Personality: Ricky Martin | Richmond Free Press

With COVID-19 driving more sedentary lifestyles for many Richmond-area residents, Fit2Give founder Ricky Martin believes his nonprofit can help offset some of the health disparities that may be occurring. have increased in underserved communities during the ongoing pandemic.

“Although the world is experiencing a pandemic, our local communities are still suffering from epidemics like prediabetes and many obesity and health disparity issues,” says Martin. He adds that the quality of life in the city’s west differs from the quality of life in the city’s east, where residents’ life expectancies can be 20 years lower.

“The need for parity in the simple fact of being able to live is glaringly obvious,” he says.

While Fit2Give was conceived at the start of the pandemic and was just designated a non-profit last year, Mr Martin says its origins go back much further. The South Carolina native who now lives in Chesterfield County, he was driven to form the group after serving years as the co-creator of Fitness Warriors, where he groomed volunteers to lead fitness classes in free groups in underserved communities in the Richmond area.

Now he wants to expand his efforts, independent of the SportsBackers group that Fitness Warriors operates, with a focus on personal training and pre-diabetes prevention coaching, all accessible to those who typically cannot afford to. afford.

“I have seen how our efforts since 2014 have had an immense impact on the Richmond-Tri-Cities area,” says Martin, adding that the effectiveness of the free group fitness program has convinced him that the “Free personal training could also help provide a better quality of life” for those who need it most.

Currently, Fit2Give has partnered with the University of Richmond to facilitate the training of trainers who would help people with type 2 prediabetes and to support awareness in Petersburg. In the coming months, Martin plans to start a type 2 prediabetes prevention cohort, with the search for viable candidates already underway.

Those selected will be assigned a trainer for six to 10 sessions, where goals will be worked on and daily routines developed that can continue beyond the training. The hope is to “provide education and facilitate behavior change,” says Martin.

It’s an ambitious goal for a new nonprofit, but Mr. Martin thinks it’s a goal that aligns well with the potential for positive change and growth that exercise and healthier living can bring.

“Exercise in all its forms has been my therapy, my best friend, my meditation, my avenue and path to myself, my catalyst for revealing my story as a human being,” says Mr. Martin . “The exercise showed me how I could change myself and help others to change as well, not only physically aesthetically, but also internally for better self-confidence, patience with myself and with the others.”

Meet a local organizer who brings exercise and a better life to everyone, Ricky Martin:

Volunteer position: Founder, Fit2Give.

Occupation: Owner of Fit To Go.

Date and place of birth: May 5, 1956, in Charleston, SC

Where I live now: Chesterfield County.

Education: Attended Skidmore University from 1975 to 1977; also attended New York Community College, LaQuadia Community College, Highland Community College. Certifications include: Certified Personal Trainer by the Athletic and Fitness Association of America, Certified Group Fitness Instructor by the American Council on Exercise, Certified ACE Sports Nutrition Specialist, Lifestyle Coach for the Prevention of Pre- CDC T2 Diabetes, Performance Stretching Therapist, Certified with Performance Stretching Systems, Certified Crystal Reiki Master Teacher with Reiki Powers.

Family: His wife Nichole Martin and daughters Zyon, 18, and Serenity, 16.

Fit2Give is: A non-profit organization providing free personal training and lifestyle coaching for the prevention of pre-diabetes.

When it started: We received our 501(c)(3) status last year, 2021.

Where I got the idea: As a community health professional for many years, I have seen the need for health and wellness programs of all kinds in underserved communities. I’m the co-creator of a health initiative, in partnership with SportsBackers, called Fitness Warriors. We train volunteers to lead free group fitness classes in underserved communities. I have seen how our efforts have had an immense impact in the Richmond-Tri-Cities area since 2014. It was a natural progression to see how free group fitness programming can help communities by providing personal training free and seeing its impact on the quality of life of those who need it most.

Mission: Provide free personal training and pre-diabetes lifestyle coaching to those who need it but cannot afford it.

Why Fit2Give is needed in Richmond: Part of the training we provide to our volunteer group fitness instructors is based on statistics regarding health disparities in the Richmond area. We show how life expectancy can change just a few miles across various communities in Richmond. The quality of life on the west side of the city or in neighborhoods with a higher standard of living, compared to the quality of life on the east side, in neighborhoods with a lower standard of living, shows a difference in 20 year life expectancy between a distance of only 5 miles. The need for parity in the simple fact of being able to live is flagrantly obvious.

Who benefits from Fit2Give: People who cannot afford to pay for professional fitness classes and the community at large. Better overall health outcomes reduce pressure on our already overburdened health care system.

How Fit2Give works: We will identify training candidates from applications and references. We will assess the needs of each potential candidate. Selected candidates will be assigned a trainer for six to 10 sessions. The trainer will work with the individual on their goals and help them develop a daily routine that they can continue beyond the training. The idea is to provide education and facilitate behavior change.

Fit2Give and COVID-19: Fit2Give was basically designed and formulated at the start of the pandemic when quarantines were in place. With free time due to a significantly reduced workload, I was able to begin the process of setting up the board and the nonprofit. With the help of very dynamic board members, we were able to meet the challenges of the pandemic while focusing on solutions for our community. Although the world is still experiencing a pandemic, our local communities are still suffering from epidemics such as prediabetes, obesity, and other health issues.

How to connect with Fit2Give: We can be reached on our website at

Fit2Give is a partner of: We are currently in partnership with the University of Richmond, which provided training for the CDC T2 Prediabetes Prevention Lifestyle training, as well as funding for targeted outreach in the Petersburg area.

Ways to support Fit2Give: We are seeking operating funds to cover our current budget for next year. Donations of any size are welcome. We also offer products on our website and are looking for in-kind support for fundraising, technology, administration and marketing.

Upcoming events in 2022: We anticipate that a T2 prediabetes prevention cohort will begin in March of this year. We are looking for candidates who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or who have risk factors such as an A1c level of 5.7% to 6.4% indicating pre-diabetes, a family history of diabetes or who have a medical recommendation.

A perfect day for me is: At home with my family, sitting next to my wife in front of the fireplace watching TV.

What I’m learning about myself during the pandemic: I am learning that I can set a pattern of self-care that is both disciplined and caring. Being able to practice and schedule self-care facilitates the discipline to be active, refuel, and rest. This realization came after I went through anxiety attacks, went to therapy, and started changing the way I see myself and the world.

Something I love to do that most people would never imagine: I love playing the guitar and learning new songs to accompany myself while singing.

A quote that inspires me: James Baldwin: “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be angry almost all the time.”

My friends describe me as: Passionate and fiery. Wise and courageous.

Top of my “to do” list is: Get people into the free T2 prediabetes prevention cohort starting in March!

Best late night snack: Almond milk and a few Oreo cookies or chocolate chips.

Best thing my parents ever taught me: How to cook, clean, sew and hold a job. All the basic self-contained things you had to do as a black man, like arriving really early, dressing really well, and using proper grammar.

The person who influenced me the most: A local councilor and friend, Larry Everette. He once made it my mission to look in the mirror and say all the bad things I didn’t like about myself. It was at a very low time in my life. He then asked me to say good things about myself. I had a hard time doing it and I cried. It started the process of rebuilding my self-esteem.

How exercise changed my life: Exercise in all its forms has been my therapy, my best friend, my meditation, my avenue and my path to myself. It is my catalyst for the revelation of my story as a human being. The exercise showed me how I could change myself and help others to change too, not only physically aesthetically, but also internally (intrinsically) from better self-confidence, patience with myself and with others.

Book that influenced me the most: “Conversations with God” by Neal Donald Walsch.

What I’m currently reading: I have five books to study for my yoga instructor training. “Light On Yoga” is the currently assigned reading by BKS Iyengar.

Next goal: To launch the T2 pre-diabetes cohort in March and obtain funding to provide physical therapy to five or more people. I will also complete the preparation of my 10th promotion of trainers at the end of my teaching so that they can provide their own exercise classes, which will be free.

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