Riddick beats expectations

Published 8:46 pm Friday, March 25, 2016

Amos Riddick assists a member of his boot camp class in stretching on Wednesday at the Salvation Army.

Amos Riddick assists a member of his boot camp class in stretching on Wednesday at the Salvation Army.

Amos “Jay” Riddick’s parents were told after he was born prematurely that he would never be able to run or do anything else that would put too much stress on his heart.

He had open-heart surgery at the age of 4 months to correct its poor development. Throughout his childhood, he was told he couldn’t play sports or even run with the other kids.

But he ignored all of that, and now he is a personal trainer inspiring others toward their fitness goals and hopes to someday open his own gym.

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“I just got tired of it,” Riddick said of the repeated admonitions, doctor’s visits and tests. “I just started doing it on my own. I would run around the block and see how my heart would react to it.”

It started with running around the block, but Riddick now runs about 20 miles every other day. He is a former Norfolk State University police officer, but he resigned from that job to follow his true passion: fitness.

“It was something that I loved doing,” Riddick, a Lakeland High School graduate, said of law enforcement. “I liked doing it, because I was told I couldn’t do it.”

These days, Riddick has a number of clients who come to him for fitness and nutrition training. He also holds group classes at the Salvation Army.

“I just try to educate everybody,” he said. “I’m not one of those guys that have all the information and want to keep it to myself.”

Riddick has achieved his level of physical fitness without any kind of diet pills. That was one piece of doctor’s advice he paid attention to.

“You’re happy you’re shedding weight so fast, but you can’t see what’s going on,” Riddick said. “It’s not good for you. There’s a lot more to fitness than taking pills.”

He gives clients advice on nutrition, as well as exercise. He urges them to avoid refined sugar and choose natural sugar, such as that in fruit, instead.

“Nutrition is a big part of fitness,” he said.

Robin Evans has been a student of Riddick’s for several months.

“I enjoy the pain,” she said, adding that she decided to sign up after having her daughter, who is now 20 months old. “I was just trying to lose the baby weight.”

Riddick is certified in health, fitness, nutrition and personal training, but he aims to own his own gym one day.

“My goal is to start my own gym that can cater to people in a low-budget area of Suffolk,” he said. “It will be open 24 hours.”

Riddick currently is holding a boot camp at the Salvation Army, which ends Friday. However, he plans a spring break boot camp for students and holds the boot camps on a regular basis.

Call Riddick at 228-9375.