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Josh's Story

Updated: Dec 24, 2018

When Josh Acton was a child, he looked up to his father as a role model. As many boys feel, his dad was his hero. At the influential age of 12, he lost his hero. With the death of his father, his whole world was upended and this molded his immediate future. By the time he reached 16, he had two children, had dropped out of school, and found a full-time job to support his family.

Like many young relationships, the stress of life came into play and Josh and the mother of his children split up. From there he began to spiral. He made choices he’s not proud of but that shaped his future, including his arrest at the age of 23 for gun charges. Josh spent five years in federal prison for this crime, during which he faced another extreme hardship. His fiancé of three years died unexpectedly, and that’s when he broke down.

Discovering a Passion for Fitness

He knew he needed an outlet for his emotions, but found it difficult to open up to anyone. This was exasperated by the fact that he was in prison with limited access to the family and friends who supported him most. With little resources available to him, he turned to physical activity. He quickly found that exerting himself with a strenuous workout helped him release negative energy in a positive manner. 

He began exercising twice a day to relieve the stress he was under and to experience the inner peace that comes when your body releases endorphins while you work out. He soon became obsessed with all-things fitness, and wanted to learn as much as possible about his new passion. So, he read everything he could find about nutrition, the muscles in the body, and proper technique.

Josh learned that as with all things in life, fitness was a challenge. He found that there are no quick fixes, and to be truly fit one must balance nutrition with a healthy lifestyle and a regular and consistent workout regimen. He learned the science behind fitness: what to eat to fuel his workouts and what the body needs for true growth. Then he set goals and was determined to reach each and every one of them.

“I learned I was able to transform my body and help others, even with limited food access in prison.”

You see, it wasn’t just about the physical changes he was able to achieve, but it was the way it made him feel – like he could accomplish anything. Josh found that his quest for fitness held the promise of health and happiness if he stuck to his personal goals. Things then started to change for the better for Josh Acton.

New Outlook & New Challenges

In 2010, Josh was released from prison and able to embrace his life and family once again. He always took the responsibility of being a father very seriously, and was overjoyed to be reunited with his kids who mean the world to him. That world took an unexpected turn in 2011. After working so hard for physical and mental health, Josh faced one of the toughest battles of his life – he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Throughout the process of fighting his disease, Josh lost 30 pounds and was not able endure the physical demands of his previous fitness routine. After nine long months of treatment with very little physical activity, Josh was given the news that he had won his battle.

“Looking back on how far I’ve come and what I been through gave me the desire and hope to keep fighting and not give up until I overcome cancer. That’s what I did and now I’m cancer-free.”

A Brand is Born

After receiving the good news that his health was on the right track, Josh determined to put his life back on course and get back to his passion for fitness and his desire to help people reach their personal goals. His philosophy, whatever you set out to achieve in life – if you educate yourself, learn from your mistakes, and work diligently, you will be successful. That’s when Go Hard Life became a reality. He started by establishing a Website to help people reach their fitness goals with personalized nutrition and fitness plans.

Josh’s success as a fitness trainer and social media influencer has soared since then. In fact, he now has over 233,000 Instagram followers of @MrGoHardLife and was recently featured on the November cover of Train Magazine. The brand has also evolved with Josh’s very own design of a line of men’s and women’s fitness apparel and accessories. But, for Josh, his greatest accomplishment in fitness remains the privilege of helping people achieve their goals.

“I want my life experiences to give hope to others going through their own hardships.”

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