By Blaine Ochoa
“You don’t have to be great to start. But you have to start to be great.”
This is one of Leo Johnson’s favorite quotes. Leo (LJ) is the owner of prestigious gym, LJ Performance Training located in Houston.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Leo and training with him for the upcoming beauty pageant I’m competing in, Miss Houston USA. Fitness is 1/3 of the competition score, and I am thrilled to be training with him to help me achieve my fitness goals.
I am a firm believer in following your dreams and never giving up. This will be my third time competing for Miss Houston USA. When going after a dream or trying to accomplish a goal, there will be ups and downs, setbacks and mistakes. However, if you believe in yourself, persevere, work hard, and never give up, there are no limits to what you can achieve. My life is a testament to this and so is Leo’s.
Leo is from Amarillo, where he started training high school and college students. He played college football at Texas Southern, played basketball and ran track. Health and fitness has always been a passion of his, and he knew he wanted to train professionally. He traveled to Miami, then to Los Angeles to get certified and pursue his dream of training professional athletes. He eventually moved to Texas and called Houston home.
“Fitness has been huge my whole life. Coming from a sports background, I had to maintain living a healthy lifestyle for one, and I grew to love it. I’ve always had aspirations for having my own facility for years. Finally preparation met opportunity, and I got the chance to open my own gym on Feb. 1, 2018. I’ve had huge support from Houston; their support has been astronomical. Not being from Houston and to have gotten the support that I’ve had is amazing.”
He loves owning LJ Performance Training and finds joy in helping others. “It’s refreshing and fulfilling to help people reach their goals and help people accomplish what they’re trying to do. I love the atmosphere and the clientele. The clientele is so diverse and I love that people will not only come to workout but to hang out and chill.”
Throughout life’s journey there will be tough times and difficult moments. Focus, perseverance, and patience plays a great role on the journey to success. “Never give up. I’ve been through so much in life, and, literally, the only reason why I’m still here is because I never gave up.”
He remembers the day he told his children that he wanted to pursue his dream of training professional athletes. Years later, one of his proudest moments was when his daughter called him crying, telling him she was so proud of him when his dream came true and he became a gym owner and personal trainer to some of the top professional athletes in the business.
Ultimately what matters is not about how many times you fall down, what matters is getting back up, deciding what to do next, and moving confidently forward in the direction of achieving your dreams.
“Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”