Whether he was in the gym or the Air Force, Vernard Jenkins has always pushed his limits. Now he helps other people to do the same in his Waxahachie gym by way of All or Nothing Strength and Conditioning.
Originally from Miami, Fla., Jenkins said he had two options after he graduated high school - accept a full ride to the University of South Carolina or join the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
“The biggest thing for me was the ability to set my future on the right track,” he said. “I had to choose which one I wanted. I asked myself in five years after I graduated from college, where would I be?”
He chose the Air Force Academy and enlisted in 2003. He deployed in two tours throughout eight years as an air weapons officer.
“We’ve done countless missions flying over the U.S.,” he recalled. “I’ve done missions in Greece. Missions in Asia. I was stationed in Japan for a few years. I was in countless multi-national exercises over in Alaska, Vegas, South Korea. I’ve been everywhere, man.”
His peers affectionately nicknamed him ‘V’ when he was stationed in Japan. While there, he helped at another capacity that he wasn’t expecting - physical fitness.
“I helped start a CrossFit gym in Japan,” he recalled. “It was called ‘Misawa CrossFit.’ I helped a lot of individuals get past their physical stress. They were struggling, couldn’t make it and people were telling them to go see ‘V.’ Then they would come to me and I would help them see a different side of themselves that they’ve never seen before.”
After he left the Air Force in 2011, his post-military career led him to a job at the Target distribution center in Midlothian.
His fitness life, however, eventually led him to another career opportunity.
“When I came down here, I originally worked out in my garage,” he said. “From there, I met a couple of people in YMCA that came to work out with me. They said ‘You should start something on your own.’ Then there it was in September 2012 - All or Nothing Strength and Conditioning was born.”
Jenkins said he opened All or Nothing Strength and Conditioning in Waxahachie for the same reason he started the Misawa gym in Japan – to help people realize their full potential.
“I think the biggest thing is just the people aspect,” he said. “I love helping people see that they have an inner strength within them that they don’t know about. I think the ability of a coach is how do you pull that out of them every single day.”
Jenkins said working out consistently can help reduce stress and increase mental health. He said he'd seen that with one of his closest friends, who was deployed into the security forces when he went into the Air Force.
“We both graduated from the Air Force Academy together,” he said. “He’s still struggling with PTSD to this day. The one thing that helped him is that he became a personal trainer. The actual working out based on his therapist has actually helped him to cope. It helped to channel a lot of the negative energy into positive energy.”
More recently, his friend competed in a bodybuilding competition eight months ago in Dallas and placed in the top three of the competition.
He said helping anyone realize their potential, regardless of whether they served or not, is why he enjoys being a personal trainer.
“What we do in my gym translates into life,” he said. “If you can physically and mentally make it through a tough workout, just imagine facing the stresses of life. When you’re not in physical pain, what are you able to handle on a day-to-day basis?”
“I made the right choice," he remarked.
David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX