This month, in honor of celebrating 10 years in full time practice and in preparation for my transition into fuller time missionary work, I wanted to share a few stories of miracle moments I’ve had over the course of my career. God has been so good and so gracious to me, and He has very clearly had His hand on my career ever since I began. This story will help illustrate that.
This story is about how I started my first MAT practice back in 2007. It’s a pretty amazing story, and it was actually featured on a National TV show called The 700 Club and was shown to an audience of roughly 1 million people on October 3rd, 2019. You can watch the video below and get the deeper story through this article.
As you may know if you read my previous installment of “Miracles in the Practice”, my first training job (which was where I learned MAT) was at Southside Athletic Club, working for a brilliant man named Jay Weitzner. I encourage you to read that story if you haven’t yet.
I began at Southside in March of 2005, and I had a lot of success while I was there. However, after I gave my life to Jesus in May of 2006, I began to feel like He was calling me out of my comfort zone to start something new, something different and something that was more my own. Soon after, I ended up at a Personal Training studio in Lakewood Ranch called Team Body Counselors. Strange name, but a really cool place.
The owner was a man named Ben Munger. Ben specialized in weight loss and athletic training and he also had a nutrition program and his own supplement line. With me having the understanding of biomechanics, MAT and rehabilitative exercise, we definitely complimented each other.
The first few months at Team Body Counselors were tough, but as I got towards the fall of 2006 things started to pick up. I was a little disappointed though because the only clients I was getting were for training, not for MAT. I knew that God wanted MAT to be more of my focus, so I decided to take out a classified ad in The East County Observer for a MAT seminar that I would do every Saturday, if people signed up.
I got a call from someone about it during the first month it was in there, but after that…nothing. Thankfully, my sister worked for the paper and was in charge of the ads so she let it run continually for free. Talk about a hook up!
Months went by and I never got any phone calls from the ad, but by early 2007 I was pleased that I had a nice personal training practice going. I had many consistent clients at Team Body Counselors and I had also been hired as a contractor to teach Aerobics classes and Yoga to senior women at University Park Country Club. Can you even imagine me doing that!? Although I was busy and making good money, I longed to use my MAT skills to help more people. I wasn’t seeing how it was ever going to come together though.
In March of 2007, I got a call from a woman named Denise. She asked me if she could attend my seminar that coming Saturday. Because it had been 5 months since I took that ad out, and because it had been almost that long since I got a call from it, it took me a minute to realize what she was talking about.
I was a little embarrassed when I told her that I wasn’t having a seminar, so I offered her a free MAT session hoping that would give her a chance to understand what I did. She agreed.
When she came in she explained that she had fibromyalgia and that she had pain pretty much everywhere. She had tried so many things over the years too and very few things did much to make her feel better. I somewhat cautiously told her that we could work on some things that day and see what happens. I was blown away by what happened.
Denise got off my table and she said she felt REALLY good. Way better than she or I expected. She immediately asked me to see her regularly and she also said she wanted to buy 20 sessions on the spot. I was blown away!
She wrote me the check, we made the schedule and she left. It was a crazy moment because as you know if you watched the 700 Club segment, this came just days after God told me to give a large offering to some missionaries which left me pretty close to being broke. This huge check just days later was such a sign from God, but the best was still yet to come.
At that time, I had an agreement with the studio owner that he would keep the money I got for sessions until I performed the session. Then, once I did the session, he would take his cut and give me the difference. When I handed him this check however, he suggested something that he had never proposed before.
He said, “bro I’ve got that storage room in the back of the studio, I can clear it out and you can put your desk and table in there and make it your office. I’ll charge you $500 a month and it’ll be all yours for your MAT sessions.”
The offer was so tempting. Not only would it offer me a huge step up in terms of professionalism and privacy, but it would also open the door for me to make way more money because I would be able to keep everything over my $500 rent and not pay him a commission anymore. The only problem was that if I didn’t get a lot more clients right away, it would be a complete waste of money.
I asked him if I could pray about it for a day and he said yes.
That whole day I really felt like God was telling me to rent the space. He kept impressing on me that He would be with me and that the risk would pay off. Although I had some doubts as to whether I heard Him right, I had enough peace about the deal to move forward. Now it was time to just sit and wait.
A few days later, Denise came in again and her countenance was so different than when I first met her. She looked happy and she looked hopeful. She told me that she was feeling so much better and that she had been telling people about me. Before we began her session she also made a point to tell me to keep an eye on my phone because her chiropractor would be calling me.
“Really?” I said. “He wants to talk to ME?”
At that point I had never had a medical professional of that caliber ever reach out to me to ask me about my work, so I was shocked. She told me that as soon as she told him about me, he asked for my number and said he’d call.
And call me he did. The same day!
His name was Dr. Paul Hambrick and he is an extremely bright and excellent upper cervical chiropractor, beloved by his patients. When I got on the phone with him though he didn’t act like “Mr. know it all”, he acted like “Mr. I want to know it all”. He told me that he had been thinking for months that he needed to learn more about therapies, exercises and modalities that work to improve the function of muscles.
He said, “I’m starting to realize that if muscles don’t hold the bones in place after an adjustment, they go right back out of place.”
I told him that he could come to my condo and I could give him the presentation on MAT that I had given at The Florida College of Natural Health a few months earlier. One of Ben’s clients was a massage teacher there and after I worked with her and helped her with her chronic foot issues, she had me teach a class for her students.
The presentation I gave Dr. Hambrick turned into him interviewing me and asking me all kinds of questions. I sure felt pretty smart that day!
After the presentation, Dr. Hambrick said that he wanted to hire me for a few sessions. When he came in the first time, he told me nothing about his health history but he did ask me to check out his upper body. We went through the range of motion exam and we found some pretty obvious limitations. I tested those muscles to see if they were activated and they were not. We did a few activation exercises and his range of motion increased immediately. Then, Dr. Hambrick sat up, got off the table, and started moving his arm around. He looked at me with big eyes and he just said “WOW!“
“What happened?” I asked him.
“It feels like cool water is flowing all through my shoulder..” He said.
I asked him if there was something wrong with it before and he told me that it had been injured for over a year.
He said, “I fell off a motorcycle a year ago and I’ve gotten a lot better, but I’ve never gotten back to normal. Right now I can move it better, it doesn’t really hurt, and I feel like I’m 95% normal. This is amazing!“
He left that session SO excited. He demanded to take as many of my business cards as possible and he said that he was going to tell all his patients about me. And he did.
Over the next month, I must have had 15-20 of his patients come in to see me. During that time, I also officially incorporated Non-Fiction Fitness, and just like that I was doing what I believed God had called me out of the gym to do. Operating my own MAT practice, complete with a Dr.’s referrals! It was like a dream come true!
What is crazy too, is that Dr. Hambrick was also the first one to ever give me guidance on how to learn the business side of running a practice. Most people who are starting out know nothing about that, and that is a big reason why many skilled practitioners can’t “make it” in their own practice. Dr. Hambrick turned me on to books and mentors that were unbelievably helpful, and he was also the first one to ever tell me about writing newsletters. Because of the help he gave me, I was able to broaden my knowledge and learn to not only be good at the skills of MAT, but also at all the other things it takes to be successful.
It was an absolute set up from God!
Here is another layer to the story that I think is mind blowing…
A few days before Denise came into Dr. Hambrick’s office for her every other week visit, he “just so happened” to be reading a book by Christian health guru Jordan Rubin. On one of the pages, Jordan very briefly mentioned MAT as a possible help for body maintenance. This is crazy in itself because back then hardly anyone knew about MAT, so for a well known author to write about it was VERY unusual. When Dr. Hambrick read the excerpt, he got intrigued because he was already thinking about ways to improve his patients muscles so his adjustments would hold longer.
He immediately went online and searched for MAT practitioners, but since they only listed those with certifications higher than mine on the website, he never found me. The closest one at that level was in Tampa. Dr. Hambrick is a strong believer in Jesus also and he told me that hearing Denise tell him about me and how much MAT was helping her just days after he was searching for MAT practitioners online was a jaw dropping confirmation that God was up to something.
It is still so crazy to me how God can orchestrate all these things to happen amongst multiple people all at once!
Here are some videos of Denise and Dr. Hambrick sharing their stories too in case you want to see them.
Of course, since then my career has taken various twists and turns. I eventually left that studio, opened my own, closed it during the crash of 08/09, worked in therapy clinics, and then eventually came to The Meadows. I’ll share more miracle stories that have happened along the way as the weeks go on. I hope you enjoyed this one.
God bless you!