2021 Entrepreneurial Awards

Local Men: Brian Daniels Positivity, Determination & Balance

Brian Daniels is most often found using his superior motivational skills at Spartan Dance & Fit where he has worked as a personal tra…

Brian Daniels is most often found using his superior motivational skills at Spartan Dance & Fit where he has worked as a personal training manager for the past two-and-a-half years. His passion for fitness and his ability to help people achieve their goals is a talent he acquired after facing the anguish of war firsthand.

Daniels joined the Army and was stationed in Iraq in 2005. On Nov. 15, 2015 an average day turned to turmoil.

“I was on patrol with my section in Taji, Iraq. We were part of a two-truck patrol running traffic control points. Someone set off three artillery rounds beneath my truck. I was thrown from the truck, as was our gunner. He later died of his injuries. The three other guys died in the blast. I woke up with my foot still in the boot at my side. I was saved by one of my best friends who was shot a few weeks later by a sniper. I was transferred to Baghdad where they told me I’d never run again and would have to walk with a cane, if I was even able to keep my foot. They gave me the option to pass on the reattachment effort. I told them I knew I would walk again, that I loved hockey and would skate again, and that I wanted to try,” Daniels said.

Daniels received a Purple Heart and underwent eight additional surgeries. Once the long path of rehabilitation and learning to walk again was complete, Daniels, studied personal training at the American Academy of Personal Training in New York.

While living in New York, Daniels had his now 4-year-old son, Gabriel, and became devoted to his favorite form of exercise, boxing. After studying to become a personal trainer and skilled boxer, Daniels set off to explore his opportunities.

“Training eventually led me to Michigan and Spartan Fit Center where I met my current girlfriend, who pushed me to work with a therapist instead of trying to outrun my issues,” Daniels said. “It’s been life changing for me. Accepting your issues and owning your emotions can be hard, but it is necessary for me to be the partner and dad I’ve always wanted to be.”

Today Daniels uses his story to motivate and help others in the classes he leads. Positivity, determination and balance are the three skills learned from his hardships that not only make Daniels a fantastic trainer, but also help him manage family and life.

“I just think that you just have to figure out what the right balance is for you,” said Daniels. “For me, I know that there is a middle of the week day I need to take time off to be with (Gabriel). I feel like, because of what happened in Iraq, my priority is much more about enjoying life.”


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