpha mentality daily by waking up around 5am to hit the gym and get to his clients.
His dedication and drive to grow his business comes from the want to be able to provide for his family without hesitation. Coach Kev tells me it is only right to do that for them as his family has been so supportive of his dreams. They were there when he got started, they supported his apparel lines, and that is nothing short of beautiful.
Kev and I wrap up our conversation making fun of people who do crazy workouts for social media clout, and sharing his work out playlist consisting of G Herbo, Dave East, and other "loud, ignorant rap."
Make sure to check out the entire episode wherever you listen to your podcasts or at theblackvibrations.com. Drops 8/28!
Don't forget to follow Kev at
PEACE AND BLESSINGS!