One-time maximum security inmate changes life through fitness
COLUMBIA - Almost 10 years ago, Cory Crosby was about to start serving eight and a half years in a maximum security prison for robbery. He says he was overweight and had an attitude problem.
Today, he is a muscular fitness trainer with his own business.
"Fitness makes you care about yourself," Crosby said. "It adds structure to your life that allows you to know that it's ok for things to be hard."
Crosby decided it was time to turn his life around when he was in prison. As he was surrounded by people serving life sentences, he said, he knew he couldn't waste his next opportunity.
"I knew I had a second chance to get out and do something with myself," Crosby said. "And I wanted to work on that."
He started exercising regularly and eventually was even asked to teach a fitness class for other inmates.
"I went from being one of the most out of shape, unproductive inmates to one of the top fit," Crosby said. "And a role model. It was an eye opener how powerful fitness was."
Once Crosby was released, he started looking for jobs in fitness. However, no other gyms would hire him.
So he applied for his own business license. And after being denied at first, eventually he was able to open his own gym, 2 R.E.A.L. Fitness.
"The '2' in '2 R.E.A.L.' stands for second chances, I went with that because I know everybody needs a second chance," Crosby said. "I was given one."
'R.E.A.L.' stands for 'relating exercise and life,' Crosby said, because that is how he turned his own life around.
"I don't just focus on getting people fit in the gym, I want to see results in your life as well," Crosby said.
Crosby is proud of what he has been able to accomplish, especially now that he is a father for the third time.
“This has been a really difficult first year for me, but I wouldn’t change a thing because I was actually able to see a plan come to life," Crosby said. "By me sticking to that plan, my son is the first Crosby that was born and he doesn’t have to be in that cycle, he doesn’t have to witness that. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.”