Jared Harrison ('11) has faced plenty of obstacles in his life. And not just the type the kinesiology alum found on the football field, back when he played for the Mean Green. Harrison has battled everything from a Type I diabetes diagnosis to the fears of losing his mother to breast cancer.
It's all made him strong enough to show others how to be strong, too.
That's a big reason why Harrison, along with business partner Isaiah Stanback, started Steadfast Fitness and Performance, an athletic performance facility in Coppell.
"Owning my own performance facility is like a personal trainer's dream come true," Harrison says. "We get to set the tone, build our own all-star team and create our own culture."
But like many things in his life, it hasn't always been easy. Still, he says, it's worth it.
"As a business owner, you have to maintain daily operations, finances, administrative work, processes and procedures, hiring, payroll and marketing," he says. "It's a labor of love that starts very early in the morning and often goes late into the night."
He pushes through obstacles thanks to his faith and his mother, Pamel Harrison, who won her battle with cancer. That thought encourages Harrison to keep going.
"'Being Steadfast' is something I live by," he says. "No matter what curveballs or distractions life throws at me, I keep moving forward."
That motto also helped guide Harrison through his Type I diabetes diagnosis in 2009.
"Having Type I was difficult at first, especially trying to adjust to playing football," he says. "Having to check my blood sugar before games, keeping Gatorade on the sideline and catching random cramps during exercise were only a few things I had to deal with."
As a trainer, he now can offer guidance to others with the same chronic illness.
"It's always a pleasure assisting diabetic athletes because the Type I community is very small and tight knit," Harrison says. "There are things like handling post-game high blood sugars that add another dimension to being a mentor and trainer."
Even throughout COVID-19, Steadfast remained strong through the use of technology, which made it easy to reach members. They reopened their facility May 18th.
"With gyms opening, it's very important that people still follow safety protocols," Harrison says. "To stay safe, people can have a mask and closed finger gloves ready to put on when working out in small groups and touching weight equipment."
And for those who aren't ready to return to indoor workout spaces, Harrison says don't let that be an obstacle to fitness -- there are still plenty of ways to stay healthy and keep moving.
"Get creative and use things at your house to elevate your workouts," he says. "Also, use the outdoors. Take your workouts outside for more space or add additional sprints or runs into your routine."