June - Damian Cain
When Damian Cain left his home and family in Goshen, St. Elizabeth for Kingston, over a decade ago, in search of better opportunities for himself and his family; little did he realize that his journey would be one of the ‘survival of the fittest.’ He remembers heading to Kingston on a truck, with no specific destination in mind, no job offers, no friends or relatives to welcome him, nowhere to stay and no money – except for J$40 dollars in his pocket.
His humble beginnings saw him working right after leaving Lacovia High School; his first job was a pump attendant at a local gas station. From there he tried his hand at merchandising, followed by a stint at a bauxite plant; while balancing the pursuit of a diploma in Physical Education at Bethlehem Moravian College. Faced with financial hardship, he decided to withdraw from the programme and focus on being gainfully employed. Although he did not complete his diploma, he discovered that his strengths was more in the physical than the theoretical. Damian would then spend a few years thereafter in search of gainful employment, with odd jobs including a job at a gym in Mandeville, where he gained some valuable experience as an instructor; but eventually left because of the proprietor’s inability to provide adequate compensation.
Unable to find a steady paying job, Damian was itching for a change. “I was feeling frustrated. One day I just packed my bag, (although) I didn’t know if I was going up or down and stood at the roadside for 45 minutes.” Before the day was over, he was standing in the middle of Half Way Tree in Kingston, unsure of his next move. With the stroke of luck, he spotted an advert for a gym instructor, during the height of the carnival season, and decided that this would be his first stop.
He was met with rejection multiple times as he sought employment, however he remained undeterred, going back inside to ask to fill the vacancy, every twenty minutes. Eventually, he convinced the owner of the gym, Dwayne Brown, to give him a chance, on the condition that he could lead a class that same afternoon. Luckily he was able to combine his knowledge from his physical education programme, dance skills, his personal fitness regimen and natural charisma to win over the students and the owner - although admittedly, he was no fitness instructor. With nowhere to sleep at the end of the gym session, he got ready to sleep on the bench outside of the gym; eventually Dwayne agreed to have him sleep inside the gym for the night. This living arrangement lasted 2 years, 8 months and 3 days, with Damian surviving on a diet of two packs of cream crackers for the first two weeks in his new job.
Cain’s reputation as a fitness instructor grew from strength to strength; complemented by his desire to learn more about the art of personal training and fitness. He admits, “I learnt a lot by simply observing others, I read a lot, and asked questions.” He also pursued formal training with the National Federation of Professional Trainers, becoming a certified personal trainer, with the assistance of Dwayne and a friend, who provided him with books to study for the examinations. His high energy and likeable disposition served him well, and helped him to make a smooth transition into the corporate world, providing fitness instruction for a wide cross-section of companies; including: DunnCox, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Fraser Fontaine & Kong Ltd and BCIC.
Soon JMMB came knocking, inviting Cain, to assist them in the execution their fitness challenge dubbed, ‘Biggest Loser.’ He immediately developed an affinity for the company’s family-like culture and vision of love. He shares, “JMMB had a different mindset and I liked what I saw, it was like a family there and I liked it.” So when asked to extend his stay and provide fitness instruction with the company on an on-going basis the decision was easy. Having spent several years working with the JMMB team, Cain still enjoys the relationships that he has developed with team members helping them to improve their fitness level, providing rehabilitation programmes and encouraging them to pursue their fitness goals.
He is currently pursuing further certification as a master trainer, in a bid to achieve his dream of creating a developmental programme that helps individuals to improve their fitness level and provide rehabilitation after injury. Cain hopes to expose individuals, especially young persons, who are inclined to a career in fitness to practical, guided experience so that they can develop their skills, as his way of paying it forward.
Now a long way from being homeless and unemployed, with a chance of fate, Cain has been able to purchase his own home, car and cemented his career as a fitness instructor. Damian counts his family, particularly his “really special parents” as the reason he continues to strive for success. Having taken a leap of faith years ago, he encourages everyone ‘to get out of their comfort zone and just go for it.’