Stray from the Norm
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
To Anthony Strayhorn, this isn’t some motivational poster on his wall or some cool iPhone wallpaper; to him, it’s a creed. It’s not something he simply prints on business cards, it’s how he lives his life.
What is the norm? The norm is routine. The norm is the daily grind. The norm is that ever-present fear that accompanies the risks of living life to the fullest. It’s everywhere, and oftentimes we hardly know we’re being sucked into it. Constantly. Every. Single. Day…
“I’ve been the kind of person who ventures off of the normal path… The calculated and the comfortable” Anthony says, “ I like to go to areas that aren’t comfortable”.
Straying away from the norm is how Anthony Strayhorn has committed to living his life. For this engineer turned personal trainer and life coach, the norm represents the way things “should” or “normally” go. It’s the status quo. Conventional thinking. Living life in a box.
But “normal” is not how Anthony is built.
Born into a military family, Anthony grew up in arguably the most strict, rigid environment around. An environment that breeds discipline, success, and order. His situation didn’t stop him from satisfying his appetite for adventure, however. Anthony remembers his childhood consisting of the outdoors. Climbing, running, hiking were all cornerstones of his youth. He was always on the move.
After returning stateside to finish high school, Anthony went to college to pursue a degree in engineering. After graduation, Anthony earned a job with a notable engineering company in North Carolina. He was doing everything the way it “should” be done. And although the work was demanding, he always ensured his physical fitness and nutrition received his full attention.
From 2005 to 2012, Mr. Strayhorn was a corporate man. But inside, there was a burning desire for something more. His passion for physical and emotional health and well-being overcame his desire for a steady job and paycheck.
In 2012, it was officially time to wet that appetite; it was time to make the first step towards living life the way he truly wanted to. He wanted to start living the adventure as opposed to simply dreaming about it. Before the end of the year, Anthony quit his engineering job to pursue his passion of fitness, nutrition, and life coaching.
“The first 3 years were tough,” Anthony says, “I wondered what it would be like to have that direct deposit back”.
There was doubt, and justifiably so, but Anthony has never been one to dwell on the past. He continued to ask himself, “what can I change moving forward?”
After moving to Atlanta Georgia, Anthony’s personal business began to bud. His first clients were referred to him by a friend who was a teacher in the Atlanta Public School System. His friend told a group of teachers about Anthony, and they signed up for some personal classes with him.
From that point forward, StrayFit began.
“What needs to die is that fear. The fear that you can’t do it…”
Our NUVO team met Anthony for the first time inside his gym in North Atlanta. Walking into his gym, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Machines lined the back walls, weights and bars were neatly stacked along the racks, and some Olympic rings and pull-up bars dusted with chalk hung from the exposed ceiling. It looked like most gyms one might walk into nowadays. However, a closer look would tell a very different story.
In this gym, the walls were not plastered with cheesy motivational pictures or mirrors. Instead, there were informational posters used for teaching material. On the first poster Anthony showed us, the top of it read the acronym, B.A.L.A.N.C.E..
The gym is called Your Day BALANCE. Although Anthony runs a private business on his own, he also works as a coach in this North Atlanta gym. To Anthony and the rest of the coaches, the gym itself and the workouts that occur inside account for only a fraction of their mission. To Anthony, overall health is a lifestyle that bleeds into every aspect of our lives.
“I get out of bed every morning to find opportunities to connect with people.”
We asked Anthony about his overall philosophy, or his “Why”. He believes in trying to “further expand what it means to be human” which comes from “living, serving, and enjoying life together.”
When talking about StrayFit, Anthony doesn’t talk about workout schedules or daily meal plans; he talks about finding balance. Breathing, drinking water, flexibility, strength, nutrition, cleansing, energizing, and emotional well-being, all of these factors and more play into our health. Anthony’s job as a coach is to help his clients find that balance. Instead of screaming mercilessly and spitting liters of saliva on his innocent victims, a.k.a. clients, Anthony focuses on easing their stress; this always starts with asking his clients about their day. It’s not unusual to see clients at StrayFit engaged in personal conversation while participating in warm-ups. Its relationship-building, not body-building.
Anthony also believes in accountability. That’s why everything he requires his clients to do, he does the same. After all, in order to truly become an effective coach you have to “walk the talk”. One of the gym walls holds pictures of each client in the gym holding up a sign that reads their personal fitness score. As clients improve their score, they move down the wall. There, at the far left of the wall you will find a picture of their coach, Anthony.
We asked Anthony about being a coach and what comes with that commitment. He smiled and said “I get to receive the gift of their joy. It’s a reciprocation of energy”. It’s true, sometimes when you give, you actually become the one who receives.
Anthony continues to coach at Your Day BALANCE gym, while continuing to build StrayFit at the same time. During the past few years, Anthony has been asked to come speak at several events around the country, participate in festivals, and educate others seeking balance at expos.
Anthony’s vision for the future of StrayFit includes finding more opportunities to speak and tell the world about the happiness and balance he has found in his own life. Part of that deals with telling others about the major step he took years ago in his corporate office in North Carolina.
Many things stood out to us about Anthony, but one thing that made an immediate impression to our team was his passion and commitment to his adventure. From living a relatively normal, stable life to coaching people in the gym and in life, you can rightfully say he lives the adventure every day.
Anthony is a great reminder that Talking about the adventure isn’t enough, Living it is everything.