Behind his exterior of muscles and a big smile, Austin local David Garza is just as compassionate at heart as he lets on.
As one of Austin’s most motivated fitness instructors, Garza gladly admits to spending time surfing Pinterest for motivating quotes to share with others. Referred to as the “Tony Robbins of spin” by some of his clients, Garza cherishes being able to make others feel special, whether that’s by playing someone’s favorite song during a class or sitting down with someone for coffee to help them tackle the obstacles in their way to a healthier lifestyle.
“I have been pretty blessed to have found this career, where I can use music and fitness and really talk in a deep way of how we are doing,” Garza says. “And, because I have gone through some ridiculously challenging things in my life, I am able to look at somebody and say ‘Hey man, I get it. Let’s try and figure out what’s going wrong, pinpoint it and see what we can do in a positive way to figure out what we need to get done to get you out of this funk.’”
Garza began his career in fitness in 2005 teaching Krav Maga, a hand-to-hand combat and self-defense exercise. Over the years, Garza has taught group fitness through Camp Gladiator and Castle Hill Fitness and is currently teaching classes at Love Cycling Studio and Knockout Austin.
With so many different trainers, gyms and studios available in Austin, Garza says the way he wants to stand out is by being the person who is able to foster an amazing workout experience that can change one’s idea of fitness from a daily workout to a committed lifestyle.
One way Garza does this is through his music. Garza says he will spend hours curating a playlist or making remixes for his classes and workouts.
“For me, music is about 80-90 percent of the workout. If you don’t have a good bass or boom, I am not going to feel it, “ Garza says. “I know I want to go to a place that has good music. That ambiance really creates something of an experience — not just a workout. So for me, music is a driving force to creating something really special.”
Another aspect Garza loves about teaching fitness classes is getting to draw from his own life experiences in order to connect with his clients on a personal level.
When Garza came out of college, his lifestyle included smoking and drinking, and at one point, he even weighed close to 300 pounds. Coming up on four years of being sober, Garza says he can consider his past experiences struggling with nutrition and unhealthy habits as a blessing, because they make it easy for him to be able to discuss topics that can typically be hard to talk about.
“I get to share with a lot of people who are struggling, and I have been down that path, and I feel like I can truly relate to somebody struggling with lots of different things,” Garza says. “While I know there are a lot of challenges out there, I also know that you can overcome those challenges, because you want to be a little bit better than you were yesterday.”
Whether it is in his classes helping to train and motivate others to move their bodies or in his own life, Garza describes himself as someone who is always looking for what’s next.
“That’s how I kind of fell into doing triathlons — and eventually Ironmans, “ Garza says. “It all just goes hand-in-hand. I’m very blessed to do some things for a career and what I do in my spare time. To me, it’s just all one lifestyle.”
After finishing his three scheduled races in 2021, Garza will have completed 16 Ironman races, one being the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii — an accomplishment Garza says he has been trying to achieve.
“I have been chasing that dream for four years, and I vividly remember opening the email [which invited Garza to go compete at Kona], and I just bawled because it’s just such a big accomplishment, and there have been so many ups and downs in my life to get to that point,” Garza says. “It was a good pinnacle for me in my sports life and I’m really excited to compete in it.”
Father of two, Garza says getting to do what he loves for a living is trumped by the ability to share fitness as a way of life with his kids, Melia, a competitive cheer athlete, and Troy, who plays soccer.
“Growing up, they have seen me doing all these physical activities throughout my day that I don’t force myself to do, because I love to move my body and love to challenge myself,” Garza says. “It is cool to show them, ‘You have this amazing body and you use it for everything, so you might as well challenge it and grow and see what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it.’”
This mindset has been able to help Garza find joy in the world around him, no matter what is going on. Ultimately, he hopes he will be able to do that for his clients as well, even if it’s just for 45 minutes out of their day.
“There are a lot of things that tend to go awry, especially in these days,” Garza says. “I just try to put on a good smile and positive attitude knowing I am blessed to be able to have my health and do what I get to do and be with my friends, family and kids. You can do things and move and have a good life, as long as you just have a good attitude. It’s not always going to go your way, and that’s okay. There’s a lot of lessons that you can learn throughout that will help build who you should be.”