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The FlexChamp Story: Overcoming Obstacles Through Fitness

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Maitland Wilson Aka “FlexChamp” has had a life of considerable hardships which he battled with his love for fitness. To understand how he uses fitness to overcome his hardships you first need to understand where he started.

Wilson was born in the Bronx, New York. His mother wanted to provide a better life for her three active boys so when Maitland was little she moved her family to Kissimmee, Florida. While in school Wilson was a top performing athlete and dreamt of playing football in the NFL when he was older. He soon realized that he had a passion for fitness. He continued to push towards his dream of playing in the NFL, unfortunately right before his senior year of high school he suffered from a spinal fracture to his C1 vertebrae during football practice. He was told by his doctor that he would be unable to play football for the rest of the season and that he had to be extremely careful for the rest of the school year due to a high risk of paralysis. After hearing this news he was devastated as football and sports was his whole life. He watched his peers from the sidelines wondering how he would make his football dreams come true.

The spring after his injury he began to work out again and he joined the track team. Rebuilding his strength and confidence sparked his passion for fitness again. Since WIlson was unable to be recruited to play college football out of highschool, he decided to move to California and play football at a community college in hope to move to a four- year university.Shortly after he made this decision his life was changed again in the most unexpected way, he learned he was going to be a father. The news of becoming a parent changes everyone, including WIlson. He had to figure out how he was going to support his child, he did this by continuing to plan to move to California to play college football. Since he was moving across the country his mother insisted that he go to the doctor and get a physical to make sure he was ready to play.

During his physical his physician diagnosed him with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. This was unbelievable, he just had a spinal injury, he is about to be a father and now he has cancer. He wondered what else life could throw at him. He decided to keep fighting and move to California. He initially moved to Ukiah but moved to San Francisco for chemotherapy. Chemotherapy took a huge toll on his body. Wilson lost his hair, lost a substantial amount of weight and lost all of his energy. Like many others this time changed him in many ways he could never imagine.

Since he was unable to play football during his chemotherapy treatment he began to lift weights. Weightlifting gave him a euphoric high which lessened the side effects of the chemotherapy he was receiving. He soon realized that all of the adversity he had faced in such a short time was a blessing in disguise. He was able to find a new passion outside of football and that was weightlifting.

After he finished chemotherapy he began to enter body-building competitions as his love for weightlifting grew. He won four National Physique Committee (NPC) Championships. During these competitions he developed the name FlexChamp. He then realized that exercise was essential in his life and he saw himself being a part of the fitness industry rather than the sports entertainment industry. He then became a physical education teacher in San Francisco and was able to pass down his love for fitness to his students. While he was teaching he continued to build his FlexChamp brand. In hopes to bring his brand to the next level he decided to move to Los Angeles. However, moving to Los Angeles actually hindered the growth of his brand. He started to question the path he was on and if it was right for him.

He then decided to move once again but this time back to a familiar place, Kissimmee. Being close to his family, including his daughter, was exactly what he needed. Wilsons friends and family banded together to support his brand. With his experience as a teacher and his passion for fitness he started training people. He used his home, the park and local venues to host fitness events. This allowed the visibility of his brand to grow substantially.

Throughout his life Wilsons positive attitude and perseverance allowed him to overcome adversity but none of this would have been possible without his passion for fitness. Now Wilson hopes to continue to build his brand and help people overcome personal obstacles through fitness just like he did.

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