BELONGING

Spotlight on Isaiah McClintock: Kansas City Fitness and Community Leader

By

Alicia Briggs

– VOL. 15

Though he’s been around the world and back, physical fitness has always been a driving passion for Isaiah McClinton, born and bred in Kansas City. 

His travels started right after high school, when Isaiah started serving in the US Navy and then worked as a government contractor until 2020. As a former high school athlete, Isaiah found his dedication to physical fitness gave him discipline and strength, but also community, no matter how far he traveled.

That dedication only increased during his time in the Navy, when Isaiah led training sessions and worked with athletes on the weekends. As he deepened his study of personal training, he realized this passion was something that could become his career. “I wasn’t going to work and feeling like I was accomplishing my mission. I was daydreaming about being in the gym and being around that atmosphere,” Isaiah recalls. 

Image of Isaiah McClintock Kansas City Fitness

The leadership values Isaiah imparts to his students come from within: with hard work and grit, anything can be overcome. Pictured here, he gets his morning workout in.

He decided it was time to return home to Kansas City and start a new chapter. Unfortunately, he returned home to some significant changes in his former neighborhood of Bull Ridge. There used to be accessible gyms that everyone went to but, as he describes, “now that’s gone. I see a lot of alcohol and drug stores in that area and that put a bad taste in my mouth.”

While the more affluent areas in Kansas City had access to gyms, fitness spaces were lacking in neighborhoods that were predominantly home to people of color. As a black man, Isaiah wanted to do something about this. “In my community, people of color, about 60% of people are obese or overweight. This can lead to cardiovascular risk, heart attacks, and Type 2 diabetes—even death,” Isaiah explains. 

“It’s bad enough that we see these horror stories that we saw in 2020, horror stories of just going outside and not feeling important to live in this country,” He continues. “I want to remind people that that’s not the case—you are something, and you should also treat your body as such.”

Isaiah launched Fit Academy Training in 2021 to do just that. His comprehensive program provides education-based personal training for people of color in the city. “This community suffers a lot. If people felt better about who they are, about just waking up the next day and wanting to accomplish something… Why not enrich your life? Why not choose that option? It’s easier said than done, but I know if you’re feeling depressed, you have anxiety, or suffer from mental health issues, physical fitness is a great benefit to mental health. It goes hand in hand. That’s my mission here.” 

Image of Isaiah McClintock

A central focus for Isaiah is teaching youth leadership through physical activity. Here, he is pictured playing pickup soccer with the middle schoolers at A. Tolbert Charter School.

While Isaiah helps people find empowerment through fitness, he doesn’t stop there. Isaiah is also an educational assistant at Lee A. Tolbert Charter School. “A lot of these kids that I teach, they’ve lost their moms, they might not have a dad—so being that positive role model to them is super important to me. I care more about impacting the youth so that we, my people as a whole, can move forward in a better community.” 

Isaiah recognizes that real change happens when we empower the younger generation. “If you don’t invest in your youth, who will your next generation of leaders be?”

Although Isaiah found a way to give back to his community, he knows that not everyone can be a teacher or trainer. If you want to get involved, Isaiah suggests donating to local football teams, rec centers, or scholarship grants, volunteering your time at local schools or YMCA, as well as voting for officials that care about education. “You don’t know what positive influence you actually have when working with people,” He says. 

Isaiah recently chose to join the Venn in-app marketplace, which offers entrepreneurs a digital platform to promote their goods and services to neighbors,  because he wanted to keep growing and helping people throughout Kansas City. You can find Isaiah at Small Business Wednesday meet-ups, in the Fitness Club Group, or book a personal training session with him on the Marketplace.