By Susan Ciancio
Strength and tenacity come in many different forms, but when you combine those with a passion for fitness, a love for country, and the desire to motivate others, you get Noah Galloway.
Like many of us after the attacks on 9/11, Noah was left wanting to do something—something to protect the country, something to make a difference, and something that mattered. With the images of the collapsing towers fresh in his mind, Noah set out for a jog, and that’s when he decided he wanted to join the military. He joined the 101st Airborne Infantry and was deployed to Iraq, where he served on the front lines doing exactly what he had hoped to do—protect and serve our country.
Noah found a new home in the military and decided that would be his career. But as often happens, life took a different turn.
In 2005, during his second deployment, Noah was injured by a roadside bomb in what is called the Triangle of Death—a name given to the region south of Baghdad. He woke up in a hospital six days later to find that, among several injuries and a shattered jaw, he had lost his left arm above the elbow and left leg above the knee.
The military career he had grown to love was now over, and Noah had to decide what was next.
What was next was not easy, but his grit and his determination carried him through the dark days, and his passion for fitness began to open doors he never even knew existed.
Noah had always been fitness oriented. As a young child, he worked out to Tony Little videos and even snuck into the local fitness center alone when he should have been accompanied by an adult. He laughs and says that on more than one occasion he was kicked out. But this didn’t deter him, and he would return time and again.
So as he began to recover and wrap his mind around the new life he was embarking upon, he fell back naturally on getting in shape.
He began pushing himself physically. He started running marathons, going mountain climbing, and doing things that people with a prosthetic leg are not “supposed” to do. He even participated in the Spartan Death Race—a grueling and brutal challenge run in the hills of Vermont. Noah was among a group of 100 people to show up for the race that year. It lasted 58 hours. Only 20 people finished, and Noah was one of them.
This led to Men’s Health magazine featuring him on the cover and a host of invitations to appear on talk shows. It also led to a stint on Dancing with Stars. This appearance took some convincing, but Noah finally agreed to take part in the show, believing he would be eliminated in the first few weeks. But stunning performance after stunning performance, he kept advancing. And then something meaningful happened. Veterans and other people with disabilities from all over the country began to contact him, telling him that they were inspired not only by his performance but just by the sheer fact that he was putting himself out there.
Noah was making an impact; he was making a difference—just not in the way he had imagined on that day he enlisted in the Army.
But as Noah once said, we should never try to second guess the things that happen in our lives because so much good can come out of even the bad things.
And so Noah’s life took on a new direction. As he told me, “When I push myself, it inspires others.”
Today, that is his new goal—a goal he seeks to achieve not only in his family life and within his community, but on a global scale.
Noah recently joined the F45 family because he wants to show people that life is full of adversity that can be overcome. He has traveled around the country to F45 gyms in Tennessee, Las Vegas, New York, Utah, and most recently to the F45 on base at Miramar in San Diego, where he felt privileged to work out with Marines and Navy personnel—something he hopes to do more of in the future if F45 gyms expand to other military bases.
On these trips, Noah doesn’t lead the class, and he doesn’t watch from the sidelines. He joins right in and works out alongside members, showing them that if he can overcome the challenges he has faced, they can too. He explained, “I want to be that motivator, to show what’s possible, to be an example.”
He believes that leading by example is one of the greatest motivators for people who may be struggling. And the feedback he has gotten from the trainers has been tremendous. They tell him that everyone pushed themselves harder when he was there.
That is exactly what Noah wants—to help others see that they too can set goals, achieve them, set new ones, and constantly push themselves further.
Not only has Noah inspired the F45 gym members, but he serves as an inspiration to the trainers as well, as he has taken part in working with trainers while they learn to lead F45 classes. He helps them find new ways to work with people who cannot use an arm or a leg or who have another type of disability.
This is vital for an F45 community that prides itself on ensuring that everyone feels included, welcomed, and valued—a community that tailors its workouts to each member’s abilities. Noah loves this about the F45 workouts—that and the fact that they change every day. But it’s not just the workouts that he loves; it’s the F45 community—a community of people who are there for each other, who are genuinely happy to see each other every day, and who truly care.
Noah stresses that anyone looking to join an F45 gym should combat feelings of intimidation and just take that step. He speaks from experience and admits that when he first started getting back in shape after his injuries, he was terrified. He joined a 24-hour gym so he could work out in the middle of the night. It didn’t take him too long to realize that hiding wasn’t necessary and that he was actually an inspiration to those who saw him.
Knowing there are others who face similar challenges, he told me, “Those of us who have had setbacks are the ones who should have the most pride in reaching success in fitness.” And that is why he encourages people to set their fears aside and join F45.
Noah Galloway is living proof that we can create good from the bad. He is an inspiration to the F45 community. And he is an incredible example of the bravery we must all strive for when we face adversity in our lives.
Welcome to F45, Noah!