If you could imagine a photo being placed beside the description of words and phrases like Fired-Up, Driven or Motivated, you would likely have a few people come to mind to fill that photo spot. If you had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with the man I am interviewing today, you would have to throw those pictures out and swap them out with his photo. I left our discussion energized and fired-up… and eager to put him in touch with my son. Now, you get an amazing opportunity to get a glimpse into the life of an amazing and inspiring man on a mission… my new friend, and soon to be yours, Lynch Hunt.
Lynch is a self-proclaimed systems fanatic! Everything that he does has a system behind it and when that system is not fine-tuned, he is going to tune it up so he can get back to maximizing his every action and thought. You might be asking yourself, “How does someone operate like a machine?” Well, Lynch has figured it out and stands ready to share his processes and systems-based methods with you. As a matter of fact, you can learn about much of what he has learned, mastered and shared, in any one of the six books that he has written and published. Lynch has a rather interesting life-journey that has him positioned where he is at right now.
Lynch lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he owns and operates AWOL Fitness, and spends his time generating success stories for those that have the opportunity to work with him. Okay, you are in for a treat… I introduce you to the Systems Master… Mr. Lynch Hunt.
Lynch, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to share this valuable time with me today. The world is slowly starting to get some life back into it now that we are getting some reductions in the COVID-19 precautionary measures. With that we are slowly starting to explore the new normal, which I am sure looks different for everyone. With all the crazy that’s going on, how are you, your family and your fitness community doing during all of this?
Thanks for asking Brother! As the leader of my family, the leader of my community and a thought leader in general, people rarely ask us how we, as leaders, are doing. So I thank you for that courtesy.
As an agent of change I have no choice but to evolve or face extinction. I have no choice but to adapt or die.
So, with that being said, myself, my family and my community have all made the necessary adjustments to Thrive, Strive & Survive during these times.
Before I jump into some questions that will help your readers get to know more about you and what you do, I want to give you a chance to tell us a little more about yourself before we get started.
I’m an author, motivational speaker and Transformational Specialist that uses fitness as my main platform to educate, motivate and empower people to transform their mind and body to ultimately live a life of prosperity and abundance.
My ability to generate results and transformations on a consistent basis has made me a trusted authority in the community, and now I have become someone of importance when it comes to change and adding value.
But, I believe my most important role now is being the greatest husband and father I can be for my wife (Wendy) and three daughters (Khadeejah, Trinity and Legacy), by being the example of what they need to see in a great man.
As I mentioned in the introduction, you left me on a “high” after we last spoke. I told my wife and my son that I got a ton of notes to reflect back on when I need a boost to keep me moving forward. You stated during our initial discussion that you knew from an early age that you were a leader. What did you do with that realization and what lessons did you learn on your life-journey? Please share your story and how it really impacted what you do today and who you are.
I’m from a small town called Beverly, New Jersey. It’s geographically small, but riddled with the poverty and drugs of any of the larger northern cities. I had to work for everything I ever had. My mom, Barbara, was a single mother raising three children on her own. Despite not having much, I was always influential in my demographic, even from an early age. As a kid, all of my friends would gather at my house and I would be the one to come up with the games we would play that day, or determine the destination for our bike rides. In the fall and winter I would convince my friends to all work together to rake leaves and shovel snow for money, so we could buy more of the latest video games for us to play.
As I grew older, I was the captain of every sports team I ever played on, all the way through high school. Believe me, it wasn’t because I was talented, but because I never liked being at the bottom. I always did what was needed to rise to the top or be considered the best in whatever I was involved in. I even had the chance to provide speeches at the pep rallies. In high school, I was voted most athletic, most likely to succeed, class clown, best legs and the person that talked the least but said the most.
All the qualities of a leader were there when I had people watching over me and people holding me accountable. Qualities like drive, discipline, hard work and being the example, awarded me the opportunity to go to college on scholarship to play football and basketball, but it didn’t last very long. I developed a bad habit as a young kid that would eventually lead me out of school and into the life of street hustling and drug dealing.
When I was about 9 years old my younger brother and myself would always ask our mother for 10 more minutes of sleep each morning when she would come wake us to start the day. Little did I know we were cultivating what I now call “a snooze-button habit.”
That habit continued as I entered college, but the big difference was that my mother was no longer there to wake me up. And… then it began! I began to wake up late and get to class late. I eventually started to miss class. At that point, the downward spiral was in full motion. My grades slipped and I started failing classes. Which led me to drop classes so my GPA didn’t get affected, but little did I know I would no longer be a full-time student. I was then ineligible to play and ineligible to stay. My scholarships were gone, along with housing, and so ended my short-lived college career. With that, I found myself back in my hood and around everything and everyone that was up to no good.
Man, that was clearly not how you expected things to go coming out of high school on such a good note, only to see it all crumble before you due to a bad habit. So what happened once you returned to all the things that you didn’t want to be influenced by?
Good question, but I have to say that things did not get any better for me, despite my deluded viewpoint at that time. I hung around my childhood friends everyday and watched them make money from dealing drugs, day-in and day-out. They always had new clothes, new sneaks, jewelry and money in their pockets. The influence in my life started to shift. I got tired of being the one with no money when it came time to have fun. They say “you are the sum of the 5 people you hang around with the most.” And, unfortunately, I became exactly what I was around the most.
Remember those leadership qualities of drive, discipline and work ethic? How about the systems I used to create. Well, I put that discipline, worth ethic and energy into dealing drugs and I became the best of the bad guys. I started out as a low-level drug dealer. However, since I never liked the bottom of anything I rose to the top of the food chain and eventually became the leader of an 8.3 million dollar drug ring. I was on top of the world… or so I thought. Things changed quickly when an 18-month DEA and Federal investigation coined “Operation Summer Heat” led to the largest drug bust in Burlington County, New Jersey history.
I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I saw one of those video game endings “GAME OVER” flash before my eyes while I was being arrested by 30 DEA agents. I was having what I now call a “S.E.E. Moment.” That moment is a Significant Emotional Event that jars you from going along with the status quo of your life as it is at that moment. I told myself this is not me, this is not who you were meant to be and this is not how you will remember me!
Lynch… that’s crazy man! So tell us what changed from that point on.
The day those handcuffs went on my hands and feet, the shackles finally came off my mind. I would not allow myself to be trapped by my circumstances… the walls of confinement.
I knew I would be a new seed in a new environment; so I decided then and there, what kind of seed I would be and eventually grow into. I even wrote a letter to the judge at my sentencing and stated how I would use my time in the system in a way that I could take advantage of my chance at redemption.
I was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. And I used that time to develop a new me… a new seed. I used my time in the system to learn, study, practice and master health and wellness, psychology, self-help, human behavior, finances and relationships. I read every book I could possibly get my hands on. Sometimes choosing to spend the money that was sent to me on books rather than in the commissary. I earned multiple certifications in health and wellness through correspondence courses and I decided to pursue personal training as a career.
I am just as amazed and inspired now, by your story, as I was when you were sharing it with me in our first meeting. You have taken all that has happened in your life and shared lessons, roadmaps and solutions as an author of six books. As I understand it, you also take that same material and use it as coursework and teaching points in various forums. Please share more about your books and how you connect with people and serve up life-changing experiences.
Yes, I’ve taken everything that I’ve learned on my journey, from every book that I’ve read to every aspect of organized sports and school, to the streets and jail.
Along the way, I learned how to reverse engineer any goal, any dream or any desire. I’ve written all of my books as curriculum-based writing, because I knew that I couldn’t get people to excel in their efforts for weight loss and fitness without helping them train their mindset. They say, “The body won’t go anywhere the mind doesn’t tell it to go.” It is my purpose to help the mind first so the body can follow.
My book, “7 levels of Discipline that Manifest Success” teaches people the process of manifestation. In “Accelerate your Resultz” I teach people how to reverse engineer their goals. “Prison to Prosperity” teaches the principles of self-development. Each book has a companion workbook and affirmation deck of cards to go along with it. I now use these comprehensive step-by-step methods as curricula to deprogram and reprogram people as the fundamentals in my 30, 60 and 90-day programs for transformation.
You have obviously created great levels of success for yourself and others. Please share a particular AWOL success story that really stands out to you.
A couple of years ago one of my clients referred Tracey McCain to me. She is the host of WFMY News Channel 2, “The Good Morning Show.” When we met, she just had her first child and gained 70lbs during the pregnancy. She needed to go back on-air just as she left, if not better. With hard work, she lost 80lbs before her return, and as she hit the air each day, people noticed her new look and wondered how she did it. I started to get recurring interview segments, and shortly after became their resident fitness expert. Then Tracey got pregnant again with her second child and, again with our and her hard work, she lost another 80lbs. I had the perfect client, who had the right platform with the right audience across the entire Triad.
That’s a powerful success story… thanks for sharing it. If there was something that makes you and AWOL Fitness different from other trainers and gyms, what would it be?
I feel one of the major differences is that my focus, and the focus of my trainers, starts with the mind, before anything else. I believe in transcendence more than transformation, and neither can truly happen without a renewal of the mind. Having the right mindset is the key to everything else that happens… in the gym and life! With this mindset-focused approach, our clients see more success and new results. That serves as motivation and further solidifies the proper mindset for lasting change. And, as I shared with you earlier, while many trainers are program experts, I am a process expert. Efficiency equals speed, and that gets people from A to B and B to C, faster.
What new and exciting things are on the horizon for you and AWOL Fitness?
The future is pretty exciting for AWOL Fitness, to include my trainers and our constantly growing AWOL community. I have been recording videos for years now and have about 500 just waiting to be put to good use and I’m finishing up another 500. Well, that time has come and AWOL Fitness is going to have a brand new fitness app launched in the next month or two, which will allow me to put those videos out there for clients to use as they transform and transcend to an even better version of themselves. Another opportunity that is coming soon is a new look at how AWOL Fitness serves our fitness community. My trainers and I have already created safely spaced workout boxes with everything they will be needed to workout, complete with monitors on the wall so our trainers can safely lead everyone in the workout no matter where they are.
As I pivoted to allow virtual operations in a social-distanced COVID-19 environment, I realized that AWOL Fitness is not limited by the physical space of an actual large gym. We have put together a plan to launch what will be called AWOL Express locations, where we can maximize time and minimize the amount of space and cost needed to host clients for workouts. I am excited for this newly developed aspect of our business model to launch.
In light of all that is going on these days with social distancing, the virtual training business has boomed. I believe you said that you have been able to train 400 people, which has never been done before. Share a bit on how that happened and how that is driving the next-step, new look for AWOL Fitness.
I learned to take everything that happens to me and turn it around to work for me. Just like I used my time in prison to my advantage, I used what COVID was throwing at me to scale my business and develop a model that you can profit the most from.
They say “necessity is the mother of invention”… out of necessity, due to COVID, we developed a way to deliver our unique services without the building we thought we needed.
We know that COVID isn’t going away anytime soon and they predict it to come back as the weather gets cold. We are being told that COVID isn’t going away for good, even when things lighten up, so we have to be prepared. Just as I learned in sports, we will make the adjustments, then build on them for future success.
Our AWOL community has created new habits and adapted to a new way of life, and have become reconditioned to train in a new way. They have made the adjustment and so have we. Now, we keep the adjustment and use it to our advantage. I like the statement, “Stay ready so you ain’t gotta get ready!”
Okay, I’m gonna get a little more personal on this next question. What do you think the early-day AWOL followers, those that shared all or a portion of your 10-year incarceration, would say about what you’ve done with your life?
Many people would say he’s walking in his purpose and using his gifts to practice his unique calling. But the real visionary in this entire story is my wife who is in law enforcement. She took a chance on love by seeing me not for the man I was, but by seeing as the man that I could become. I say visionary because sight is a function of eyes, but vision is a function of the heart. She took a chance on love and followed her heart. Perhaps you know of James Allen’s book, As a Man Thinketh. Well, in his book he shares this powerful thought, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” My wife followed her heart and I am a better man because of that choice.
The heart of hearts is the seed of the soul. The seed of the soul is the mind, the will and the emotions. Her blind investments of love, faith and belief were priceless, so everyday I wake up with efforts to give her a return on those investments and more.
When we first spoke, you shared your perspective on the similarities of working with fitness clients and corporate clients. You used a word that we both relate to very well, connection. Would you mind expanding on this topic a bit more, and tell us how connection is the driver for successful outcomes… whether flipping tires and slamming battle ropes or running business operations?
Connection is the key to all successful relationships. Connection allows you to communicate. See, everyone can communicate, but without a connection it means nothing. Have you ever lost service (connection) in the middle of a call, but you were still talking? Everything you said after the call dropped meant absolutely nothing because you lost the connection. Connections start with empathy, and empathy starts with WHY. John Maxwell says, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” You have to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and when you’re great at connecting you will develop the skill to put them in yours. When you do this, you start from the inside out. You speak to the part of the brain that controls behavior. People and businesses can tell you what they do and how they do it, but very few of them can tell you why.
I am able to take many of the same lessons that I use in fitness and lifestyle changes and apply them to the corporate world. When I speak to corporate clients, I focus on Productivity, Performance and Profit. I relate it back to the people, because the people make up the corporation, and if the people are not where they need, want and should be, then the corporation suffers. The productivity and performance of the people determines the profitability of the corporation. When I talk about “the people,” I am talking about from the bottom up and the top down. When you connect, you can influence and when you influence, you can make a difference.
I like to end my guest interviews with a lighthearted topic, but one that I think can give a great glimpse into what makes a person great and special at what they do. We already spoke about this earlier, so I am going to spill the beans a little regarding your superpower. You shared with me that you feel your superpower is being a TRANSFORMATION SPECIALIST… like Optimus Prime. You even shared your superhero alter-ego, INCREDIBLE HULK… ”Hulk Smash!” Share a few words about your superpower and superhero self-analogies.
The self is not something one finds, but it’s something that one creates. In my teachings, I teach people how to develop a proper self-concept which is broken down into three parts: self-esteem, self-image and ideal-self. Ideal-self breaks down to the person you wish you could be. In our prosperity practices, I teach grown men and women how to go back to their childhood and remember when they thought they were invincible or the most beautiful princess in the world. This can range from sports figures, idols, superheroes, etc. When you were younger and you believed you were this person or this character, you believed you were invincible. Every time I got new shoes, I believed I could run faster and jump higher. The Nike brand had everyone believing they could “Be Like Mike” because they knew they sold belief as opposed to fact. The ideal-self is based on belief rather than fact. When I get people to tap back into this belief, they can transcend thought, fact and circumstances. Just as I did in prison.
Lynch…thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and allowing myself and those reading this to get to know you on a deeper level. You are truly an inspiring human and a difference-maker in this world. Before you go, can you leave our audience with the best way for someone to get in contact with you?
Thank you for having me. I appreciate your time and it’s been a pleasure to share with you. I can be reached on Instagram at iam_coach_lynch, Facebook at Lynch Hunt, LinkedIn at Lynch Hunt and the website is www.iamcoachlynch.com or www.itsawol.com