Profile of a Mentor: Darryl Ellis

Training to become a certified fitness instructor is a big undertaking. Training to be a certified instructor for our communities with the highest rates of chronic diseases is an even bigger task. But each year, a class of Active RVA Warriors does just that! With a little help.

Active RVA Warrior Mentors are a key ingredient to the success of this program to support and inspire greater fitness and activity in our most vulnerable communities. Mentors work one-on-one with Warriors to ensure they’re growing both as technical fitness professionals and as effective community leaders. And our Mentors know their stuff. They come with impressive resumes, respected reputations, and a track record of making a difference for the Richmond region’s health and wellness.

Profile: Darryl Ellis, Active RVA Warrior Mentor, Owner of DNA FitnessDaryl Ellis - Active RVA Warrior Mentor

How’d you get your start as a fitness leader in our community?

I got my start as an personal trainer at one of the local gyms. I’ve always volunteered as a basketball coach at different community centers. The last one being Randolph Community Center. My career path has taken me from a volunteer coach to the owner of a fitness center. For the last 5 years I’ve been the owner and instructor at DNA FITNESS Studio.

What’s the connection for you between physical activity and public health? Why do we need more ‘active warriors’ in our community?

Being that Richmond is considered one of the cities with the highest obesity rates physical activity is very important for our community. The “active warriors” will provide trainers in communities that has been overlooked or lacking basic leadership when it comes to health and fitness.

Why did you want to be a Mentor for the Active RVA Warriors? What interested you about the program?

My interest came about because the program allowed people who may not have the opportunity to train and learn under the tutelage of established personal trainers. Something that wasn’t available for me at the time I became a certified personal trainer. I wanted to become a mentor because I know how exciting but also scary it is when you’re getting into the fitness business. If I can provide some guidance from my experiences the “mentees” wouldn’t make some of the same mistakes I made.

Where do you see Richmond in 10 years? How are we going to improve the quality of life for every Richmonder through active living?

I don’t know where Richmond will be in 10 years I just hope it’s a lot healthier. We have to get this city moving whether it be walking, running, cycling, swimming or any other form of physical activity.