I imagine many of us have heard or used the phrase purpose-driven. Perhaps you have even read Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-Driven Life. When one thinks or speaks of someone being purpose-driven, there is typically a stereotyped image that comes to mind. Well, I am here to tell you that, today, I have the opportunity to share time with the true picture of someone that is purpose-driven… and on a mission to impact the world. It’s my pleasure to introduce to you, Dale “Mr. You Got This!” Robinson. Dale’s passion met purpose, but in a very unique way, to create a life-altering outcome from a life-changing event. His personality endears him to all that he interacts with, and his clients know that he is on their side, even when he’s giving them “encouragement” to push harder, be better and live smarter. Dale lives and thrives in Frankfort, Kentucky, and has deep roots in his community. I am sure you will be as impressed as I have been in my conversations with him. Dale’s sphere of influence is broad, with a bright future before him and the G.U.R.U Nation.
Dale, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to share this time with me today. Understanding that we are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and slowly starting to explore the new normal, how are you, your family and your fitness community doing during all of this?
We’re actually doing great during this time. My wife and I had our daughter, Eliza, right when the Covid-19 pandemic started. With everything shutting down, including our gym, we’ve been able to have a lot of family time and bonding with Eliza and my sons, Dalevon & Wan’Dale. Our fitness community has also been doing great. To keep everything going I decided to start doing live classes for our community and it’s been great. We do a bodyweight workout at 5am and a weight workout at 6am every morning. We checked out our dumbbells and kettlebells to our members that wanted to do the weight workouts.
I have some great questions that will dive deeper into what you do and how your path differs from most fitness trainers and business owners, but I do want to give you a chance to tell us a little more about yourself before we get started.
I am a proud husband and father of three. I am the owner of G.U.R.U. Fitness, co-owner of Pure Nutrition, author of The Making of a GURU and the founder of the Wanda Joyce Robinson Foundation that serves youth impacted by incarceration.
Okay, so I can’t hold back any longer, I have to get right into the good stuff. Most people have life goals, aspirations and dreams for themselves, and you are no different. However, from everything I know about you, your path to this point in life is a bit different, to say the least, than what people might think. Please share your story and how it really impacted what you do today and the man, husband, father, brother and son that you are.
I was born and raised in Frankfort, KY. I played basketball and football all my life. I went to Western Kentucky University to play football. When I left school, I went back to Frankfort and quickly got caught up in the streets. I ended up doing 10 years in Federal Prison. I’ve been home since June 15, 2015.
When I had to tell my youngest son, Wan’Dale, that I was going to prison and would be gone for 10 years that crushed me. The look on his face and tears in his eyes was my rock bottom and my significant emotional event moment. That day I decided I would come home a different man. And I did. My attitude, my vision and even my looks were different. I grew my hair out… a lot of people don’t know that that’s where my dreads come from.
While I was in prison I focused solely on self-development. I was proactive at growing as a man. I read books daily, and I trained my body and my mind. I found my love and passion for fitness while incarcerated. I worked out for myself, but there was a guy that used to ask me to train him all the time. One day I decided I would and I’ve been training ever since. I studied and got my Personal Training Certification while imprisoned. They guys around me kept calling me ‘The Guru’ and that’s where the name of my gym, that I envisioned one day opening, came from. I was determined to open a gym when I got home, so one night my 11 cell mates and I came up with an acronym for GURU… Generate Unique Results Ultimately.
When I got home, I was determined to open my gym, but that proved difficult. I had to be at a halfway house for the first 6 months after being released. I worked what I call stepping stone jobs so I could provide for my family. I started to train out of my garage and worked hard to build my brand. Some days I would have three people, some days I’d have zero. I stayed persistent and eventually grew my brand and community to the point that I have my own gym and so much more.
Every adversity I have faced shaped me into the man, father, husband, son and brother that I am today. During my journey, I grew to be more loving, understanding, disciplined and appreciative. That’s why I go so hard at everything I do, because I know what it’s like to have everything removed from your life. I appreciate every single day that I get to wake up to my family, hear my sons voices and watch them grow into amazing young men, watch my daughter grow, provide my community with not only fitness but content to help them overcome adversity. When you lose so much time it really makes you appreciate all you have, big and small, and that’s what shapes me today.
Wow… what a journey and story. As I discovered early on in our initial phone call, you are a man that has an abundance of energy and passion, and that shows in everything that you do. Aside from the fitness side of things, you have a couple other important things happening in your life. Please tell us about the 501c3 that you started and why you started it.
The Wanda Joyce Robinson Foundation is named after my late mother. I started this foundation because I left my sons behind and I’m fortunate that they had great mothers and great support around them to help them become great men. But I realized that so many children impacted by incarceration lack support. When I approached my co-founder about the idea, we quickly found out that Kentucky is rated second in the nation for youth impacted by incarceration. There is a huge need for our foundation, so we hit the ground running. We are going on our third year and we have reached over 300 children. We provide scholarships, assistance with college and career planning, family fellowship events, visitation with incarcerated parents via video communication, mentoring and so much more.
It is so honorable and inspiring that you have such a heart for an under-served group that is near and dear to your heart. As you and your “cellies” decided on the name of your business, it did not stop there. It is also the title of your self-published book,The Making of a GURU. Please tell us about the book and what readers can expect when they dive into it.
The book is a seven-step process of becoming a GURU. I share my story in the book, as well as explain how the seven steps are the principles that I live by. Readers will get my vulnerability and transparency. They will also be inspired and motivated to become a GURU in their own right. I am honored to have had the opportunity to author this book and humbled that I get to impact others with my story and serve readers in such a positive way. As I shared on our call, this book is for anyone who has or is facing adversity, challenges and/or failure, and not sure how to get back on their feet.
That sounds like an amazing book, and one that I will have to add to my reading list. Keeping in the fitness discussion, if there was something that makes you different than other trainers, what would it be?
My transparency and ability to connect with all walks of life. I have a raw, real and relatable approach to fitness and I believe that sets me apart. People gravitate towards that and I am blessed to be in their corner, in good times and tough times.
With all the success you have had in your business and other ventures, I am sure there are many success stories you recall and could share with us. Is there one in particular that stands out for you… perhaps one with a life-changing impact?
Well, between me training out of my garage and owning my gym, I ended up training out of a local gym and starting 90-day challenges. I grew my classes to over 70 people and the gym decided that they wanted to up my rent to a ridiculous amount. They ended up kicking us out, and the day they did, I ended up signing the lease for my very own G.U.R.U. Fitness location. I was finally opening my own gym after all the years of envisioning it, all the hard work day-in and day-out. That was life-changing for me, and now I get the chance to help so many others create their own changes.
What is on the horizon for you and G.U.R.U. Fitness?
I have a few things on the horizon. First being the G.U.R.U. Fitness App that will be available on both Apple and Google Play. It’s been in the works for a while and I’m excited to get it out so that I can provide a service to the world. The app should be available for download starting in June 2020.
G.U.R.U. Fitness is also a franchised business now. For more details about the franchise process you can find them on www.gurufitky.com.
Last thing in the works is a Podcast called Making of a GURU. Stay tuned for that!
Okay, I have to peel back another layer and ask a question that I know will bring a heartfelt answer. What do you think your mother would think of you now?
I think she would be very proud. I think she would tell me that she always knew I had more in me than ripping and running the streets. She would tell me to continue to inspire the world because the sky’s the limit. But, most importantly, she would be proud of the father I’ve become.
That is powerful and touching! No doubt she’s so proud of you.
At this point, I would typically ask you what your favorite quote or mantra is, but as I found out quickly, “You Got This!” is your go-to statement. With that in mind, will you elaborate on how you use it to motivate yourself and your clients? I imagine there is some psychology behind it.
I would see so many people tell others “You got this!” when something significant was going on. I realized that when it comes to their own life and it’s time to tell themselves “You got this!”, they would quickly begin to doubt themselves and their own ability. I would quickly remind them that the same energy they used to tell someone else “You got this!” is the same energy they need to use on themselves. So, when I face adversity or set a new goal, I always tell myself “You got this!”. That way any situation I approach, I’m approaching it with a positive mindset and faith in my abilities.
I like to end my guest interviews with a lighthearted topic, but one that I think can give a great glimpse into what makes a person great and special at what they do. We already spoke about this earlier, so I am going to spill the beans a little regarding your superpower. You shared with me that you feel your superpower is being a great CONNECTOR. Share a few words about why you chose that as your superpower and how it’s impacted your life and business.
Again, it goes back to my transparency and vulnerability. Being able to share who I am freely inspires others to share who they are and really embrace the good and the bad. In a world that only wants to share the good or create a false reality of perfection, when you come across a person who is just themselves, it allows you to connect. Just being my true self and walking in my light has connected me to so many amazing people.
You truly are a living example of the G.U.R.U. lifestyle! Dale.. .thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and allowing myself and those reading this to get to know you on a deeper level. You are an amazingly inspiring human being, and an influencer in so many ways. Before you go, can you leave our audience with the best way for someone to get in contact with you?
Thank you for having me. I appreciate your time and it’s been a pleasure to share with you. I can be reached on Instagram at guru_fitnessllc, Facebook at Dale Robinson or GURU Fitness LLC, LinkedIn at Dale Robinson and website is www.gurufitky.com or www.dalerobinsonguru.com.