Terrill Ware got knocked down. He had a good job and then one day he was in a car accident. The accident gave him two bulging discs in his neck, which necessitated surgery to replace them and take two years off work. Managing the pain and learning to function again was only the beginning of his story. Months of activity had left him with terrible eating habits, high blood pressure and an enormous weight gain.
Injuries compounded by weight gain are an awful combination. The pain makes it difficult to work out, the weight gain is demoralizing. It can become an unbreakable cycle. At 30 years old, Terrill got a wake call in the form of a prescription for high blood pressure. “I was too young to be on those kind of drugs,” he says, “I knew I had to do something because I clearly wasn’t living right.”
His clients speak of Terrill in admiring tones. “I know he understands what I’m going through because I know he’s been there” says Diane Aquila, a loyal client. Diane lost approximately 140 pounds with Terrill’s help. “Somedays, you really don’t feel like doing it, maybe you can’t do it the way he’s doing it and he’ll stop and figure out a way for you to do it that works for you” she says.
There’s no shame in the game in Terrill’s program because he knows there is a tranche of the public that wants to take control of their fitness but feel out-of-place in the big-box fitness centers.
It was a combination of his own personal transformation and something in his character that landed him where he is now. When he came back to work after two years recovering, people were shocked when they saw him. “People were like, man, what happened to you? How did you lose all that weight? You look great, how did you do it?” He started sharing his program and philosophy with a few colleagues and friends in Delaware Park and it ballooned into a business.
Now, after years of hard work and looking for the right place to open his own concept-gym, Terrill isn’t just transforming lives, like he transformed his own life six years ago. He is now transforming a landmark building in one of Buffalo’s most important neighborhoods.
“I chose this building because it’s in the middle of a community. I want to give back to the community.” The gym, in the location of the former Mickey Rats, was once one of the hottest nightclub and bars in Buffalo. Terrill has reimagined the space in bright colors with an inclusive and energetic feel. Echoes of the building’s nightclub past can be felt when the Body of Wealth hosts its “Fitness Parties” like they did this Halloween. In warmer weather they open the garage doors that open onto the sidewalk, pull out the stationary bikes and blast some of the most infectious dance music for spinning sessions.
What resonates so strongly though, isn’t the flash and the boom, although that makes moving irresistible. It’s what you feel when you walk in the door as a stranger. For the City of Good Neighbors, even though anyone will stop what they’re doing to help push you out of a snow drift, sometimes, new people on the scene have a hard time making connections. Our bike riding club, the East Side Bike Club stopped into the Body of Wealth on one of our Saturday rides during the summer. Knowing no one, I ran into the gym to use the restroom.
On the 150 foot walk from the sidewalk, to the restroom I was greeted with smiles, hellos and welcomes every 25 steps. It wasn’t the obligatory, “hello” you get from the shop keeper when you walk in. Instead, I felt like I just stumbled upon old friends.
I asked a few of Terrill’s long-time clients why they keep coming back, now that they’d achieved their weight and fitness goals. Diane Aquila explained, “When I was down, there were people that were further along than me, and they offered me encouragement. It’s not just the instructors but my fellow classmates. You feel like you’re doing as a team, now I do the same to the others that are coming up. It’s family.”
Terrill’s philosophy guides how he teaches, how he relates to his instructors and how he brings the clientele to a higher meaning of being physically fit, “I tell them, it’s not just about fitness, it’s that it’s not about your exercise plan, nor your nutrition plan, it’s more about your life plan. When your life plan is right, everything else falls into place.” To him, a life plan isn’t a selfish pursuit, he says, “When you’re good to people, the Universe has a way of bring the right people together.”