Get-Fit Training Systems owners Eric and Austinn Weaver in Prescott are not your ordinary father-and-son personal trainers.
Eric and Austinn are now business partners; work-out buddies with a shared passion for fitness and healthy living; and companionable roommates — indeed, the two have been virtually inseparable since the 25-year-old Austinn was a baby.
At age 2, Austinn was diagnosed with autism. The first years of his life Austin was unable to speak or make eye contact. Three years later, Eric Weaver ended up a
divorced single parent who opted to reinforce his son’s special education classes — first grade through the first year of middle school — with a conviction that with plentiful supplies of love, patience and reinforcement of his academic lessons his son would defy what even some professionals predicted might be his fate. Starting at age 5, Eric played Deepak Chopra’s motivational talks to his son and taught his son to speak with lessons from the “Hooked on Phonics” program. At age 8, Austinn started his own fitness workouts.
By the time Austinn was an early adolescent in southern California — Eric then a successful fitness entrepreneur with multiple businesses and related enterprises —he was able to attend classes with the rest of his peers. At 15, Austinn was already professing a desire to follow in his father’s footsteps: he wanted to become a personal trainer and own his own gym. Though he was not involved in team sports, Austinnen enrolled in karate classes that earned him a blue belt; he credits the discipline with testing both his athletic and mental acuity such that he became more focused on pursuing fitness training as a career.
Inspired by his father’s constant belief in his abilities to do anything he set his mind to do, Austinn earned straight A’s in high school. He four years to earn double personal training certifications. Equipped with his high school diploma, Austinn went to the local community college where he earned his associate’s degree in kinesiology, the study of movement. From there, Austinn enrolled at California State University in San Bernardino where in May he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration.
From his work in his father’s gyms, Austinn managed to save enough
money so he was able to give his father a check for $30,000 toward the facility he opted to open in Prescott just over a year ago.
With that investment, Eric said he and Austinn forged a 50/50 business partnership. Eric said his own father, Tom Weaver, helped launch his now 34-year career in the fitness business with a similar arrangement.
Admitting he never thought of taking on an outside partner, Eric said working side-by-side with his son as both a trainer and business colleague has proved a big
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win: for the business and their life together.
“It’s all the same,” Eric said with a chuckle of his son who from an early age spent the bulk of his out-of-school time, including naps, with him at what was his office: one of his gyms. Eric is now on his fifth facility. “We were together all the time, anyway.
In their first year in Prescott, Get-Fit has some 230 members; Eric and Austinn together offer one-on-one training and offer fitness classes, as well as supervise those who come to use the traditional fitness equipment from treadmills and bench presses to stationary bicycles and ellipticals. The two share the bookkeeping, appointment scheduling and reception. Both friendly and affable, the two complement each other as they seek to ensure their clients’ needs are met on a daily basis.
The ever-smiling, well-toned Austinn is clear that his approach as a personal trainer isto build confidence in his clients through compassion and consistent encouragement so that each client is able to achieve his or her individual fitness goals. He suggests that following that recipe is what “makes me a great trainer.” His father concurs.
“He’s always pleasant, positive and motivating. He’s always happy; he’s rarely in a bad mood,” Eric said.
Rather than simply deliver a list of instructions the clients are expected to follow, with occasional check-ins, Eric said he and his son work side-by-side with their clients to create exercises and fitness routines they not only enjoy but produce the results they desire. As fitness buffs, both Eric and Austinn know that staying healthy requires discipline, but they are quick to state it does not need to be a chore.
Austinn’s cheerful personality can be just what a client needs to try one more exercise, or add one more weight to their routine, his father said.
“He’s not too serious or uptight,” Eric said.
If one didn’t know Austinn’s story, Eric and Austinn both concur it’s unlikely a client would suspect his early childhood challenges.
Eric’s client Jennifer Reynolds admires how this father-and-son complement each other in their training styles. To watch them in action is a “kick,” with each able in their own way able to help clients like herself do more than they imagined they could do.
As one who knows their story, Reynolds said Eric spent a lot of time helping to get Austinn to where he is today, but without Austin “Eric wouldn’t be where he is today.”
“They’re a joy,” Reynolds said. “They’re good for each other.”
Eric admits he is continually inspired by his son’s tenacity and refusal to allow anything to stand in his way; Austinn’s autism diagnosis does not interfere with his ability to live his dream.
Austinn credits his disposition and determination to his father’s unwavering love and support that started with his constantly reading to him so that he could learn to form thewords he needed to speak. Austin’s devotion, and spoken out loud admiration, brings tears to his father’s eyes. “Not only is he my father, he’s my best friend,” Austinn declared.
Submitted by Get Fit Prescott