A career change and a bit of a life crisis turned Atlanta guy Andrew Johnson on to fitness. Now, the muscular 35-year-old is a trainer who's focused on getting you to invest in your health.

So we asked Johnson, who works with clients at Gravity Fitness, to share his tips, how he got started and insights on how to avoid becoming your own worst enemy when it comes to fitness.

What got you so focused on fitness?

I came into the fitness field as a way of dealing with my stress. My undergraduate degree was in Economics so I followed that path into a corporate job. The money was amazing but I started having trouble dealing with the anxiety. My doctor instructed me that unless I learned how to control my stress my heart palpations would turn into a full-blown heart attack.

So I saved up some money, decided it was time for my mid life crisis, 32 at the time, and went back to school for graphic design. During my time at the bank I learned that money does not make everything better. More often than not, it makes things worse because it distorts your reality.

While I was in design school I started going to Gravity with a friend. We came across Carmella Collins, who we started training with three times a week. Over a period of two years my body completely transformed from a well-nourished individual into one with muscle definition. Carmella told me I had what it took to become a great personal trainer. So, I went to school and got certified. One of the biggest lessons Carmella taught me is that training is all about intensity and connecting with the client. Great personal trainers are not born but taught by great mentors.

In today’s world, the personal touch has been lost. Training is one of the few careers where a great trainer can push a client to that next level of physical success.

The diet: Cooking is critical

Being a former fatty, my diet is critical. I cook almost all of my meals. In the morning, I have six eggs whites and a piece of salmon, grilled chicken with a salad for lunch and either a steak or fish with a vegetable for dinner. Protein shakes three times a day. A little tip for those who hate protein shakes: Pick up Braggs Organic Cold Press Apple Cider Vinegar from Kroger’s or Whole Foods, it will settle your stomach so you don’t bloat.

I don’t cheat very often. If I do, it is maybe glass of red wine.

My short lists for restaurants are either Roasters – the rolls are my down fall – or Roxx.

The workout: Push, sweat and spin

I still work out with Carmella three times a week. I see it as continuing education. In all careers you have never learned everything. I continue to push my body everyday to that next level. The only way to develop a muscular body is with heavy weights. I enjoy taking classes from other trainers, to see how they train their clients. Personally, I do 45 minutes of cardio four times a week and at least one spin class. Also, I take at least one yoga class per week for flexible and breathing.

Biggest challenge: Make it routine

When being fit is part of your daily routine you do not think about it anymore. So when you do cheat, you feel guilty for letting yourself down.

Your motivation: The mirror

Being honest, I still see an ugly duckling in the mirror so I am my own worst enemy. So, I have to tell myself it is ok to rest.

Final fitness thoughts: Change is good

I love seeing clients who have changed, not only physically but also emotionally. When their bodies change they have more self-confidence, which attracts more people. Everyone’s body is different and changes at speeds so don’t give up, it will happen in time.

Fitness is not a certificate that you can hang on the wall. Your body consonantally needs to be tweaked. When you hire a personal trainer you are investing in your own health.

Photos by Jan Rattia Photography