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Why this trainer chose helping his hometown get fit over a pro sports career

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We want to recognize the fitness instructors who don’t just look great on Instagram—but actually inspire us to be better. So together with ReebokONE, we asked you to nominate trainers for the second annual America’s Most Inspiring Trainer search. After over a thousand amazing stories, we’ve narrowed it down to 12 finalists—which means it’s time for you to choose a winner! Learn more about Pat Gilles below, and cast your vote by November 26.

Pat Gilles, Madison, Wisconsin

Owner of Pat’s Gym

His personal mantra

This is a journey, and each step, including my failures, are learnings in that journey.

What inspired you to become a trainer?

After graduating from college, I had opportunities to turn professional in hockey, golf, or sailing. But I opted to return to my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin to help people live better lives, which is something I always wanted to do.

“Being a coach brings out the potential in others and helps them live better lives.”

Whether it’s training professional NHL or NFL athletes, high school students preparing for D1 colleges, executives who are short on time but high on stress, or stay-at-home moms, I realized that I can have a positive impact. By helping them physically, I’m helping them mentally and emotionally. Being a coach brings out the potential in others and helps them live better lives.

What’s the most surprising thing you discovered about being a fitness pro?

As an athlete and trainer, I’ve come to realize that when the mind goes in a direction, the body will follow. It’s amazing that when you guide the mind or control it, then you can get the results you want. I have experienced this personally and as a coach, I have seen clients achieve these results, too.

The winner of America’s Most Inspiring Trainer will score a one-year contract with Reebok and major coverage on Well+Good. Cast your vote now!

In partnership with ReebokONE

Photo: Pat Gilles