Tarrant Anderson of Englewood says fitness and firefighting go hand-in-hand. That's why he's doing both -- 50 yards away from each other.
The Englewood firefighter and personal trainer last October opened his own gym The Fit Factory, LLC on S. Van Brunt Street, just down the block from the fire station.
The common thread between Anderson's two jobs is that no matter which one he's working, he gets to do what he loves: Help people.
"There's not a day that I hate my life or my job," said Anderson, 30, in his converted warehouse.
"I'm truly blessed to be able to help people in both capacities -- save lives and property in danger, and here, change lives to make people feel better, whether it's to lose weight or have a better self image.
"I would do both for free."
Saturdays for Anderson formerly of Hackensack have always been reserved for football. He starting playing in the local youth league and continued throughout college at Stony Brook University (D-1).
He quickly realized after graduation that playing football professionally was not a realistic goal.
So, he moved back home with his parents and began working as a substitute teacher in the Englewood school system. Sure, it paid the bills and Anderson enjoyed working with the students.
"Deep down in my heart, I didn’t want to conform to what society told me I had to be," Anderson said. "But I just wanted to search for the thing that would make my life happy."
The next best thing was sports; fitness.
As soon as Anderson earned his personal training certification later that year, everything seemed to fall into place.
"I took an internship at a local gym and started making money that matched by substitute teaching salary," Anderson said, then 24 years old. "So I opted for personal training."
The athlete quit his job in the school system and put all of his energy into personal training. His income doubled.
But still, he felt something was missing -- particularly on Saturdays.
That's when he found CrossFit.
"It was this adult sport," he said, "but anyone could participate."
Anderson loved the competitive edge that CrossFit offered but, after being sidelined by a back injury at 25 years old -- and on the verge of getting kicked off of his parents' insurance plan -- the athlete was forced to reevaluate things. Again.
And then, fate intervened.
"I got a call from a friend asking if I saw the fire department was looking to hire," Anderson said. "We both applied and went through the whole process."
He put personal training on hold to finish the fire academy before landing a full-time position with the Englewood Fire Department in 2015.
He worked one shift a week -- 48 hours straight -- for the fire department and spent the other five working to open a new gym in Bergenfield with friends.
That gym fell apart overtime, but then last summer, Anderson was at work at the fire house when he saw that a nearby warehouse was for rent.
Anderson partnered with his childhood friends Jessica Corredor and Michael Gee and opened The Fit Factory in October 2017.
The three combined forces, clients and training styles to create affordable and fun strength and cardio workouts for anyone looking to get in shape.
Anderson comes up with the workouts -- one for strength and another for fat loss -- and posts them on the board in the warehouse each day.
He wanted results, but he know he'd only get that if his clients were consistent in the gym. And what brings people back to the gym?
The people, Anderson said.
With a focus on having fun and building relationships, it didn't long for The Fit Factory's members to feel at home.
"We're not like any other gym, we're truly a fit family," Anderson said. "We encourage everyone to talk and get to know each other. We have turned members into best buddies outside of the gym."
Anderson feels he is finally living his best life -- and so can everyone else, too.
"If you have a talent, pursue that as much as you can," he said. "You have to prove yourself.
"Do what makes you happy."
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