Father's early death, mother's love helped shape success
By Marle Robinson
Special to Bee Creative
When Vince Wilson became a personal trainer 28 years ago, Americans knew more about disco than medicine balls.
Wilson, owner of Unlimited Physiques gym in Modesto, was one of the region's first professionals to focus on teaching proper nutrition and exercise regimes to ordinary people.
"It was fun, actually, because people didn't know about it," he says. "It was mostly the elite or the rich who had personal trainers."
But the job was, and is, a natural fit for Wilson, a former Northern California kickboxing champion and martial arts expert who is a no-nonsense motivator and entrepreneur all rolled into one very muscular body. He knows he's a role model, to African Americans, to trainers and to his clients.
"This is a business where you have to look the part and practice what you preach," he says. "If I weigh 400 pounds, what kind of credibility am I going to have?"
Wilson could have chosen a different path in life. His father, a Golden gloves boxer and martial arts pro, died when his son was just 11 years old. Wilson thought about dropping out of school to take on the role of man of the family until his mother talked him out of it.
"The ghetto is the ghetto," Wilson says. "I knew I deserved better. Staying out and partying all night, hanging out with women, drinking and all that other stuff, that's easy. Taking responsibility and trying to make yourself into something, that takes focus."
The experience of his father's early death left Wilson very serious about health. He expects a lot from himself and his clients.
"You're paying me for the truth. You can get lies from anyone and don't even have to pay them for it," he says. "The main thing is, you know for a fact that my heart and soul is in everything that I do."