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Tattooed and Employed Stories: Nicky

For every interview we do, it becomes clearer that we have a knack for entrepreneurs. They see what they want, take on the struggles of doing it, and take in the results. Starting your own business is a direct input-output formula, and truly shows how much you as a person can give to something you love. 

Nicky Navas is a huge role model for a lot of people, including Steadfast Brand. He comes from an incredibly humbling background, and his past may have seen all the ups-and-downs, but his future looks to be a steady incline. He is one of the most motivated and determined people we've ever met, but we'll let him speak for himself. Read on to find out everything about Nicky Navas!

Tell us a bit about yourself!

People that know me best have described me as passionate, intense, driven and big-hearted. I go by Flex, Zeus, Thumper, He-Man and RockStar. I grew up in Bean-town but have lived in Hawaii, Miami and 9 other beautiful cities. Currently, I rest my head in Newport, Rhode Island. I am a Scorpio to a tee. I went to school for pre-med, and somewhere along the way I ended up as the owner and mastermind behind RockStar Gym. I am a massage therapist but spend most of my time as a personal trainer/competition coach. Some people know me as an arm wrestler, strong man, physique competitor, or an ETC, but at the end of the day I'm just a guy that likes to wear a different hat with a different outfit, and I'm a hat hoarder. There is just to much life to live on borrowed time. I am a human companion to one beautiful Rottweiler & her feline sister.

How did you become involved in physical fitness training?

I never had a lot growing up. I started working at a local gym cleaning equipment for a free membership. One day they hired a group of sales people to do some direct mailers. The results were overwhelming and they had more members needing help than trainers. They asked if I could help train. After my first day, I had 4 people willing to pay more to train with me. It just came easy to me and all made sense. I like art, sculpting people's body and muscle was like working on live canvas. It excites me to change people's appearances and help them reach a full aesthetic look. Some people renovate houses, I renovate people.

Tell us about the RockStar Gym.

I asked just about everyone I knew for a loan or a partnership. I pretty much got nothing except laughs at first. I had a stack of cash I had saved, but not nearly enough to open a gym. I found a gym for sale in the classifieds that was 3.5 hours away from where I lived. I tried to negotiate with the owner about the price, but it didn't go well and I couldn't afford the gym. Several months later, the gym had gone out of business. I signed a lease and just like that, I had my first gym. Problem; it was empty! I negotiated several free months into my lease to get the gym started. Meanwhile, I found an auction a state away for a gym that was going out of business. I spent all my cash there. I bought just enough equipment to display in the gym and started doing pre-sales for memberships with my free months. I lived in the storage room on a couch with my dog Cookie, that was sick and dying of cancer at the time. I ate $1 mini pizzas from Wal-mart and fed her bacon, eggs and sausages that I cooked in a microwave. I lived off the money I sold in memberships, while the gym's memberships tallied up. I maxed out all my credit cards to buy the rest of the equipment I needed while making minimum payments and finally opened the doors. A typical day for me would be getting up at 4 A.M. to make my dog her breakfast, shower in the locker room, then open the gym by 5 A.M. I would close at 10 P.M. doing all the hours myself. After close, I would retire in the back room and watch movies on a small TV hooked up to my PlayStation with my Cookie Monster. It was definitely a tough time in my life but it was the best time of my life. I lived this way for several months until she passed away, two days before the gym opened to the public. I could never have done it without her.

What are a couple of things you love to help your clientele with?

Smashing goals! I love taking people past their own expectations. Showing someone their true potential is rewarding to me. It's a feeling that can't be beat. Whether it's losing 150 pounds or achieving a pro card in a physique competition, making someone feel and look like a new person is priceless to me. It gives them a new lease on life. Sometimes I don't realize how many people's lives I affect until I open up social media and see all of their proud accomplishments. That's the high I will always chase.

How do you work with so many beautiful women and keep your composure?

Haha, I often get asked this. Yes, I work with gorgeous women, and some of the best physiques in the nation, but I don't see them like that. You ever go about your day and get emotionally battered for no reason at all except from this phenomenon known as PMS? Well yeah, I get that times 60. It's all good, though. When you do what I do for a living you get to really know people. They usually don't treat me as a trainer. After awhile, I turn into a friend, a father figure, brother, therapist, etc. Sure they are pretty, but I get farted on, yelled at, calls for road side assistance, blamed for things out of my hands etc. I take it well. I have a good sense of humor. They all pull through in the end and make me very proud. Better known as Team RockStar, I have the best girls!!! Sometimes if I'm lucky, I get a cooked meal, too.

What is the best part about being you?

I've finally made it! Most people think they know me, but they don't. I grew up eating rotten food. My mother was never around. Who knows where my father is, I really don't care. I really had nothing, but I wouldn't let that affect my life. I know what it's like to go to bed hungry. I know what it's like to sit alone on Christmas and birthdays with no presents and no one around. I'm not rich now but I'm far from poor. I'm in a good space where I can do what I want, whenever I want. I work for myself and I'm "Tattooed and Employed." I can help others now and that's what's important to me. I'm truly blessed and thankful for each and every day. One day, when this all passes and God asks me "What have you done for my people?," I will have answers and that makes my heart happy.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Hit snooze, hit snooze, hit snooze, hit snooze, and eventually get a phone call that wakes me up. I look at about 50 texts on my phone, beast 12 eggs and run (late) out the door to grab a large iced coffee. I train, pose, and diet about 10 people a day all while running and maintaining 2 gyms and answering about a million e-mails. I will usually grab a movie on my commute home and throw it on while I finish up diet plans and reply to texts until about 2 AM. That's a typical work-week day. Weekends are more hectic and usually require travel for competitions.

How have your tattoos affected your career?

They have made me sexy as faq!!! Haha I really don't care what people think. I'm me! Same G yesterday, today and most likely tomorrow. It's only positive! If it affects me negatively it's probably a positive in disguise.

Tell us about your tattoo collection, and how it’s grown/growing.

Most of my art is Asian-influenced. It's timeless, and I love black and grey. David Bennett of Sitting Bull Tattoo gets credit for most of my sleeve and most recently Tara D'Agostino of Iron Lion Tattoo. I travel and relocate a lot so often times I lose appointments that I've waited so long to get. There are so many artists I would love to work with such as: Karlee Sabrina, Robin Labreche, Cleowattenstrom, & Logan Barracuda to name a few. Seriously though, I would love to have some people reach out to me. I'm in a better position to travel now to get ink and I need an excuse to travel. I love my running themes, but I'm open to ideas. Please, anyone with any great ideas and willing to take me on....inbox me please!

Do you believe in energy?

You definitely get what you put out. In a sport that frowns upon tattoos, I seem to be attracting all the inked competitors and we're doing just fine.

When you aren’t at RockStar, what are some hobbies/activities you enjoy?

Definitely the movies. It can be the I-Max or lying on the couch at home watching on my big screen. Basically I cannot "adult"! I'm a total kid when it comes to finding activities that interest me......monster trucks, zoo, aquarium, WWF, bands, shows, Comic-Con, Home Depot, carnivals, haunted houses, back-packing. Pretty much anything that looks fun!

What about Steadfast Brand caught your attention?

The Art at first, then seeing the people behind the lifestyle but most importantly the people behind Steadfast!


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