Former power lifter uses past experiences to help others

Story and photo by Robert Vencil, NewsNetNebraska

Jon has been a part of the Rec Center staff since 2010 and has been a personal trainer since 2011.

Naff has been a part of the Rec Center staff since 2010 and has been a personal trainer since 2011.

For most, becoming physically fit is something of a challenge and it requires a little motivation.  That’s where Jonathan Naff comes in.  The former power lifter from Beatrice is using himself as an example to help others become healthy the right way.

The 25-year-old personal trainer was introduced to power lifting in high school as a way to stay in shape between football seasons and keep the player’s competitive drive going.

“I was always exceptionally strong, so I took to it immediately,” he said.

Naff competed all four years in high school and won the Nebraska state power lifting championship in 2004, his sophomore year in high school.  He made the finals his junior year, but lost to someone he out lifted by 80 pounds earlier in the year.  After seeing how rewarding working out was for himself, Naff wanted to help others become healthy and help them do it the right way, so he got into personal training.

Naff dropped out of nursing school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln because he wanted to follow a different path.  He may have lost his heart for nursing, but he didn’t lose his heart to help others, so he had to find a new way to do that.  He had been informally training friends for a few years, but he finally had a reason to get certified.  After a semester long class and a comprehensive test, Naff gained his certification in the fall of 2011.

“I love fitness and people, so it was an easy transition for me,” he said.

The transition may have been easy, but motivating others to better their lives isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

“If someone doesn’t have an internal motivation, there aren’t going to be results,” he said, “But when you see someone get excited about seeing their improvements, it makes you excited.

Naff will continue to train at the Rec Center until he leaves for occupational therapy school this fall, where he will continue to personal train in his spare time. He wants to own his own clinic in the future, but for now he will stick with personal training and making a return to power lifting or bodybuilding.  He is leaning towards bodybuilding because he sees it as the ultimate display of physical form.

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