Motivational Man: Naturally Committed
by Mary Hope Roseneau
Photos courtesy of Bobby Alan
“Find a job you enjoy doing and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This quote, attributed to Mark Twain, is personified in this month’s #AnAppleADay Motivational Man, Bobby Alan.
A walking, talking, megawatt-smiling ambassador for the GNC brand, the 52-year-old retired Marine owns three GNC franchise stores; one South Carolina location in Bluffton, and two in North Carolina; one in booming Winston Salem, and one in Andy Griffith’s fictional hometown of Mount Airy.
According to a statement on the General Nutrition Centers corporate website, the company’s mission is to “connect customers to their best selves by offering a premium assortment of heath, wellness and performance products.” The company was founded in 1935 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as a neighborhood “healthy food” store, introducing yogurt to Americans for the first time. Many people thought health food was just a passing fad, but it has only exploded since then.
Originally from New Orleans, Bobby joined the Marines right after high school, and has been interested in fitness, body building, and all things healthy ever since. A friend introduced him to GNC health products, and he liked the store so much he started at the ground floor as a sales associate and worked his way up to store manager before deciding to become a GNC franchisee. He’s been working with GNC for over 23 years now, and says there’s always something new to learn.
Two hot health topics among customers these days, according to Bobby, are the Ketogenic diet and the hemp oil craze. He demurred offering a personal or professional opinion on either subject, saying he needs to do more research. A big part of GNC employee training is a dedication to self education, he says, studying the manuals and reports GNC scientists produce about everything they sell.
The biggest request Bobby and his three store’s employees hear from their customers is “How can I get fit?” Bobby stresses to every customer there are no quick-fix products in the store. “Fitness demands a commitment, a lifestyle change and going in a different direction than you have been.” He advises everyone to minimize their fast food habit, and to choose healthy foods and a good multivitamin in order to balance the body and optimize metabolism.
Customers who ask for help losing weight are advised to add exercise to their daily routine, even if they say they work and get enough exercise on the job. Customers who want to build muscle are advised to work out at a gym and do regular weight lifting; and Bobby advises all of his customers to keep protein shakes or protein bars on hand in order “to avoid reaching for a junk food fix when a regular meal isn’t possible.”
When customers come in and ask about various health problems, our September Motivational Man doesn’t contradict the prescriptions doctors are giving them. He does, however, offer non-synthetic, natural herbal supplements and vitamins that will address the same problems, just as a suggestion.
Self-motivated even in the Marine Corps, Bobby began thinking about what his second career would be upon retirement at age 40. He had carefully invested his salary, and knew he wanted to be his own boss. Becoming a GNC franchisee was a natural fit for him, and he loves it.
When asked about his own health routine, he is not hesitant to share. “I’m in the gym five days a week, working my whole body. I do cardio three times a week, walking or running on a treadmill or outside.” That can’t be easy for a businessman with store locations spread across two states separated by hundreds of miles, but Bobby is committed to making it work.
In addition to his strict exercise routine, he always takes a multi-vitamin and he eats six times a day. “I eat three regular healthy meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and I have three snacks throughout the day; usually protein in some form, like shakes.”
It’s obviously working for him. With all those muscles and that million dollar smile, GNC should tap Bobby Alan as their company spokesman!
Bobby is pictured above with the world's strongest man.