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Derrick Billups of City Fit Concierge and City Fit Live: “Change your state”

Change your state. If you wake up or get into a bad mood during the day, you must have a coping strategy for it. What are your cues for changing your state of mind from negative to positive? I use breathing techniques along with calming meditations to help me through those times. 10 deep breaths […]

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Change your state. If you wake up or get into a bad mood during the day, you must have a coping strategy for it. What are your cues for changing your state of mind from negative to positive? I use breathing techniques along with calming meditations to help me through those times. 10 deep breaths allow me to reset my thoughts to a positive mind state.


As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Derrick Billups.

Derrick Billups is the founder of City Fit Concierge, City Fit LIVE and Black Wellness Live. Along with winning Nashville #1 Personal Trainer for the last three years, Derrick is the gym and wellness programming consultant for multifamily communities and large companies. He has worked to design over 12 fitness and wellness spaces throughout the southeast. Derrick also has his 200hr RYT certification making him certified to teach power yoga. Derrick has emerged as a fitness influencer representing brands such as Core Power, Dell and Dollar General.

Derrick moved to Nashville 6 years ago from Virginia, where he played NCAA college basketball and studied Sociology. Since moving to Nashville, Derrick has immersed himself in the industry through personal training, group fitness and yoga and more. His goal was to create a fitness MOVEMENT that eliminates excuses for why people cannot workout.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was born in Fairfax, Virginia and moved to Philadelphia, PA as a small child. From there, we migrated to South Jersey where I spent my formative years. Growing up, I was a three-sport athlete and the middle of the pack academically, but my entry was always on 1000000 percent. From Jersey I went on to play in NCAA basketball at Bridgewater College in Virginia, where I studied sociology with minor in business. After college, I moved to Nashville, TN where I currently reside.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

My ex-girlfriend was my biggest inspiration to pursue my career. We moved from Virginia to Nashville together because she was attending pharmacy school here. I came without a real purpose, but knew she had my back and I was going to figure it out. She was not one for motivational speeches, but her actions did all the talking and inspiring. She hustled relentlessly, day in and day out, to pursue the same goal that she had always aspired to since the day I had met her. It motivated me and also put pressure on me to hunt down my goals with the same tenacity. She supported me in every way possible with unrealistic optimism and love. I will forever be grateful for the time that we spent together, as it changed my mentality from chasing your goals to hunting for your real purpose! She’s still my best friend to this day. 🙂

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

My father inspired me to start my career as an entrepreneur and personal trainer. Growing up, my father was a school teacher for many years, but decided to leave the noble and safe profession for the life of an entrepreneur. I saw how tough it was, but I admired the freedom and flexibility he was able to have. He was happy and he was home, which is all we could have asked for as children.

I was lost once I graduated college because basketball had been my identity for so many years. During one of our millions of father/son talks, my dad suggested one day that I take up personal training and that he would help fund the certification. I disregarded the proposal at first because I couldn’t see the bigger picture. He was helping me define my purpose from the many years that he has been around me observing my skill set. He couldn’t have been more right! I am grateful for his willingness to trust and believe that I had what it takes to be an entrepreneur. He took the time over all the years to help direct me towards my purpose without being pushy. I’ll love and cherish that dude forever!

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

The most interesting thing that has occurred to me in my career was being awarded top trainer in my city within the same year that I was “fired” and dragged through the mud by a previous company who tried to assassinate my character and disrupt my purpose. So that year, I buckled down, built my company and took the title as top trainer in our city. Funny enough, that same award had been previously held by the company that I parted with after 5 consecutive years. The moral of the story? You write your own story!

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

I would challenge any young person (I’m 32, not that old) to start with the right mentality. You must then shift your actions to meet the mentality. I live by the R.I.S.E method: Resilience, Integrity, Sacrifice and Energy. With resilience, you must understand that challenges will arise and you will be put to test. You must prepare for it and attempt to manage without a loss of enthusiasm for your main goal and purpose.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Start with WHY by Simon Sinek is the book that had the most impact on me. That book reminds me that your “WHY,” a.k.a. your purpose, will be your driving force. When things are out of balance, you can always refer back to WHY you started in the first place in order to redirect you towards your purpose. My purpose for starting my companies is to create generational health and wealth for my family and my community. That is my WHY and the reason I go so hard!

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Do what you have to, so you can do what you want to.” This quote reminds me that you must put in the work in order to live the life you want. Nothing is a given, and if it is, you most likely won’t value it as much. This is a quote my father used to tell me.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I am currently designing my 12th and 13th high-rise condo gyms in downtown Nashville. They will be about 33 stories high and have space for yoga, strength cardio and massages. I love to create wellness spaces that will help people for generations to come. By the end of this year, I will also be launching Black Wellness Live, a movement that will provide free virtual fitness classes, wellness discussions and financial seminars geared towards specific issues effecting the black community. Lastly, I am finalizing my first book titled, Generational Health, a play on generational wealth, which will focus on the different generational health issues from Baby Boomers to Millennials. Pieces will focus on differences in information digestion and preventive measures for all.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

Your habits have the power to change your life for the better or for the worse. Healthy habits can not only have positive mental and physical effects on you, but also rubs off on friends and family members as well. Healthy habits are well thought out with the intention to help challenge yourself and ultimately live a better life. A few of my daily habits are listening to three positive, uplifting songs in the morning and ensuring that I smile. Why do this? It sets the tone for my day no matter how I feel when I wake up. Another morning habit is a 10 minute yoga flow, focusing on flexibility and mobility to prevent future back and body issues. I got my 200-hour yoga certification to ensure I was doing the practice correctly. All of these habits are helping me to better myself now and for my future self. Now, let’s talk about bad habits, which could have the adverse effect and harm you and the people around you. Whether its reckless spending, addiction, or having a pessimistic outlook on things, whatever the bad habits are that you may practice, they will affect your life negatively.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

Habits have dictated both my success and “failures” throughout my life. In college, I played basketball and did not practice any habits that would make me better. I was away from my parents and any real structure outside of sports, and I did not handle that well at first to say the least. I partied a lot, stayed up late and did not focus on my healthy habits. In the end, I flunked off the team and had to face my family, my friends and most importantly, myself. This taught me that if you don’t do what you have to do, you can’t do what you want to do. From that point on, I started to practice consistent, healthier habits like less partying and more studying, and less socializing and more working out. I redefined my purpose and carved out the habits that would help me reach my goal. I put quotes around “failures” because every time I stumbled I was able to use those moments as learning lessons. Those lessons then became road maps for the habits that I wanted to create in order avoid negative outcomes.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

You must first master the habits of discipline and self-accountability. These two habits are the foundation for maintaining great healthy habits. You then must write down what habits you want to achieve. This allows constant visibility and reminders. Remember these habits are new and will sometimes be forgotten. The exact opposite applies for bad habits. If you don’t have discipline to form the foundation, you will practice inconsistent behavior, most likely leading to unhealthy habits. Build your foundation, write down the goals you want to achieve and continue to keep them top of mind.

Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. A good habit to practice for your personal wellness is finding healthy food products that you enjoy. You must be curious about your health and wellness journey and make it a habit to educate yourself on the many different healthy options. I found a product, Core Power protein shakes, that I use consistently for recovery after workouts. I drink this protein drink daily because it helps to get my body and mind back to 100% after my workouts. Without the curiosity for different healthy shakes, I would not have found this product! Drinking protein shakes like these on a consistent basis would be a healthy habit you could pick up to improve your wellness.
  2. Sleeping at least 8 hours per night will help improve your overall health and wellness, but more specifically can improve focus. Sleep allows you to reset and recharge your mental batteries, leading you to think more clearly and have more energy. Sleep deprived people cannot focus their attention, which effects memory and the ability to learn efficiently.
  3. Stretching before and after workouts and on off days can help you achieve optimum wellness. Making sure the body is mobile, flexible and functional can help you reach your full potential in sports, personal wellness goals and just life in general. Take time to learn how to stretch properly so your body can really work toward bettering your overall wellness.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Meditation is a practice that can be used to help foster discipline and better sleep. Meditation allows me to slow down give myself space to think clearly. That discipline will help create the foundation for you to maintain your new habits consistently.

Write down your goals somewhere that you can see them every single morning! Being able to hold yourself accountable and having them right in front of you daily is a great way to achieve that!

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. One thing that helped me is stretching before my workouts/sporting events. I developed this habit while in high school where I saw a drastic change in my game when I would deep stretch before. Because of the positive mobility and functionality results I saw from stretching, I made sure that it is a part of my daily regimen to this day.
  2. Taking time 1–2 minutes every hour to get up and stretch at your desk. This will allow yourself a mental break from work and allow your body to stretch and reactivate. When I’m working from a coffee shop for hours on end, I stand up every thirty minutes to give my body and mind a break. This is a slight recharge so you can be even better for the rest of the day.
  3. Change your state. If you wake up or get into a bad mood during the day, you must have a coping strategy for it. What are your cues for changing your state of mind from negative to positive? I use breathing techniques along with calming meditations to help me through those times. 10 deep breaths allow me to reset my thoughts to a positive mind state.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

A few integral practices to develop these habits are much simpler than you might think. Three main ones I live by are

  1. Learning to see the positive side of situations
  2. Practicing gratitude every day
  3. Self-discipline

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.

Optimal focus is a mindset and environment.

  1. First, write down your schedule/agenda the night before so you are prepared for the next day.
  2. Second, eat the right foods to ensure you have the proper fuel for the day. The food you eat is the energy that will power your mind and body.
  3. Lastly, eliminate distractions. This could entail turning off your cell phone at a certain hour or turning off the TV at a certain time of day. This will allow the mind to be focused on the task at hand without interruption.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Self-Evaluation and healthy food shopping are two practices that can be implemented to help develop healthy habits.

Take time every day to practice some self-evaluation where you look at your life objectively and make edits in order to create macro improvement. Take time to look at your discipline during the days and weeks. Take time to recognize what distractions you have allowed in your life and try to edit those so they are no longer present and keeping you from your goals.

A second practice would be changing the places you shop for groceries to ensure the products you are getting are healthier. Trying places like Whole Foods and Trader Joes give you a better percentage of buying healthier goods and in one location with many options. This could be a little pricier, but your health is the best investment you could make. This would help you learn about new healthy products as well.

As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

Focus is the first step to finding your flow. Focus is the foundation to it all. You focus in and recognize what gets you going and what doesn’t. You then concentrate on whatever it might be that gets you going. Discipline is the next step in maintaining your flow! You must continue to keep the healthy habits that helped you establish your flow.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

With my various businesses, I am actively supporting the movements that I feel will change the world for the better. Convenient and intentional health and wellness companies that target specific demographics and the health and wellness barriers that they face is the first step of the movement. My first company, CityFitConcierge.com, was created to deliver wellness services to your home, apartment or hotel for ultimate convenience. MY second business, BlackWellnessLive.com, was created to provide a resource for black people everywhere to access very intentional health education and prevention tools for black health issues, with free classes and seminars! Lastly, the GenerationalHealthNetwork.com, is a telehealth corporate wellness program targeted at Baby Boomers through Millennials, focusing on the different health issues they face and preventive tools. All of these businesses are making health and wellness an accessible priority for all involved!

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I would love to connect with Tyler Perry. I would inquire about his journey and different trials that he overcame being a minority in his industry. He created a studio in Atlanta that my companies would love to utilize to help create health and wellness content that can and WILL change the world. I feel the collaboration would be very impactful. Let’s do it, Mr. Perry!!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Personal Instagram — @bodybybillups

Business Websites

1. CityFitConcierge.com — @cityfitconcierge

2. BlackWellnessLive.com — @blackwellnesslive

3. GenerationalHealthNetwork.com — @generationalhealthnetwork

Check out our new CityFit LIVE virtual studio! Over 25 streamed classes weekly! Click the live schedule tab on the website!

Check out all of our gym designs!! @cfgymdesign

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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