By Spc. Sean D. WilliamsAugust 15, 2017
SPRING LAKE, N.C. -- It is truly a wonderful thing when one is able to discover and realize their passion. These precious moments have led to everything from timeless works of art to groundbreaking new technologies, helping us reach the stars. Whether big or small, popular or secret, passions can evolve into remarkable revelations, especially when they help others.
For Capt. Webb, the public affairs officer for 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, his revelation occurred in Korea on an especially cold morning in September 2012.
Though he has always been an athletic individual, the Louisiana native found he required extra motivation to exercise in Korea's harsh winter weather.
"During winter, most peoples' physical activity declines," Webb said. "I wanted simply to get people motivated to work out when it was cold, because I was cold and I didn't like working out in the cold."
Webb said he has always had a passion for physical exercise and helping others. Korea's cold winter provided an opportunity for that passion to flourish.
Webb recruited five of his fellow service members and they organized a morning group workout session on the installations' outdoor track. That first workout sparked the manifestation of Webb's passion and spurred the establishment of All About Fitness Inc.
When Webb returned to the United States in 2014, All About Fitness Inc., also known as AAF, grew exponentially from its original volunteers and participants. Looking to cultivate the organization further and embracing the spirit of helping others, Webb said he and his fellow associates realized they needed to differentiate AAF from all the other fitness groups that saturate the market. In the cacophony of regimens that seem to bombard one's senses should they venture into that market, Webb didn't want AAF to melt into the masses.
"When I came back to the United States I realized that there were all types--thousands and maybe even millions--of fitness groups out there in the world," said Webb. "So, in an effort to make All About Fitness different, we sat down … and said we need to make ourselves different than all of these other groups out there.
"In the Army, they teach you about total fitness, so, we kind of took that model and said in order to be totally fit, you need to be more than physically fit," Webb continued.
Building upon the physical aspect of fitness, Webb said he and his associates determined four additional avenues of development. Thus, AAF incorporated legal, financial, mental, and spiritual fitness into its mission.
In addition to daily workouts, AAF offers professional counseling and development on these other foundational avenues. The five-pronged approach to fitness has helped AAF grow its current operations to four states (North Carolina, Georgia, New York, and California) and garner 15,000 followers, according to Webb.
As All About Fitness Inc. continues to grow, Webb said his passion and drive to volunteer his time and talent to the organization does so in-kind.
"I know the thing that drives me to get up at 4:55 a.m. every single morning is seeing peoples' lives change," Webb said, smiling. "Not only physically, but seeing their lives change for the better legally, financially, spiritually, and mentally. That's what drives me."
For him, a favorite story is of Fayetteville, North Carolina native Melvena Moses.
"Melvena Moses is like the 2016 to 2017 poster child of All About Fitness because she really took every aspect of fitness and she took it to the heart," Webb said. "You could tell her life changed and her two daughters' lives changed in the process."
Prior to joining AAF, Melvena Moses, a speech pathologist, suffered from low self-esteem and a litany of stresses as a single mom of two. After an emotional dress-fitting in the summer of 2016, Moses found her way to Webb and AAF during a health fair conducted at her church. After chatting with Webb, Moses said she decided to attend her first AAF exercise session in early August.
"To be honest, I thought I was going to die," Moses said. "It was the hardest thing I've ever done. I had my younger daughter with no pain medication and those workouts were harder [than that had been] at the beginning."
Moses said Webb didn't leave her to suffer, however. Moses beamed as she remembered the first gatherings.
"He said, if you can't run, just walk," Moses said. "You have to stick with it. He ran with me. This 19-year Army veteran took the time to run with me [and] walk with me. He got down and did sit-ups with me. So, in a way, I was never the last one to finish."
From her first session last August to today, Moses has lost a hard-earned 30 pounds. Moses said her transformation has been so profound that her own mother didn't recognize her at a December wedding.
Now, Webb is preparing Moses for a personal trainer certification, as she has taken a leading role in AAF's Spring Lake exercise sessions. She's excited about a future with personal training and would even like to compete in fitness competitions and events.
"I've gotten physically strong, physically fit, but I'm excited about everything--every single thing," Moses said, grinning.
Moses's joy and enthusiasm is shared by many involved in AAF, including Davida Dickson, another North Carolina member.
Dickson was invited to AAF by her business partner and close friend out of her desire to get back in shape after having her latest child.
"At first I didn't like it, I couldn't even plank," laughed Dickson, as she thought back to her first memory of AAF. But, she said as she's continued exercising with AAF and met others in the group, she's fallen in love with the organization and its people.
"It really is a family thing," Dickson reflected. "Since I've been in AAF, I've been more consistent. Now I have accountability because I have these other ladies who work out with me."
Dickson said she especially enjoys AAF's total-life approach to fitness.
"AAF doesn't just help in the physical workouts that we do, it's a health change and a health change is a life change," Dickson said. "AAF will always have an impact on my life, no matter where I go."
Beyond helping individual participants achieve fitness throughout life, All About Fitness even attempts to help those in need within its chapters' local communities, said Webb. Through about six drives a year, AAF members collect goods to contribute to various segments of the community who might be struggling to make ends meet. Drives have included a collection of winter coats, hats, and gloves to distribute to those in need of warm clothing and a Thanksgiving drive that has provided "Boxes of Love" to feed families during the holiday.
Currently, AAF is in the midst of its back-to-school drive and plans to give away 1,600 backpacks full of new school supplies.
"It's more than just coming and sweating," said Webb. "It's more than just the workout. It's total fitness. It's a family thing. We're community-oriented, family-oriented."
Though it hasn't resulted in a Picasso or a space-traveling mechanism, Webb's passion to help others is truly remarkable. The simple act of volunteering his time and talent has transformed lives and brightened futures.
"There are many days that I'm tired, that I'm aching, that I'm sore from several workouts a day, mentally drained," Webb continued. "But seeing lives change is what makes it all worth it."