NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Alec Penix is showing his client Jay Schwartz how he wants his form to look while doing pushups.
"You have to have your butt up in the air," said Penix.
"I don't like that one," said Schwartz.
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The pair have been working out together for four years, but today is Schwartz’s first session back after recovering from surgery and he is feeling frustrated.
"Just sitting around and eating and I feel like I've gained a lot of weight for me," said Schwartz.
Penix’s training philosophy is to create a lifestyle, and he does this through a unique approach using spirituality.
"Exercise is like a meditative process. You can use exercise as a tool to bring awareness to your thoughts, to the way your body feels," said Penix.
He has been a trainer for 13 years and his resume includes celebrities like Gabby Douglas, Big Time Rush, and Derek Hough. His road to spirituality didn't begin until a few years ago. Despite his career success, Penix was depressed and felt that something was missing.
"I didn't really believe in myself, however I still had the courage enough to walk in to some of these opportunities even though I didn't really believe I could do it," said Penix.
But something was pushing him to seek more about himself on a deeper level. He initially became religious following the Christian faith and wrote his book Seven Sundays, a day-by-day guide on bringing faith into exercise and nutrition.
"It's really about taking one workout at a time and building upon that," said Penix.
Today, his faith has evolved and grown into a wider spiritual practice that he infuses into his work. Every day he starts with meditation.
“It's the foundation of healing it's the foundation of happiness and joy,” said Penix.
Back at the gym, Penix is using his spiritual tools to help ease Schwartz’s feelings of frustration.
"Just like improving yourself in the weight room getting stronger, you can also improve that relationship in the way you talk to yourself, right,” said Penix.
"Yes," said Schwartz.
In the time spent together in the session, Schwartz’s confidence is boosting.
"Do you feel like you're getting more momentum,” said Penix.
"Oh yeah, definitely now that I'm back into it, absolutely," said Schwartz.
That mind shift is something Schwartz credits to his long-time relationship with Penix.
"When you are comfortable enough to have a conversation about what is going on and have a trust there you're working out and you're talking and it's like therapy,” said Schwartz.
Therapy for the body as well as the mind, making him feel better from the inside out.