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Finding Strength In The Face Of Adversity

Article by Karen Creason

Photography by Provided

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

Growing up in the foster care system, Scott O’Neil learned to step up when faced with adversity. To hear him tell it, “That’s life. I had a bumpy ride but I had to beat the odds. Adversity motivates me.”

Enlisting in the Marine Corps at 18, Scott states “I had a vision on deployment that I was going to change my life and the lives of the people around me. I found working out was a true passion. I understood it. I helped others. I saw results from the routines I created. We had a gruesome first deployment and working out helped me get through it.” Creating a “gym” out of sandbags and other miscellaneous items in Afghanistan, Scott initially learned all he could about personal training and fitness through books.  After serving our country for four years, Scott moved to Los Angeles. With an empty resume, he bussed tables, scraping by while trying to earn enough money to take personal training and group training certification courses.  After finally becoming certified, he learned the hard way that gyms don’t pay their instructors nearly as much as he thought. Facing multiple evictions, couch surfing the city and, at times, resorting to sleeping in his car, Scott was still studying and creating routines for the small numbers of clients he retained. “I refused to take another career path. I knew if I suffered then, one day it would be worth it.”

Suffering from PTSD, facing all the issues that came with transitioning to society after the Marines, and with no money or place to truly call home, Scott says, “I was so lost and felt so empty. I had a vision but so many obstacles. I fell into deep dark places.” Scott decided he needed a “mental reset.” He moved to Hawaii with his then girlfriend (now wife) Joanna and, using the GI Bill, enrolled in the Maui Academy of Healing Arts and studied Sports and Therapeutic Massage. The pair returned to California where Scott studied sports rehabilitation and business, ultimately earning his Bachelor's degree. With newly gained confidence and skills, Scott built his own training company. “I was killing it! I had so many clients that were injured in some way but still needed training. I would train them from my apartment complex gym. I rarely took days off. I loved it too much.” After a year of this new success, Scott was approved for his own gym. Ironically, at the same time, Joanna's family was in need of help in the Bahamas. “Despite the amazing opportunity in front of me, there was no hesitation. Joanna put aside personal goals for me [in Maui].  We are a team.”

After three years in Exuma, Scott and Joanna decided it was time to move to Nashville to pursue their vision and create a gym “like nothing you have ever seen before.”  In March, they opened their first small location “Platinum Reform-Pilates” in Brentwood. In this location, Joanna trains her clients in Reformer Pilates. Shortly after opening Platinum Reform-Pilates Brentwood, ground was broken for Platinum Reform’s signature gym. Located at 4000 Longpoint Way in Franklin and set to open in early fall, the 6,200 square feet of individual class space will offer HITT, row, spin, boxing, pilates, and personal training under one membership option. Scott states “I want everyone to experience all classes without the hassle of multiple contracts, locations, and memberships. A one-stop shop for everything. Instructors are the backbone to each gym and it's time they feel that way. I plan to let them run their classes how they want as long as we stick to the fundamentals of fitness.”

When asked if he feels successful being on the verge of opening one of the biggest gyms in the area as well as his first of many Platinum Reforms, Scott replies, “I am not sure when someone is supposed to feel that way. I just want to keep setting goals and conquering them. In this field, your objective is for the client to feel successful. My main goal is to be able to bring all the fitness communities together, and when that happens I will find something else I can do to help others.”

Ever mindful of his journey so far, Scott remains humble yet competitive and hungry.  Currently building his dream home in Franklin, enjoying married life with his best friend and wife, Joanna, living life with their five dogs, and starting the fitness revolution with Platinum Reform, Scott can only be thankful for his strength and ability to overcome adversity.

Instagram: @Platinumreform