BY: KABRENA ROBINSON
For Rhondel Marshall, fitness has always been much more than a hobby but rather a lifestyle, one that has prompted his immense interest in assisting others in becoming the best version of themselves physically.
Marshall regards his employment in fitness as not merely a personal trainer but an “aesthetic director”, as the ‘holistic’ training and mentorship he provides for each of his clients goes way beyond just physical fitness.
“When it comes to aesthetics, not only is it about the workout but it’s about the look. It’s about skin care, it’s about how you carry yourself, what you eat and how you eat,” said Marshall. “So, I not only offer the training aspect, it’s about healthy living and how you look as well.”
This has been the vision behind his independently crafted fitness brand ‘Built by Rhondy’ a brand that wholly represents the service he provides.
Marshall was born in Canada to parents of Trinidadian and Jamaican background, identifying more with Trinidadian roots. He spent most of his formative years living within the Jane and Finch area of Toronto. Though his upbringing was of humble circumstance, Marshall expressed that he was always optimistic and determined to progress. In his later years, he moved to Brampton to live with his paternal family. While adjusting to a new environment, he dabbled in various fields such as accounting, policing and computer engineering. All through this, one thing remained consistent in his life, his unwavering dedication towards his own fitness and health.
Growing up in a predominately Trinidadian household, his indulgence in the annual ‘Caribana’ events was inherent. Marshall shared that his involvement in modeling for various costume sections over the years has been one of the major reasons for his consistent fitness lifestyle, so trips to the gym have always been a regular routine for him.
During a regular workout session at an LA Fitness gym, Marshall was approached by the manager who offered him a job at the facility. He went on to work as an assistant personal training director at LA Fitness. While working at the facility, Marshall discovered that his interest in fitness could be made into a specialized craft.
“It was something that I always wanted to pursue,” he said. “I guess I just wasn’t courageous enough to do it nor did I believe that it was possible for me but working there made me realize what I really wanted for myself and what I was capable of.”
Soon after, Marshall resigned his position at LA Fitness, due to circumstances that conflicted with his initial goals of becoming a personal trainer and mentor. He went on to pursue it independently. While providing personal training services to a clientele that he managed to build over time, and receiving much positive feedback, the idea to develop his own brand was fully conceptualized.
“One of the main reasons I wanted to do it is because the way I gained success at LA Fitness I feel that if you are good at something then you should get paid for it,” he said.
“Work is when you don’t like what you are doing and fitness has always been a big part of my life. Fitness is what I do and I’m going to be doing fitness for the rest of my life. So, I thought why not now turn this into a brand and turn it into something that I can administer to people.”
With this vision that he has seen come to fruition, Marshall has now taken his branding a bit further with his recent venture, ‘Built by Rhondy’ gym apparel. This he said came to him as a way to not only popularize his brand but to also expand his service of providing the ‘holistic’ fitness experience.
Available are a wide variety of fitness gear and accessories for all genders, including leggings, tights, compression tank tops, hoodies, track pants, toques, smart watches and more, with the goal to add a line of different apparels in the future.
Marshall expressed that what sets him and his line of work apart from others is his determination to go way beyond the norm of what is expected of a typical personal trainer.
“I feel like most trainers they come and they just tell you ‘run here, lift this, pull that’ and they call it a day but for me, I instruct and provide consultation on so many things,” he said. “With me, it’s not just about training and you achieve whatever goal in two days, with me it’s about living, fitness is a lifestyle. It’s a lifelong thing.”
“With my brand, I want to show truth, my brand is about integrity, my brand is about consistency, those are the things I preach.”
Regarding future plans for this brand, Marshall expressed his hopes to see his business progressing in the future well enough to be able to expand and open his own fitness facility.
“I want to be able to reach more people and actually establish an operation with more professionals and make it even more worthwhile and trustworthy,” he said.
“Fitness is something that you will have to test, something that you will have to figure out, no one thing works for every single person so when it comes to fitness I show that it needs to be deviated from what the industry or social media has turned it into. I feel like individuals who are actually willing to do what it takes to be fit and healthy are the individuals that we need to focus on.”
Those wishing to support ‘Build by Rhondy’ may do so by following the Instagram page @builtbyrhondy for more updates and information on services and products provided.