Daniel Esbenshade is one of the most intense motivational personal trainers you’ll find in Federal Way, but don’t you dare call him trendy.
Trendy is the last thing he wants to be, even though he spouts words of wisdom like “body image is about how you feel,” cringing the whole way.
His objective isn’t so much to help you meet your goals as it is to help you find success in all of your steps along the way to your goals.
“We need to meet clients where they are at,” he said, explaining that working out should always be about being a better you, not being someone else completely.
He also emphasizes how different everyone’s body is, and what one person’s body can do may not be what another person’s body is capable of doing.
“You’re not trying to be [someone else], you’re trying to be you.”
Esbenshade, the co-owner of Federal Way’s Temple Fitness alongside his wife Brynn, finds it ridiculous when people say they want to work out and get in shape for them; to him, that’s a load of bull.
He explained this is not a good mindset because if you are only working out for yourself, then you’ll find it easier to quit on yourself too.
“You should want to be better for your [family],” he said, suggesting you find something important outside of yourself to be the reason you want to be healthier — this is more likely to help you keep your focus.
Esbenshade’s passion for exercise and personal training goes back to the day his ex-wife left him.
“When my ex-wife left me, she said it was because I got fat.”
Before he became a personal trainer, he worked as a contractor building high-rises. He smoke, drank and didn’t pay attention to his health.
After she left him for his weight gain, he quit his job and lived in his truck for a time. His entire life changed.
“I remember just hurting so bad one day… I just hurt on my insides,” he said. He doesn’t know a better way to describe it.
So he went for a run.
The first time he ever ran after she left, he made it about half a mile away from his home before collapsing on the sidewalk and bursting into tears.
“I’ll tell you, I felt really good after that cry,” he said.
After that, it became a regular habit for Esbenshade to run that half-mile from his house, part of the life changes he was making.
“The cardiovascular pain felt better than the emotional pain I was going through.”
It wasn’t an easy journey, though. He struggled with learning the proper way to get into shape and the right foods to eat.
When he was first learning how to take care of his body, he traded out some of his salty snacks for what he thought was a “healthier” trail mix. As it turns out, the trail mix he was eating was much higher in calories than he realized, so he was eating much larger portions of it.
When he wasn’t making the health progress he thought he should, he decided to look at the calorie content of his trail mix.
“Oh, I’m eating a Costco-sized bag of trail mix every four days … I was mowing through trail mix likes it’s going out if style.”
He laughs about it now, but at the time it was very frustrating for him as he tried to make positive changes and still didn’t see results yet.
And that’s one of the things he wants all of his clients to be aware of: True, healthy results take time.
Maybe more time than you want, but true health is about a lifestyle change, not a crash diet or an insane workout plan.
It took Esbenshade years to get to the level of health and fitness he is at now; it’s about growing with your body and finding out what you can do, not looking like the people in magazines or on TV.
Another reason why exercise is so close to Esbenshade’s heart is that it helps him deal with his diagnosed ADHD and bi-polar disorder.
When he exercises, he feels better in control of his disorders, and when he misses a few days of exercise, he can feel it starting to take over again.
He’s not advocating that people forgo medicine for exercise when dealing with their own mental health, but for him, exercising gives him something to focus on, something that makes him feel good about himself.
“[Exercise] is how I deal with all my emotional trauma, with all my stress,” he said. “If you have to have a vice, I picked one that I felt better doing and that I enjoyed doing.”
And that is what Temple Fitness is all about. It’s not designed to focus on doing constant cardio and dieting hard core to look like the people you see on the big screen.
Esbenshade said it’s about learning about your body and what it needs, and seeing what it can do every day.
All of the trainers at Temple Fitness want to help their clients reach realistic health goals and create a happy and healthy relationship with their bodies and with exercise.
“We want people to achieve their goals, but we want to be realistic about what those goals are and what that entails,” he said. “When people are really hung up on the idea of, ‘I need to look this way to feel good’, I think that goes against what feeling good should be.”
Typically, he finds that what people ask for as a fitness goal and what their body actually needs are very different.
He doesn’t just want to get people to their fitness goal; he wants them to find success in seeing what their body can do.
“I want people to feel successful, and then they haven’t fit their goal,” he said.
In fact, one of the reasons Esbenshade decided to name his gym Temple Fitness is because they believe your body is a temple, and you should treat it that way.
“I do find it fascinating when people take better care of their cars than they do their body,” he said. “And then they wonder why, when they’re in their sixties their body’s not running right.”
Esbenshade stayed with the car analogy, saying that just like you need to take care of your car to ensure it will function right as the years go by, you have to put in the effort to take care of your body so that as you age, you can hopefully avoid more health-related problems.
Currently, Temple Fitness is serving about 250 clients with a wide array of health levels and goals, and they are excited to take on more clients in 2020.
And Temple Fitness promises to be the one gym you won’t ever want to leave.
If you would like to join Temple Fitness, they offer many different memberships depending on what your individual needs and goals are.
For more information, call 253-838-0872 or visit templefitnessfw.com.