Professional Profile: Next Level Athletics owner Mitch HolmesBy JOSHUA CAMPBELL,
(This week The Columbian-Progress spotlights Next Level Athletics owner Mitch Holmes.)
Q: When and where were you born?
A: I was born in Foxworth Feb. 3, 1981.
Q: Where do you work? Tell us about your job/company.
A: I own Next Level Athletics with my business partner, Greg Sanders, and my wife, Leah. My partner handles baseball from ages 7 and up, whether that be pitching, hitting or fielding. On my end I handle an age group from 7 to 62. That might cover speed and agility, strength and conditioning for high school athletes and for adults it’s really and truly whatever they want because everybody is different. Once we get physical limitations identified and they let me know what they want to change, then we start working on that goal. Nothing works unless a client is willing to give effort. There’s no magic wand; I’m not a gimmick guy. There’s a lot of small things you have to do to get to that big goal. I also work in oil for Southern Energy, which is based out of Canada. I’ve been doing it for 18 years.
Q: What led you to your profession?
A: It was seeing so much stuff go wrong for people. When we were at the gym working out, I would see so many people wasting their time and doing things with wrong technique, wrong weight or wrong intensity or tempo. If you’re willing to put forth the effort, I want to see the change.
When I decided to do this, it was more of giving back and helping as many people as I could. Because of that I’m going to be as honest and upfront with everybody as I can. To me the financial part of it comes about third or fourth on my list. No. 1 is helping people and reaching goals. I’m really passionate about my clients building a better lifestyle. One of the things that got me in this is when my wife and I would go to the gym and there was always this group of kids from East Marion that would hit us up and wanted us to work with them. If a kid wants me to help them, I am. Little did I know over the course of time and watching these kids play high school football that one of them would turn out to be the No. 1 draft pick for the Oakland Raiders (Johnathan Abram). There was this other small kid that would never say anything. He would just watch and try to imitate me but never would ask a question. I finally just said, “Let’s do this; let’s do that.” I helped him with some of his technique, and little did I know this kid was going to turn out to be Jarveon Howard and go to Syracuse. Greg and I have both worked with Trace McNabb, who is at PRCC. We’ve worked with Colby White, who is kicking butt at Mississippi State that is probably going to wind up going pro. I recently helped a girl, Madalynn Johnson, that’s going to cheer at USM. It goes beyond the money to see success.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: I have some clients that have the potential of going on to play college ball, but I’d like to see them instead of going JUCO I’d like to see them go Division I. I have some that were on the path of being an average high school kid that are at that JUCO status now. It’s the same with my young kids. I had some that didn’t get to play a whole lot and now they’re the fastest kids on the team. Being able to see these people change is priceless to me. Everything comes with hard work.
Q: Where did you attend school?
A: West Marion. I got in the oil field and am still in it, but about eight years ago I got back into exercise and started doing it on my own. Over the course of time, we built off of it to what we have today. I got my certificate of training from NASM, and I’m working on my associate’s degree in exercise science through the International Sports Science Association out of California.
Q: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I was going to be a center fielder for the Atlanta Braves, and there wasn’t anything that was going to hold me back. But I blew my shoulder out playing baseball my junior year and had no clue what I wanted to do. You take your failures and try to turn them into positives and prevent from happening for other kids.
Q: What was your first job?
A: I worked fast food at Taco Bell.
Q: Who are the people who have been most influential in your life?
A: My grandfathers Shelby Fortenberry and Elroy Stringer. The character they showed on a day in day out basis — they’re both gone — but how they lived is how I want to live.
Q: Do you have children?
A: I have two. I have one that will be a junior at Ole Miss next year named Peyton Carver, who is majoring in computer science. I have a sophomore at Columbia High named Chandler Carver.
Q: If you could have anything for your last meal on earth, what would it be?
A: It has to be blueberry pancakes from IHOP.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: I’d really like to see Australia. Austria would be pretty cool to go to, too.
Q: What hobbies do you like to do in your spare time?
A: Fitness is my hobby. No. 2 we have some family land on Little Lower River in Pine Burr, and I’ve always called it my little piece of heaven. You can go down there and within 15 minutes you feel like you’re 3,000 miles away from everybody. I enjoy watching my kids with whatever they’re involved with at the time. I enjoy anything my wife has going on. Also, I’m really passionate about my education. What I’ve learned over the past several years is I’ll never know everything about the human body, but to be able to see a small issue with somebody and figure it out to take the pain away is really satisfying to me.
Q: What do you enjoy about Columbia and Marion County?
A: The small-town vibe. Going into big cities, I really don’t care for the traffic and noise. When something happens in Columbia, some kind of tragedy, to see the people band together is really impressive.
Q: If you could have lunch with anyone from your life or history, who would it be and why?
A: Jesus. I’d ask Him, “Why did you choose the life for me that I have?” I could be somewhere else. I could be a crackhead or some spoiled rich kid that doesn’t care because he’s never had to live it or experience it. I’d want to know His thought process behind the path that He put me on.
Q: What moment in your life has had the biggest impact on who you are today?
A: When my wife and I met for the second time — we were high school sweethearts — but when she entered my life 15 years ago within three seconds everything changed. When I got the phone call that she wanted to do something, I was offshore. I immediately knew without talking to her that life was going to change when we got married. I just knew it.
Q: What is one thing you want to do that you’ve never tried?
A: Skydiving for the adrenaline rush.
Q: Using one word for each, what are your top three morals?
A: Honesty, love and loyalty.
Q: How would you like to be remembered?
A: I want to be remembered as a servant. Everybody that walks through my door, I work for them. That’s what I consider myself to be: The servant, the lowest man on the totem pole. The person that was willing to sacrifice his time to benefit others. That goes for family, friends, coworkers and clients, and that’s how I live.
Pictured Above: Next Level Athletics owner Mitch Holmes works with young athletes and adults alike to help them achieve their dreams or improve their daily life. | Photo by Joshua Campbell