He'll Help You Change Your Life For The Better - But You'll Have To Work For It
A fitness trainer is using his decade behind bars to help transform the lives of other ex-inmates.
Hector Guadalupe believes that everybody deserves a second chance, and he should know.
Guadalupe is a successful fitness trainer and founder of A Second U Foundation, a non-profit that helps formerly incarcerated men and women get certified in personal training and find jobs in the industry.
Guadalupe himself served ten years in federal person for a drug trafficking charge. While behind bars, he dedicated himself to reading, meditating and maintaining a strict exercise routine.
"I spent close to 31 months in solitary confinement," he told CNN. "I could've sat and let depression take over. But guess what? What I do with my time is extremely valuable."
Learn more about Guadalupe and his mission with A Second You Foundation...
video c/o A Second You Foundation
Now that Guadalupe is out of prison, he's noticing the same depression take hold in some of his clients who have been self-quarantining at home during the pandemic. He says channeling those feelings of loneliness and anxiety into physical fitness can only make you stronger.
"There's growth in struggle," he said. "Plenty of us (are) going to come out of this and be even better than we were before."
Guadalupe has shifted his training sessions online, giving those who are self-quarantining an option to get fit at home. A Second U Foundation/Facebook
Since the pandemic started, Guadalupe has shifted his workout sessions online, and is continuing to help members of his foundation find gainful employment after coming home from jail.
Out of the 200 ex-inmates that Guadalupe has worked with, not one has re- offended, or gone back to jail. He says it's because they're finally able to earn a decent wage.
"People won't reoffend as long as they're provided livable wages. So, they start at $35 an hour. They top out at $75 an hour," he said. "A lot of families and kids get fed off of that."
Those who participate in the foundation's program get certified in physical training as well as software and sales training. A Second U Foundation/Facebook
Often, those who have been incarcerated have a difficult time finding employment when they get out. Guadalupe struggled himself after he was released from prison, but he didn't give up.
"My first eight months home it was just rough -- couldn't get a lot of second interviews, no callback," he said. "No corporate health club wanted to hire me. Eventually, I begged a young lady who was a manager at a club, and she gave me an opportunity."
Guadalupe is using what he learned behind bars to help others to succeed after prison. A Second U Foundation/Facebook
Guadalupe says the fitness industry is more forgiving when it comes to accepting those with troubled pasts, which makes it a perfect fit for those, like Guadalupe, who are seeking out a second chance after prison.
"In a gym setting, it's not a threatening atmosphere," Guadalupe said. "Endorphins are flowing. The state of wellness, period, just breeds positivity."
"It's really about human connection. Opportunity and second chances are for all."
Out of the 200 ex-inmates who have completed the Second U program, none have returned to prison. A Second U Foundation/Facebook