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F.A.T.E. From Addict To Entrepreneur With Doug Bopst and Michael G. Dash – Breaking Out of a Victim Mindset to Become a Victor

Doug is a personal trainer, author, speaker and business owner. These credentials and accolades are a result of his huge transformation. He is a former felon and drug addict who spent some months in jail after being found guilty of possession with intent to sell. While locked up in those small cells he worked to […]

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Doug is a personal trainer, author, speaker and business owner. These credentials and accolades are a result of his huge transformation. He is a former felon and drug addict who spent some months in jail after being found guilty of possession with intent to sell. While locked up in those small cells he worked to overcome his demons and reinvent himself through faith, fitness and with the great support from his family.  

Growing Up with a Victim Mindset

Growing up, Doug suffered several different types of abuse. Growing up in a divorced home  and overweight, he was bullied as a kid. Although he loved sports he never really excelled at them because of the physical shape he was in. These various elements led to him feeling that he wasn’t “good enough” as a person. He was an outcast at school and never fit in. He was constantly in self-sabotage mode which is where the addictions took over.

Looking back Doug understands that he had an inability to cope with his emotions, an inability to manage stress and an inability to be comfortable with who he was. At first he turned to marijuana at the young age of 14 years old. He enjoyed marijuana because it allowed him to release the tension he carried around so he did more. Slowly, one hit led to two, to smoking every day, to then not being able to get high enough. Like many of us users have, Doug eventually started to sell to support his habit. As a teenager, he also started to experiment with other drugs like Oxycontin which had a tortuous effect. He started off taking 5 mg of Percocet which got out of control quickly and led him down this path of snorting up to 400 mgs every single day, to the point where half of his left nostril was missing.

His parents’ divorce greatly impacted his life. Split between his mom and dad, when he was 16, he got kicked out of his mom’s house for partying and growing pot. Shortly thereafter, he ended up getting kicked out of his dad’s house before graduating high school. At this point, he hated himself. He thought, “What’s wrong with me? Why is my life so messed up and why am I in this place of misery if God really is about love. If God is real, why am I in a place of misery?” That’s the story he kept playing back to himself…. Over and over again.  He was in this “why me” mindset and acting like a victim. He was feeling sorry for himself and it got him absolutely nowhere.

From Victim to Victor

In 2008, Doug was sent to jail after being found guilty of possession with intent to sell. This was truly his rock bottom and at the same time the beginning of a turning point for Doug. Being in that jail cell made him feel hopeless in the depths of despair and suicidal. One night, his cellmate gave him some much needed dose of tough love. Doug was complaining about his problems, blaming others and was being the victim. His cellmate looked at him and said, “Stop complaining. This is on you. You got yourself here and you need to make a change if you’re going to change.” Doug’s first thought was that this guy was a jerk but a few minutes later, he realized that maybe he was right. He had an epiphany that if he had the opportunity to change, it has got to be from within.

His cellmate would workout all day every day. He was doing thousands of push-ups, pull-ups and running everyday and told Doug that he was going to start working out with him. At first, he thought, this guy is ridiculous and there was no way he could focus on working out in his current physical state. Eventually though Doug caved and agreed to give it a go. At the time, he couldn’t even do a push-up. With his jail cellmates encouragement, motivation and holding Doug accountable, they would train every day. When it was time for Doug to be released from jail, he was pumping out push-ups and running with ease!

It wasn’t just the push-ups, sit-ups and running that did it for him. It was the way it made him feel! It was the increase in self-confidence, getting comfortable being uncomfortable, the ability to accomplish things that he didn’t think he could and staying consistent. It was these feelings that propelled his transformation to the next level!

After he felt himself transforming into a new person, he wanted to know what else he could change in order to better his life. Doug started focusing on his diet. He shifted away from the negative people he was hanging out with. Gradually, he began to rebuild his life and incorporate these new tools he had been learning and embracing. He was petrified at the thought of going back to jail and also inspired by his own transformation that he didn’t even want to look back at his old life. He does however have his original workout plan framed in his home so he never forgets where he came from. It’s now funny to him that the most unexpected people can come in your life and teach you the greatest lessons, and for him that was his cellmate. He will always have a special place in Doug’s heart.

Life After Prison

After Doug was released from prison, he never touched drugs again. When he ran into his old friends, he realized they had nothing in common anymore. Since he wasn’t partying, their conversations and influence just didn’t align with his life anymore. He outgrew them and made the decision that they didn’t need to be in his life anymore. If he wanted to stay on his new path and keep his positive momentum going, he had to surround himself with things and people that supported that. He stayed away from certain places, introduced new things & people into his life, new habits and ultimately a new lifestyle. It was all about health now. Going full force into the activities and practices that were lifting him up and leaving the negative behaviors and people behind allowed exponential growth. This then made the path for him not only to live a new lifestyle, but to help others live a healthier lifestyle as well. Because he wanted to help others maintain their health too, Doug became a trainer as well as started to share his powerful story by writing books. This domino effect led from one positive thing led to the next.

He was also able to make amends to several relationships that were rocky back when Doug was living without a purpose and goals. First and foremost, he mended his relationship with himself since that was the most deeply affected relationship according to Doug. To fix that, he really had to focus on doing the work internally and really taking care of himself. He prayed and hoped that if he did that he would have a shot to reconcile all of his relationships that were once broken. He learned to be a more positive, kind and confident man. 

The most affected relationship that needed to be fixed was with his mother. There was a point where she didn’t come to visit him in jail until months into his sentence. Over the years though, they were able to reconcile and regain trust back into their relationship. They now have a wonderful relationship and he even got the pleasure of walking her down the aisle this summer.

Building New Habits & Being Consistent With Them

One of the keys to Doug getting back and staying on the right track was incorporating positive fulfilling habits into his life. Cooking was a hobby that Doug grew to love. Instead of going out on weekends like he used to, he would stay at home and watch The Food Network with his grandparents and learned how to cook new and exciting recipes. This served as the foundation  of building various positive activities into his life that eventually became habits. A perfect example of that and another hobby of Doug’s is journaling. In his journal he is able to express himself, have gratitude and write ideas down that help him to be better than day. Also having supportive people in his life that he can lean on and get advice in times of need has also proven very valuable to his recovery. While having quiet time to yourself is important, Doug believes that you need a great group of individuals around you to provide community and comradery.

Among other strong habits Doug picked up is goal setting. Setting goals in business as well as  setting goals personally that you are able to achieve and strive for is very motivating. Once one set these goals, Doug says to make a plan to execute your dream. Having a map to help guide you to your ultimate goal is so helpful. Along the way, it’s crucial to connect with people to look up to. Having coaches and or mentors in life to challenge you will help you stay on course.

Some of Doug’s most successful habits that he still utilizes to this day include having a strong mindset, will power, dedication, persistence and consistency. These are all components for Doug to stay on track and to keep rising above. He was and remains to be relentless in continuing to be consistent to make sure that each new day he can be better than the day before. He lives with this mindset and mentality every single day. With his new positive mindset, Doug started building up his confidence and instead of being fearful of the unknown, he was able to channel his energy into being positive and optimistic! Combining that with healthier coping mechanisms has allowed Doug to deal with problems and hardships in a much calmer even keeled way learning something from every setback. 

Sharing His Story and Serving Others

Through Doug’s comeback, he learned that by leaning into his passion and purpose that he was able to make a career out of training. He became a beacon of hope for others who wanted to turn their lives around and become healthier people. Doug is able to uniquely relate to clients since he has been in their shoes and has experienced hard times. He knows what it’s like to be at rock bottom and is able to meet them exactly where they are at in life to help them better transition. His new “high” is now helping people succeed.

There were a lot of months, days and hours in the gym learning by talking and listening to people and really getting to know their wants, needs and dreams. From this he built a very successful business. In the past it was so easy for him to say no and quit when challenges arose but now that he had a story to help others and never wanted to go back. In fact after spending five years building a very successful career at a health club, Doug was able to leave and rent space from local facilities to train a community of like minded individuals. 

Doug’s advice to anyone who is struggling is this:

“No matter what, no matter what fight you’re fighting right now, just always focus on how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go. It’s not about the setback – it’s about the comeback. And just know that the only thing you really lose in life is when you stop showing up, so just keep showing up no matter what you’re going through, have faith. Surround yourself with the right people, stay mentally, physically and spiritually fit and you will have a prosperous and purposeful life.”

Doug Bopst

Among his accolades, Doug also became an author because he wanted to take his experiences and turn them into books that could help people overcome similar challenges to him. His favorite book that he believes greatly inspires others is “The Heart of Recovery.” Doug interviewed 50 of the most inspiring people in recovery on how they got into recovery, how they stayed in recovery and what worked for them. It showcases everybody from all walks of life and acknowledges each unique story and experiences. These inspiring individuals share their different tactics and tricks, from fitness routines to the types of people they hang out with to spirituality. All different types of recovery modalities too, but they all have the same common theme which is – You’ve got to work out. You’ve got to take care of yourself. You’ve got to have self-awareness. You’ve got to hang out with good people. You’ve got to have a spirituality practice that works for you and you have got to remember that moment in your life where you felt like you just had to change.  

Doug did it, so can you. 

Connect with Doug

You can learn more about Doug’s business at dougbopst.com.

Right now, Doug is offering for free – Five Top Tips to Wake Up Happier where he shares 5 activities to implement into your life to become a happier individual.

He’s the author of three books – Felony to Fitness to Free, Faith, Family, Fitness and The Heart of Recovery, amongst several other accolades.

He is the host of The Adversity Advantage podcast, which is helping a ton of people overcome adversity. You can also follow him on Instagram & Facebook.

(We’d like to kindly thank Transcription Outsourcing, LLC out of Denver, Colorado for providing us with amazing podcast transcription services.)

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