Sitting in the driveway of Eric Champ’s home is a 14-by-7 black trailer he has towed all over Austin, equipped with almost every piece of workout equipment any fitness enthusiast could dream of. On the side of the trailer is a white logo of a kettlebell and a leaf with “Champ City Holistic Fitness” that reads just beneath it.
The idea for Champ City Holistic Fitness came to Champ after his own significant lifestyle change. As a marine, Champ expected these health and fitness habits he built in the military to continue after, but this was not the case.
“Most folks who come out of the military think being fit physically and mentally is a way of life and it will be with you forever, and it turns out it’s not the case if you’re not working on it,” Champ says.
Champ, now back in shape and working as a holistic health and fitness coach, says before he took his health back, an example of a “good dinner” back then was equivalent to 100 pizza rolls.
“I lost my way for a long period of time,” Champ says.
Even though a major lifestyle change can be difficult, it can be even harder for someone in their late 30s, Champ says. After a dramatic weight loss and eventually getting in shape, Champ realized there were other people out there who were also wanting to make a significant change later in life who needed coaching and inspiration.
“I was like, ‘I need to bring fitness to the front doorstep of these folks,’ and I tried my hardest to think of how I could best do that, and that’s where this mobile gym was born,” Champ says.
Now, Champ has a fully functional, mobile gym he has hitched to the back of his truck and trained clients all over the Austin area. The gym is equipped with four fully functional squat stations, modular systems, wall ball targets, dip stations, a pull-up bar and more. The trailer can even accommodate up to 15 people for circuit-style training.
That’s just the gym structure itself. Inside, Champ outfitted the trailer with workout equipment from local businesses, accumulating all of his favorite exercise tools such as loadable dumbbells, a rower, medicine balls, slam balls and more.
With so much heavy equipment in the trailer, keeping everything properly secured while being transported is just as important as the contents inside.
Resting inside of what Champ describes as large tool boxes are kettlebells; the barbells have a few hooks to rest on; and he even made a specially designed rack for his bumper plates.
Finally, once all of the workout items are in their designated places, Champ will secure them down with bungee cords and straps to ensure nothing will be moving while being towed around the Texas Hill Country.
Like many businesses during COVID-19, Champ City Holistic Fitness had to pivot. Since he stopped seeing his clients in person, Champ moved to online coaching and put more time into his quickly growing Instagram page.
The fitness coach says he wanted his business to be more than just getting in shape. He wanted it to provoke not only weight changes, but also mental changes.
“It’s not just the physical body—it’s everything,” Champ says. “If you look at my logo, it’s a kettlebell and a leaf inside. That’s just supposed to be fitness and mental nutrition—all wrapped in one.”
After adopting a healthy fitness routine, Champ had to also dramatically change his eating habits. Now, his refrigerator, which he displayed for AFM during his IG takeover, is full of fruits, vegetables and healthy products.
“It is absolutely possible to learn to love those foods. Your body-and-brain gut connection can actually learn to love these foods as much as you would crave a cookie. It just takes time,” Champ says.
Once COVID-19 numbers are on the decline, Champ is going to offer free community workouts with the mobile gym for busy parents and veterans as a way of giving back to the community.
“Being a dad myself, I mean, we are extraordinarily busy, and sometimes we put self-care on the back burner, so it’s like, how can I create an environment to where I make it easier for them and have a parents-only kind of workout to where it was free and other parents can, just like veterans, share their experiences, talk [and] network between each other,” Champ says.
The holistic trainer and veteran says veterans enjoy surrounding themselves with others who have served because of their shared experiences. Champ says he wants to create a community where he could bring them together while fostering health and fitness.
“It’s not just about the workout—it’s also about enriching the lives of very specific groups that I’m aligned to,” Champ says. “I have a deep passion for that.”
During quarantine, Champ has been posting daily, at-home workouts to his Instagram in hopes of sharing some inspiration with the Austin fitness community.
“Everyone deserves wellness; not everyone has access to it,” Champ says. “If I knew that there was something like me out there prior to me really losing my way, maybe I would have found some inspiration sooner.”
Champ says his mantra is, “It’s never too late to make a lifestyle change.”
As someone who was never an athlete growing up, Champ says his workouts can be done by anyone, no matter their fitness level.
“The idea is that it’s not just my last name — it’s like anybody can be ‘Champ City,’” Champ says. “We can all be champs in our own way.”