Passion and Perseverance Make it Happen
BY GLENDA CADOGAN
Washing dishes at the kitchen sink on a cold March evening in 2020, the idea of giving up his full-time job weighed heavily on the mind of DeeJay White. At the time, White, 29, taught math and English in the New York City Public School system. He taught for a living, but he really loved athletics, fitness, and wellness. “Ever since my Little League days I’ve enjoyed being in a wellness environment,” he said.
“With the onset of the pandemic and remote learning, I had to decide if I was going to return to the classroom. As I pondered that decision, I reached out to a mentor who established his own gym after a similar move years ago. He shared his struggles and sacrifices, but encouraged me to follow my passion.”
The next day, White tendered his resignation. “I decided that if making the positive impact I wanted in the world meant I had to sacrifice some things or sleep in my car, it would be well worth it.”
Now a free agent, White’s mentors encouraged him to start a career in personal training. He did so without hesitation, training clients in his backyard and in parks and rather quickly, the fearless entrepreneur created his fitness brand: Motiv8 Krazee8 Enterprises. Explaining the mission and purpose of the company he said, “Eight is significant in my life. It was the number on the first jersey I wore in Little League. In supreme mathematics it stands for build and destroy; and turned on its side, it’s the infinity symbol. All of this comprises the business philosophy of my brand: the aim is to help people destroy their old toxic ways of life and build a new healthy physical and spiritual consciousness. It’s a never-ending cycle of self-empowerment.”
In the past year and a half, White has trained over 70 people. Current clientele numbers 27 and among them, 63-year-old nurse practitioner Anna Pitts-White— his mother. “At first it was challenging separating the personal and the professional,” explained White. “But it’s a joy to see her make this investment in herself and witness her physical growth.”
Last year the mother/son team joined the 25-plus contingent from the gym that participated in the annual three-mile obstacle course race known as the City Challenge. Pitts-White surprised herself and completed the course ahead of many younger competitors. “When I started training with my son, I had no idea I would be involved in something like an athletic challenge,” she said. “At first when I signed up to train with DeeJay, it was a way of encouraging and supporting his pursuits. Of course, as a mother I was concerned about him leaving a stable job for something unknown. But I saw the passion he has for this and how it allowed him to breathe. So, we exercised in our backyard until he got the spot at the gym.”
According to Pitts-White, she had to let go of the mother-son idea and focus on trainer-student. “This has allowed us to build an even better relationship both in and out of the gym.” Of the City Challenge race she said, “I was doubtful about being the oldest member on our team, but the day of the challenge was awesome and one of the best experiences in my life. With the encouragement from my trainer, I made it!,” she said with a proud grin.
“My approach to fitness is about challenging your limits, not limiting your challenges. I felt so fulfilled that day when I saw my mom persevere,” White revealed. “I stayed with her every step of the way, but she was the one who pushed through and made it happen.”
The race with his mom epitomizes what DeeJay White wants to see for all his clients. The vision he saw while washing dishes at the kitchen sink is coming to fruition.