Former addict uses his darkest moments to inspire others to create their brightestMay 06, 2022 02:34PM ● By Sarah Segovia
Farmington local Rob Eastman’s entire world revolves around mental health. He is an entrepreneur, life coach, motivational speaker and gym owner – all of which tie into his mission of mental health advocacy.
“Ultimately my camps and gym are a place where youth and adults can come to find themselves, find leadership and come out stronger, kinder and better prepared for the real world,” said Eastman. “I started Eastman Fitness And Wellness to help fight addiction because I've been on the dark side of addiction and it’s not easy. I wanted to be there to guide people to the other side, by their side. But I quickly found our community is struggling with not just addiction, but mental health in general. Fitness and nutrition are a great way to teach people resilience. I teach people how to do hard things in a safe environment.”
Eastman said as a kid he struggled a lot, especially in school. “I had ADHD so it was hard to sit still and learn. The only thing I ever felt like I was good at was athletics. Fitness for me became my journey into recovery. Since then, I placed in the top 150 at the World Championship of obstacle racing in 2012, ran over 13 ultra marathons, and began learning MMA and boxing. In April 2017, I even led a group of cancer survivors, doctors, and supporters who wanted to challenge themselves to hike Mt.Everest Base Camp.”
Eastman Fitness is open to the public, but only accepts 20 private session clients at a time. “It is kind of like a recovery gym,” he said. “We do have some clients who are recovering addicts. We also teach life skills as part of our client sessions. Through our program families have been saved. We just started a summer teen lifting class (age 13-17) for mindset, leadership and fitness.” They also teach women’s self defense upon request.
“I would say I have done a Master’s level of self-study in psychology,” said Eastman. “There is a correlation between mental health, fitness and nutrition. It’s all about finding what works for each person. My goal is to expose youth to different activities to help them find their passion and groove. If they can develop a skill that makes them feel good they can use that later to help them center themselves. I believe in teaching kids that fitness is fun, but some kids would rather paint than go for a run and that can still be a great outlet.”
That’s what inspired Eastman to start his summer camp for kids. “Growing up I was bullied and made fun of for the way that I looked,” he said. “I wanted to create a place youth could feel safe, build confidence, feel they are a part of something and overcome their fears of trying new things.”
Some kids are super introverted and they may do better with a horse where they can be silent, learn to take care of an animal and get some sunlight, said Eastman. “We teach the kids how to feed the horses, clean their hoofs, brush them and educate them about these animals. This is an opportunity for kids, not to avoid their fear or give into their anxieties, but to face and overcome them.”
When kids see a big muscly guy with tattoos get vulnerable and speak gently, it encourages them to do the same, he said. “I know there are many camps out there and they are probably great, but not everyone has been through what I have been through. My goal is to help kids see that they don't have to fit the mold. We can all still work together to make the world a better place.”
Eastman’s 13-year-old daughter teaches riding lessons at his summer camp. “That peer-to-peer time is so important and seeing her at her age do it makes the other kids feel more confident that they can do it too” he said. “Sometimes kids are more willing to listen when someone on their level talks to them.”
The gym also applies fitness, yoga, mindfulness and mental health aspects to the summer camp. “We aim to give kids the life skills to handle their own feelings and problems,” said Eastman. “Showing kids how strong they are physically and mentally, helps to turn out more equipped kids who can better deal with anything they are facing. We do offer scholarships as well, so that all kids have access to this great opportunity. Getting help is a sign of strength.”
To learn more go to eastmanfitnessutah.com or follow Eastman on Instagram @tattooedlifecoach8 or check out his Stand & Fight podcast where he talks about all things mental health. λ