As a celebrity trainer to the likes of Ludacris, former D1 college athlete, and successful businessman, George Bamfo Jr. has become a singular voice in the fitness world. As part of our celebration of Juneteenth, we were fortunate to hear from George earlier this month about his journey and are thrilled to share his story:
I was born in Ghana, West Africa and moved to the United States at age twelve to live with my dad. It was a complete culture shock, even little things. In Ghana, we spoke English, but I quickly found that English was much faster here. In school, I was trying to follow along and learn rapidly, but it was hard. I had left all my friends and everything I was used to. But I played catch-up, relying on a combination of hard work, dedication, and some lucky breaks. I think the experience made me better, made me resilient to adversity. And now my drive to work harder has put me where I’m at today living the life I’m living.
That drive comes from my personal experience of adapting to a new culture, but it also comes from my family’s sacrifices. I saw how hard my dad worked everyday just to give me a better opportunity. He had sleepless nights from working overtime. I also left my mom and didn’t see her for fourteen years, so knowing what my parents gave up made me realize I had to make something happen in the US.
When I got to the US, I didn’t know the game of football, but I was blessed with being naturally fast and strong. Fortunately, coaches saw that raw talent in me and took me under their wings. They had me play multiple positions so I could learn the game. I would wake up early for practice, practice twice a day, and hit a lot doing linebacker drills. But those drills inspired me because these same coaches told me that if I kept developing my skills, I could be a Division 1 player. By my senior year in high school, I was balling at another level and the recruiters came.
Playing football also allowed me to meet so many new people. My teammates’ parents, for one, saw my potential and became part of my story in a big way. They paid for camps. They invited me into their kitchens. The whole community of Rockwall, Texas really took me under their care. I realized that my passion and drive…I’m not just doing this for myself. I’m representing my town.
You know, living in Texas, I had to have conversations with my dad about race. My stepmom is African American, and she was my first real introduction to Juneteenth because her church would celebrate every year. I came to understand that Juneteenth symbolizes freedom, which is sometimes hard to celebrate when racism is so systemic. I say that, but I also want to say that I’ve never let racism or bigotry stop me. I’m very motivated to do my part for my people. So I eventually played football at the University of Houston and getting that full Division 1 scholarship was huge for me. By the time I graduated, I was so proud to show my dad and know that he didn’t have to pay for school. I made it.
After college, I started working on building my brand. I was working out and posting content every day. My main motivation was to make a living from fitness so I could leave my sales job, which was a cool job but didn’t feel right to me. So that’s where the business of Heuristic Lifestyle took off. Heuristic Lifestyle is the name of my brand, and it’s an umbrella that encompasses training programs and meal plans.
I was growing gradually and felt proud when I hit that first 10K benchmark. But I felt like I had made it once again, like when I graduated college, once I started training celebrities. I was on vacation training and creating content my social accounts. I was actually at a hotel, just doing my thing, when Ludacris walks in and talks to me about how shredded I am. We talked while working out, exchanged information, and then I had my first client! He asked me to move to Atlanta to train him full time, and we’ve been building since then. When COVID-19 hit, things exploded for me because everyone was stuck at home with their phones looking to get creative with at home workouts. I had a few videos that went viral and then I hit 300K followers.
As I continued to grow my business and social account, I also realized I want to be a public speaker. I want to tell people my story and let them know that you can rise from adversity. I also want to own my own gym to keep growing my brand. Outside of work, I want to start a family, travel, and do all the things that a successful young man is supposed to do. But, my ultimate goal is to be a well-rounded person.
I’ll leave you with some parting advice. If you’re a high school senior or someone who is ending a chapter of your life, just know the next step will be a grind, but it’s exactly what you need. And what has helped me the most is reading and listening to motivational speeches. When I got into the professional world, reading consistently changed my thinking. It introduced me to different perspectives. So that’s my advice: read and put it in the time.