As an IFBB Pro, personal trainer, and business owner Brett Mario has made it his life's mission to inspire and motivate others. As part of our celebration of Juneteenth, we took the time to sit down with Brett so he could share his journey and message.
A lot of what I experienced growing up molded me into the man I am today and contributed to my ambition. My mom was a single mother, working 2-3 jobs to raise my sister and me. I saw her hustle and grind from day 1, so when I think about Juneteenth, Freedom Day, I look to my mom and my ancestors. I think about her strength and the strength of Black people as a whole.
About 6 years ago, I started my fitness journey because fitness gave me a haven, a place to train and mentally get away from everything. I was training on my own twice a day and putting in the work as a trainer at Lifetime Fitness. Even through going the struggle of balancing my time and being tired, my love for bodybuilding fueled me. That love kept me going to stay focused, and I developed my “Brett Mario” persona. To me that means whatever you put your mind to, you can make it happen. You need to network and put in the work. A lot of people want things, especially with fitness, to happen overnight, but the Brett Mario I am today is the result of 6 years of work. The seed was planted when I was born and then I nurtured it every day once I figured out that I wanted to commit to fitness for my life.
Starting my journey at age 22, my coach recognized immediately that I had an athletic frame. I took bodybuilding so seriously that by the time I ever got on stage to compete I won my first show. Being on stage brought me back to when I played sports and reminded me of how competitive and I am. I loved feeling on top of the world and wanted to keep feeling that. So, in the offseason I put on 20 lbs of muscle. And then I went to my first national show in the Miami Nationals and got 6th place in one of the hardest national shows. Then I went to the Mr. Universe and got 3rd place. Then I got 2nd in the Arnold Amateur, and in 2019 I won the Junior Nationals. My commitment only grew; I’ve been prepping and maintaining my body since 2016 and never slowed down.
After those first competitions, becoming an IFBB professional in 2 ½ years and starting my own business, the Work Factory, are my proudest accomplishments. The Work Factory is my brand, and it stands for the idea that when you solidify your foundation, you are also strengthening yourself for your kids and the next generation. That strength for the future is core to me, especially for Juneteenth. For me, Juneteenth is about uplifting and celebrating Black culture. It’s the representation, celebration, and unity of Black culture, and it’s about remembering all the things that people had to go through. Think about Harriet Tubman, freeing hundreds of slaves knowing she could lose her life. She knew she could die at any moment but wanted to save people. I look at all the prominent people throughout our history like Fredrick Douglas, Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcom X. All these prominent people made a big impact. Their strength and impact carry up to our generation, and I want to keep that going and use my voice to inspire and motivate.
Bodybuilding saved my life and gave me a true purpose to help other people. Also, being a figure on social media made me realize my impact. People message me telling me they went on my page, and it helped them get through tough times. Being able to inspire people with my grind and journey means a lot to me; I don’t take it for granted. It’s my job to use my platform for the right reasons and do right by not only myself, but also my family, friends, and other people. I want to help lead others through tough times because life isn’t easy. I tell myself that I’ve been put in this position for a reason, and that responsibility makes me go hard. The purpose is always bigger than me, and I’m going to make it happen. We always want more, but we should appreciate what we have before we can expect to get more. You can’t take life for granted. It’s short.
My plan for the future is to continue to build my platform, become an Olympian, and continue building with Cellucor®. I want to take the Work Factory to the next level – turn it from online coaching into a major gym. I don’t want the gym to just cater to one type of group and only be a bodybuilding or CrossFit gym. I want it to be for everyone and continue to be a voice and motivator because my purpose is to help others. Helping others and strengthening my family is my mantra. I hope to improve the foundation around family to build that wealth for years to come. The lesson of my life has been to manifest everything. Speak it into existence every day. Every day when I did cardio, I said I’d be a pro bodybuilder and it happened for me. I tell people to focus on what really matters, their goals, and keep their mindset right. Manifest everything you want in life, don’t quit and put the necessary work behind it.