BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - From despair to serving as an inspiration, personal trainer Sean Fayard has seen both ends of the spectrum. Despite hitting the lowest of lows, he now lives as an example for others making him South Mississippi Strong.
“If you would have told me ten years ago I would be doing what I’m doing right now, I would have laughed at you,” said Fayard.
Fayard spends most of his time in the gym building up himself and others. His lifestyle today comes after a troubled childhood which he said led to drug use.
“Back when I was messing up I didn’t expect to live past 24,” Fayard said.
The low point for Fayard came when he was arrested for drug possession and sent to prison for 13 months, but it turns out the time in jail was a blessing in disguise.
“Getting that charge saved my life,” Fayard said.
When he went behind bars he knew it was a lifestyle he didn’t want and made a commitment to turning his life around.
Fayard has been out of jail for five years and now is the manager of GNC stores in Biloxi and Gulfport, as well as a personal trainer, and he provides nutrition advice for others. He also doesn’t shy away from what would be a difficult story for many to tell.
“He has a past, and he isn’t afraid to share that and just let you know up front,” said Fayard’s girlfriend Shea Renner. “I think that’s very admirable.”
Although he didn’t know it at the time, Fayard’s career was set in motion while he was in jail. At one time he dealt with weight issues and had no interest in strength conditioning, but that quickly changed when he was locked up.
“It clicked there that I enjoyed fitness, and it was my passion,” said Fayard.
Following his release, he used fitness as something to focus on.
“Idle hands are the devil’s play pin,” Fayard said. “If you’re bored, you’re most likely going to go do something stupid.”
Now Fayard realizes he can make a difference not just building bodies, but also building up people. He posted the story of his journey on Facebook.
“The reason I posted my story on Facebook is because I had a lot of acquaintances that I met when I was in prison reach out to me, and they’re like you’re an inspiration,” Fayard said. “You literally just wanted to become a personal trainer, and then boom you turned what you said into reality, and we’re very proud of you.”
His girlfriend Shea Renner lives by a motto she heard from Fayard, and she believes it’s advice anyone going through tough times should hear.
“The one thing I can say that Shaun told me when we first met, and it’s always stuck with me, and that’s if you have a negative in your life, take it, flip it and do something good with it,” Renner said. “People will respect you for that, and I’ll never forget that. It’s stuck with me everyday.”
Although it’s been a difficult road, knowing he’s an example for others makes the journey worth it for Sean Fayard.
“If I could do anything different in my life, I wouldn’t do it,” Fayard said.
He's hoping to start talking to groups in prison about ways to turn their lives around.
For more information on Fayard’s training services email him here.