An Interview with Charles Gibson
Meet one of my favorite fitness mentors and role models: Charles Gibson.
Words that come to mind to describe Charles? Badass. Powerful. Energetic. Genuine. Kind.
Charles is an extremely uplifting human being who spreads light, giant smiles, and upbeat vibes everywhere he goes.
I first met him at a wellness meeting at Yoga on High where a group of yogis learned more about his specialty and passion: Thai Yoga Massage—an ancient style of massage combining acupressure, Ayurvedic principles, and assisted yoga postures.
Though I had never heard of this before and typically do not dig being touched by strangers, there was a trust we all built as we learned more about this incredible healing modality.
And although I'm a wee bit terrified of acro yoga and the idea of trusting someone to not accidentally break my neck, he seemed like a pretty trustworthy guy.
As I've gotten to know Charles, I've found him to be such a stand-up person: a former Marine and dedicated personal trainer, fitness professional, and Thai Yoga Massage Practitioner.
I'm honored to stay inspired and work with him and my many legendary mentors at Arena District Athletic Club.
Without further ado, here's more about the amazing Charles Gibson!
ks: WHEN DID YOU FIRST BEGIN YOUR FITNESS/WELLNESS JOURNEY? WHAT FIRED YOU UP AT THE BEGINNING?
CG: I started teaching Body Pump, playing "She's a Lady" by Tom Jones.
I had a great time teaching and people kept coming back to class.
ks: HOW has your training shifted over the years?
CG: I believe the biggest shift happened when I found yoga.
Adding mindfulness to my sessions changed everything.
KS: WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST mission in life?
To inspire hope and change in people through fitness.
KS: WHAT ARE THE MANTRAS YOU LIVE BY?
KS: WHAT fires you up? what are you passionate about?
CG: Every day is a blessing! So my feet hitting the floor fires me up!
I'm passionate about the impact that I can have in the world.
KS: WHAT advice do you have for people who are "stuck" physically, mentally or emotionally?
What words of wisdom do you give people to inspire change and action?
CG: Being stuck means time for a change.
A change from routines and community.
Find the right support group (community).
ks: CAN YOU SPEAK MORE ABOUT "METTA"?
IT IS THE ONE WORD I ASSOCIATE MOST WITH YOUR MISSION.
CG: Love and kindness.
Everyone has a story we don't know. See people where they are!
ks: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR PEOPLE LOOKING TO improve their health and wellness?
CG: Set goals.
Get a good tribe around you. That is key!
ks: WHO HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR GREATEST INFLUENCES IN THIS WORLD AND WHY?
Otis Winston—a father, writer, actor, track and field coach, and good friend. My wife and I are the godparents of his son.
I've known him for 14 years and just seeing the way he works for what he wants—not being deterred by what others say—he finds a way to make it happen. He lives in Columbus, Ohio and still makes his acting career feasible while being there for his family.
Also, my grandfathers. Watching them be the great family men that they were and the positive reaction that people had around them was inspiring!
Though they were total opposites and vastly different sizes, both of them were so powerful and comfortable in their own skin.
It doesn't matter if you're 80 pounds or 380 pounds; you have to be comfortable in your own skin.
Confidence is beautiful. It doesn't matter what size you are.
ks: any books YOU ABSOLUTELY LOVE?
- The Great Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
- Step Back from the Baggage Claim: Change the World, Start at the Airport by Jason Barger!
The important takeaways?
- Practice stillness.
- Share compassion with those along the journey.
- When you see someone struggling, help them.
- Quit the comparison game and thrive where you are.
- Put a grateful spirit into action.
ks: WHAT ARE YOUR TECHNIQUES FOR STAYING SO POSITIVE AND UPBEAT IN A WORLD THAT ISN'T ALWAYS KIND?
CG: Appreciate the little things.
KS: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE GREATEST LESSONS YOU'VE LEARNED IN LIFE?
- To say: no, I don't care, and it doesn't matter.
- Life is not fair; it is what you make it.
- Learn to listen, really listen to people.
- Don't be afraid to get uncomfortable. It's part of your growth.
ks: I know you recently took an improv class—how was that experience? what'd you learn?
CG: I took the class because I wanted to get over my fear of public speaking.
I had two important opportunities for public speaking—one was a video for Men's Health. It was terrible.
The other one was to speak at The Ohio State University about becoming a professional personal trainer. I had all these stories and stuff I wanted to share, but when I got up in front of the room I was in such a hurry to sit back down instead of really being there in the moment.
So I decided to get in the mud and get dirty and make my way out of the mud and take this class.
There were 12 of us in our improv group and the biggest take away? To learn how to listen and not anticipate.
It reminded me of going to yoga—it was the same thing; you had to be in the present moment and you couldn't exactly anticipate what was going to happen next. You had to really be there.
ks: WHAT DOES PERSONAL TRAINING LOOK LIKE WITH YOU?
CG: Trainer-tainment, making you laugh.
I'm training you to have life skills, to move intelligently as you age, to be able to workout on your own so you feel comfortable enough to go to a gym or yoga studio and feel confident.
I have to make my clients accountable and meet them where they are to find what they like.
KS: WHAT ARE YOU UP TO THESE DAYS? NEW PROJECTS, WORKSHOPS, OR ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?
CG: I'm going to be at beYoga & wellness in Upper Arlington offering one-on-one Thai Yoga Massage starting January 17!
You can go to their website or call them at 614-578-4746 to find me!
There will also be a Thai Yoga Massage Partner Workshop coming up soon!
I'll also be leading a Couple's Thai Yoga Massage Workshop and Brunch at The Kitchen for Valentine's Day. You can register here!
Keep checking back on charlesgibsonfitness.com for more!