If you’re looking for some motivation to pursue your passion and to stay positive and motivated in the face of obstacles, then you’ve come to the right place! Former professional athlete and current model, actor, trainer, fitness influencer and behavioral therapist Austin “Dotty” Dotson (he does it all!) shared his insight on the importance of striving for growth while maintaining a healthy balance throughout his daily grind.
1. For starters, can you tell us more about yourself and your journey?
Austin Dotson: I’m a model, commercial actor, trainer, former professional athlete, and fitness influencer from Carson, California. My journey has been a shaky one, but what’s a good story without the struggle? My journey has been filled with ups and downs but it has groomed me into the man I am today. Mistakes made in the past are only learning lessons. I call them growth scars. I live life to the fullest because I know at any moment all that I’ve worked for can be taken away. I take nothing for granted and I’m grateful for any obstacle that comes my way.
2. Walk us through your journey -- how did your passion for sports and fitness start? How did it (or did it?) influence your career choices?
AD: My passion for sports started as a young boy. I have a huge love for Bruce Lee as he inspired me to get into combat sports in my youth. I didn’t know much about sports then but I knew one thing, I wanted to be just like Bruce.
I started playing football as a sophomore in high school. My drive to want to be the best pushed me to continue playing. I wasn’t the best ballplayer in high school due to lack of experience but I sought out training and I dedicated my life to my craft. At that time in my life, all I wanted to do was play football and I knew my parents didn’t have the money to send me to college so it was up to my talents on and off the field (classroom) that would pave the way for me. Through hard work and dedication, I was able to lock in a few full-ride scholarships but ultimately committed and graduated from Sacramento State University.
3. While you were competing, what did success look like for you? Has that vision changed in your present life (and if yes, how so)?
AD: Success was and is winning. Point blank period. Knowing that I was extremely raw in the sport of football and working my tail off, earning a full-ride scholarship to a Division 1 university and graduating was the definition of success to me. The vision will always remain the same and that is to win. Writing goals down and crushing them, that’s winning.
4. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as an athlete and that can be applied to “everyday” life?
AD: Hard work and dedication. Those simple terms apply to everyday life no matter what field you’re in. If you want something, you have to be WILLING to work for it. Nothing in this life is given, it's only earned. Something I learned is that if it’s free it’s probably not worth it. Knowing that you worked and earned something makes having whatever you wanted worth it.
5. What has been the biggest challenge and biggest reward you've faced in your entrepreneurial journey as a coach, mentor and trainer?
AD: Trying to figure out my purpose in life after retirement was a challenge for me. Having no clue what’s next. The NFL was the ultimate goal and I believed that was my destiny and purpose but God had different plans for me. The scariest question and thought in the world is: “What now?”. And that was the challenge.
6. Gr8ness can be defined in many ways. What defines gr8ness to you?
AD: Gr8ness is being able to make the most out of what you have. Making a difference, not just in your life but the lives of others. Motivating, inspiring and serving as a role model for any individual that crosses your path. Gr8ness is being a problem solver, looking at the glass half full even when there’s no water. It’s what you do off camera that matters the most. Are you a person that does it for “the gram” or are you a person that lives the actual life whether the cameras are on or not? That’s gr8ness.
7. Tell us about your goals. What does success look like for you? Do you formally “goal-set?"
AD: I have goals set for every day, every month, every year. There is ALWAYS an opportunity to get better. Without saying too much, one of my goals is to be recognized, respected, and acknowledged as a difference-maker in the world of fitness.
8. Walk us through a day in the life of Austin Dotson: father, mentor, coach and trainer (we bet it’s hectic!).
AD: Many do not know this but my full-time job is actually a behavioral therapist for the developmentally disabled. I work nights, graveyard shift... 8pm-8am. 12 hours. I’m not a full-time trainer, not yet at least. I get off work, head home and freshen up. I spend an hour reading, then meditate for about 15 minutes. I head out to the gym to train one of my clients and best friend Deandre Carter, wide receiver for the Houston Texans. I then head out to train another client, celebrity Steelo Brim. I then head back to the gym to film my own content. I spend a few hours studying and learning my new craft. I FaceTime my daughter every day just to say hello and to remind her that I love her. I usually head out to a few auditions in Los Angeles. By the time I get home, I have to shower up and get ready for work.
9. What is your favorite quote to live by?
AD: “If you don’t fail you’re not really succeeding. When you’re afraid to fail, you never wanted to succeed in the first place.” That quote was written by me. I have that quote tattooed on my arm.
10. What is one health lifestyle/wellness hack that you SWEAR by?
AD: You won’t get into shape by just sitting on the couch. Get your ass up (excuse my French) and MOVE.
11. What does balance mean to you and how do you practice it?
AD: I’m a Libra and we are all about balance. Oftentimes I tip the scale and I take on more than I can actually handle and it’s stressful. I pray and try to take on and complete one task at a time. Being able to plan things out and complete them is how I balance everyday life. We all have the same hours in a day, it’s up to you how you utilize those hours.
12. Just for fun: You're stuck on an island and can only take three food items with you. What would they be?
AD: Almonds (packed with omega 3 fatty acids used as quick energy), blueberries (packed with fiber and antioxidants to fight free radicals aka toxins), rice (complex carbs). Rice is very versatile as you can pair it with any other item and create a meal! I would hope I’m on an island with resources like water! Wherever there is water you know there is life!
13. What’s your number one tip for anyone who wants to achieve gr8ness in their lives?
AD: Don’t take on more than you can handle. Find what drives you, find your passion and pursue it. Motivation comes and goes but if you’re passionate about something that’s all you need to get the job done.
14. What’s your favorite way to eat gr8nola?
AD: As a cereal, tastes amazing with some plant-based milk.