Turning Pain into Passion: Brett Hoebel

While searching for an inspirational person to feature in this month’s Verizon fitness theme, I came across Brett Hoebel on Twitter.  Brett’s posts really struck a chord with me, especially his article The True Power of Inner Strength.

Brett’s ideas about “Fitness From Within” resonated with me because, at times, I have personally struggled with my own journey.  I, too, was bullied as a child—and even as a young adult in the corporate world—for being “too skinny.”

As I read Brett’s article about inner strength, it brought back the memory of a time that my supervisor was criticizing my body, and an older gentleman observing the exchange came to my rescue.  This man rebuked my boss, then pulled me aside and suggested that I ignore such criticism. What we look like on the outside doesn’t necessarily represent who we are on the inside.

Inspired by Brett’s posts and buoyed by the memory of one person’s kindness, I reached out to Brett, who was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me about his passion.

I find his dedication truly inspiring.  He really walks the walk (or “runs the run,” given his fitness level).

How has social media enhanced your fitness message?

Social media has enhanced my fitness message by allowing me to reach more people, people that I do not know, people in other countries, and at a much faster rate than ever before. I think the beauty of social media is that your message can become “social” and be spread amongst people, their friends, and their followers in a very organic way. People are searching for inspiration and information… and are motivated to share it with the world.  I feel very honored when I see people appreciating my message and sharing it.  I know I am making a difference and that is one of the main reasons I do what I do.

Because social media is so “public”, I believe you have to be willing to open open up and share your thoughts and experiences with authenticity and truth.  I have become more accountable to my actions and I walk my talk even more because social media makes my message i.e., what I say and what I do, more visible, transparent and permanent.

What is your preferred platform?

That’s actually a tough question… it’s a toss up between Twitter and Instagram. I like Twitter because it only allows you 140 characters, so you have to be succinct with no BS.  It’s like traveling to a country where you don’t know the language well… you have to pick your words carefully and they need to be straight and to the point… you can’t get caught up in embellished semantics. With Twitter, one tweet or trending hashtag, can get your message in front of thousands of people… people you don’t know, but share common interests with and that are listening in on the same conversation.  I also feel more comfortable sharing my day-to-day happenings on Twitter and like that it’s easy to share photos, videos, and links to other social platforms and my website.

I like Instagram because the photo captures my message and not necessarily the text.  I enjoy taking photos and feel they can capture the essence of the moment and what I am trying to convey more than words alone.  Now that Instagram allows short videos, I’m excited to start sharing more video clips because I feel people can get to know me and my message even better… it’s coming atcha live from Brett!

When you first started social media, did you find this platform helpful?

When I first started social media I only used Facebook. I didn’t post a lot and was only communicating with friends I knew.  Years later, I really dived into social media, and found Twitter easier to use and consequently more fun to use. Twitter also allowed me to connect with people I did not know, but these strangers shared common interests and we became cyber-friends.  It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone and they can learn about you, without even meeting face to face.

You personally dealt with taunting and teasing overweight issues.  What would your advice be to those being bullying on line?

My advice to anyone being bullied online is this… you are not alone, bullying happens to everyone and will continue to happen to you in one shape or form for the rest of your life.  I’ve been bullied and so have your parents, friends, co-workers… everyone.  Being bullied is not the issue… how you deal with it is the issue.  If you can build something inside of you… it doesn’t have a color or a shape… it’s called inner-strength… you will be able to deal with any confrontation better.  You get inner-strength by doing the things you are good at and that let yourself shine.  For me it was fitness, but it can be anything… turn your pain into passion.

And if you are bullied, say something!  Being silent, doesn’t make it go away and by speaking up, you can help end the cycle.  Save the defaming photos or messages so you have proof of what is happening and so others that want to help you have something tangible to reference.  Be smart, we live in a day and age of the internet and smart phones… don’t put yourself in situations with strangers or friends that can risk you being cyber bullied.

What goes around, comes around.  If you see defaming and damaging photos, videos or emails circulating… don’t continue to circulate them.  Energy is contagious and by you taking a stand by not participating in cyber-bullying, you can send a message to others to follow in your footsteps which helps stop the problem.

You are such a great writer on Twitter.  How do you get your message across so succinct?

Practice makes progress 😉 I think it’s because I tend to write in bullet points a lot.  I do this to help write poems, speeches, videos, message points for interviews and even hashtags. I string the bullet points together into a short sentence that sums up what I really want to say.  Here’s an example of this when writing about my childhood.

  • the fat kid that didn’t know he was fat
  • fitness was my freedom
  • pain into passion
  • I was the fat kid that didn’t know he was fat and let fitness be my freedom…I refused to let others define me and turned pain into passion

What’s next for Brett?

I am working hard on the launch of my 20 Minute Body DVD program in the spring 2014 and my 20 Minute Body book in the spring 2015.  People can go to www.20minutebody.com now, but the full site will be up by spring time.


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