The allure of the lives of professional athletes have captivated fans and hopeful amateur athletes for decades. When Michael Jordan’s overwhelming on-court success catapulted him onto the international stage in the 1980’s, the scope of influence of the professional athlete widened. The modern athlete has transcended sports with the world looking to them for advice, leadership and inspiration, as we’ve never seen before. But at the very core of fans’ fascination is the desire for a peek into the personal lives of their favorite athletes.
Absent from the viral online video highlights, perfectly curated Instagram posts and mind-blowing shopping hauls, are the long hours dedicated to honing their craft. The rigorous training sessions and long nights studying film are less glamorous but serves as the lifeblood of their careers by helping them maintain peak physical and mental performance. For Marcelis Branch, the journey to greatness is well worth the effort.
A Florida native, Branch grew up eating and breathing football. From the first time he touched a football at age five, he knew the game was special. “I love everything about the game,” says Branch. “From the smell of the grass, to the smell of the air on game day, there’s something special about putting on your gear for battle.”
After earning a scholarship to play for Robert Morris University in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, Branch signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2017. The safety returned to PA to join the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019, a team known for its strong defense. During a game against the Carolina Panthers, he caught a game-changing interception that highlighted not only his acrobatic skills and natural talent, but his tenacious determination on the defense end.
It may come as no surprise that Branch has spent most of his life in the gym. He looks forward to his gym sessions — most of the time — as he considers it a moment to improve in the sport that he holds so dear. After an interesting interaction at a gym, he realized the sheer amount of people that are intimidated at the mere thought of going to the gym or beginning an exercise regimen. With that in mind, he set out to address the number one reason people don’t achieve their fitness goals: lack of confidence.
The 26-year-old Miamian decided to channel his determination and passion for fitness into an athletic apparel brand. In mid-pandemic, he launched No Days Off Society (NDO Society). The brand’s “Become the Change” mantra speaks to his belief that change comes from within and the apparel serves as a catalyst for personal transformation. Made from premium materials, the clothing ranges from women’s tights to men’s shorts and offers style, durability and most importantly comfort. Branch believes that comfort and confidence are the two most important factors to achieve your fitness goals. “There will be days where you [will] absolutely dread training,” he says. But attributes trusting “the process” and having “supreme confidence in yourself” to success.
Each NDO Society piece is designed to help people feel comfortable in their own skin. Form-fitting, the apparel celebrates what makes your body unique, enhances performance and facilitates the mindset to “Become the Change” needed to achieve your goals. In addition to helping consumers feel self-assured, every purchase plants one tree as a portion of all sales are donated to One Tree Planted, an organization on a mission to combat global deforestation.
He hopes that NDO Society and its community of athletes will help others achieve their fitness goals and for those that are afraid to get started, Branch offers advice that he has picked up throughout his career. “There will be days where you [will] feel down and feel like you are making no progress,” he warns. “[But] anytime you feel like you are plateauing just know you’re about to make a leap forward.”