SYSK: Fitness instructor uses own experience to help others - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: Fitness instructor uses own experience to help others

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

As a fitness instructor, Ryan Downs prides himself on his motivational techniques. For most students, his "loud" approach works.

"He's intense, which is good for me," said Ryan Sullivan.

Downs is 22 years old and opened Next Level Extreme Fitness back in January.

"We started with 110 people the first session, we're up to 330 now, and I think we could surpass 500 the first of the year," said Ryan Downs.

Downs believes one of the reasons his classes have grown so much is because he can relate to his students. In high school, he weighed about 235 pounds.

"It's really nice to have somebody who's been through the experience. People say you're 22 years old, it's easy for you to say, and I say no I've been there before. I know it's not easy. I know you can't do everything from day one all the time," said Downs.

Downs said he wasn't responsible in the past -- eating poorly and not exercising. Now, he's dedicated to a life of fitness.

"One day I just woke up and said I need to take care of myself before I can go on and help somebody else," said Downs.

But, Downs said he doesn't teach weight loss classes but body shaping.

Since opening in January -- Downs said he hasn't repeated a workout.

He prides himself on creating specific programs that work for his students. Ryan Sullivan who lost 22 pounds in the first ten weeks.

"It's like a family. We get a long and the instructors really care about you as a person and getting you better and making sure you succeed," said Ryan Sullivan.

Ryan Downs said his goal as a trainer is to give people confidence.

"We workout as a team. There's a lot of times you work out on your own you're not getting that motivation, but if you're here everybody's got one common goal, that's to get better," said Downs.

His students say work ethic sets him apart as a fitness instructor. Most days, Downs is training people from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Downs said he's happy to be here all day because fitness is his passion.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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