nterview with Aaron Benes, BS, CSCS, PhD
Integrating the world of chiropractic with fitness!
S&F: Please tell us about yourself. Where did you graduate from, how long have you trained, exercised, competed?
Aaron: I received my undergrad (BS in Kinesiology) from California State University of Fullerton and have since become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with NSCA, Functional Movement Systems Corrective Exercise specialist Level 2, United States Weightlifting Level 1 Coach, Destination Method Coach and achieved a PhD in Cognitive Spiritual Studies from Emerson Institute. I competed at the world level in Power Lifting for about 5 years. For several years even after I stopped competing, I was ranked in the top 50 Dead lifters of all time for my weight class.
S&G: Who/what inspired you to become a strength coach?
Aaron: I've always looked up to really great coaches like Phil Jackson, John Wooden and some of my own personal coaches. Over the years, I've been very blessed to have some amazing mentors and coaches of many different types. I've also had some really crummy coaches. My first 12 years in the fitness industry was spent mainly working with athletes and then my Dad asked me for help. He had gone through a brutal divorce and had gained 70+ lbs in the process. I started working with him and helped him reduce over 80 lbs of fat. Through the process, I realized that there are some great coaches in the athletic world but there are very few good coaches in the fitness industry. The fitness industry needs more professionals and since there was no one that I would have recommended my Dad work with, I decided to open a fitness facility where the average Joe/Jane or athlete all receive world class training, coaching and nutritional planning.
S&F: What do you do when you are not working?
Aaron: I enjoy spending time with the mascot at Imagine Fitness (my dog, Bravo), outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, stand-up paddle boarding, reading, and being with my family and friends.
S&F: Tell us about the best part of being a strength and fitness expert.
Aaron: The best part of being a coach is helping someone change their life. For me, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone reduce a ton of body fat and add muscle/strength, while ultimately leading an entirely different (healthier) lifestyle and then hearing that person speak with a completely different mindset. When one of our members goes from feeling poorly about themselves and having low self esteem to feeling confident, I feel extremely satisfied that we've done a great job. For me it's all about changing lives!
S&F: What are some of your favorite accomplishments?
A) Watching countless people I've coached completely change their lives for the better.
B) Getting my PhD.
C) Continually working on myself and becoming a better person.
D) Lifting a 330 lb stone.
E) Flipping a 1000 lb tire for 3 reps
S&F: How have you integrated chiropractic or any other natural health care into the strength / fitness industry?
I've been going to a chiropractor for most of my life, so the integration of working in conjunction with chiropractors is a natural fit. Unfortunately it has been frustrating to me to find a chiropractor with the training background to integrate fitness with chiropractic. Thankfully, I was able to convince Dr. Jerome to fly out here once a month. It's a perfect fit because we are all able to work together, speak the same language, and help the client get where they want to go.
S&F: Where do you see yourself / your work in next 3-5 years?
In the next 3-5 years, I see myself being an accomplished author, speaker and business owner. I see myself coaching more on lifestyle and the mental component and less in the traditional fitness realm within Imagine Fitness. Also, at that point I'll be heading up the operations and leading our team to be able to help change the lives of many more people. I am also working with Dr. Jerome Rerucha on creating a West Coast Teaching Facility to help other DC's and fitness expert's work together.
Check out Aaron's Website at www.imagine-fitness.com