“Success doesn’t know these things about cold or early or tired. It just knows if you showed up or not.” If you ever tuned into the Bravo network, then you might remember the reality series Work Out that first aired on July 19, 2006 and unveiled the mystery behind the lives of models and fitness trainers across the state of California. Among those on the series was fitness model and former Army Ranger, Greg Plitt of Baltimore, Maryland who joined the cast in 2008 to document his own fitness routine as well as his efforts to help his clients succeed. Although the show was canceled after the 2008 season, it was enough to jumpstart Plitt’s future as he went on to become a huge name in the fitness world.
Athletic from an early age, Plitt grew up in the 1970s and 1980s in Lutherville, Maryland where he was on the football, wrestling and golf teams. It wasn’t until he was in the sixth grade, however, when he was introduced to weightlifting after his father bought a home gym. At the time, Pitt’s older sister was accepted into the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis and, if he hadn’t already committed himself to bodybuilding, it was a done deal after his sister returned home physically and mentally stronger than he’d ever seen. Adopting his sister’s discipline and determination, Plitt worked out even harder and was eager to succeed in weightlifting and everything else he set his mind to, especially when it came to carrying on the Plitt family legacy.
Graduating from Baltimore’s Gilman School in 1996, Plitt was accepted into the prestigious United States Military Academy in West Point, New York where he continued to excel over the next four years. He qualified as both Airborne and Ranger upon graduation in 2000 and served as a Ranger for five years before moving to Los Angeles to work as a certified personal trainer and as an official MET-Rx athlete.
In the best shape of his life, Plitt’s entry into the fitness industry came at the perfect time as he launched his own workout program—MFT28—that was picked up and featured on Bodybuilding.com. As he gained more and more recognition for both his physique and the program, it was only a matter of time before he landed covers and feature pieces in magazines like Flaunt, American Health & Fitness, AXL, Maxim, Men’s Health, Muscle & Fitness, Instinct Magazine, Men’s Exercise and Fitness Rx for Men, to name a few. So, what was the secret to his success?
Plitt often compared his work as a personal trainer to his responsibilities as a Ranger training military recruits. He often talked about how military recruits started off with bad attitudes, tough-guy mentalities and something to prove before everything changed. “One day, they’ll come to you crying, saying, ‘I need someone to talk to.’ All of a sudden, they start changing their ways and they become the men they always wanted to be,” he said. Plitt got the same gratification from training his clients to build muscle and adopt healthier lifestyles. “That’s what’s so cool about it,” he said, “to be able to train somebody and transform them and bring out all of the great qualities that everyone possesses.”
By the time he was in his 30s, Plitt had achieved a lifetime of accomplishments but continued to reach for more as he tried his hand at acting with appearances in Identity and Bobby while signing endorsement deals for brands like Angel Men by Thierry Mugler and Old Spice Body Wash. Landing a spot on Bravo’s Work Out in 2008, Plitt was using his name recognition to promote everything from Bowflex and Zoli Sinks to ESPN’s Great Outdoor Games, Gold’s Gym Power Flex and Under Armour. In fact, he even modeled for Under Armour as well as Calvin Klein, Old Navy Jeans, Skimpies and Modell’s. To top it off, his famous muscles made their debut on the silver screen with films like Watchman, Terminator Salvation and Grudge Match.
With certainly a lot to live for and the sky as the limit as to what he would accomplish next, the fitness world suffered a huge blow on January 17, 2015 when tragedy struck. The 37-year-old Plitt was in Burbank, California where he was shooting a video for his own energy drink commercial. In the video, Plitt was attempting to outrun a train with the intention of showing audiences that his new line of energy drinks gave him the speed to do exactly that. But, as he was running in between the rails of the tracks, a train came barreling from behind and knocked him down just as he lost control of the camera and disappeared from view. Authorities later examined the video taken from the cab of the train’s engine and confirmed that Plitt was attempting to outrun it. However, they believe that Plitt mistakenly thought the train was on the neighboring track instead of the one he was sprinting down.
Although Plitt may be gone, the Maryland native will never be forgotten as his legacy stretches from his hometown of Lutherville to West Point, the Army Rangers, Los Angeles’ Met-Rx and beyond. And, while he left us with his fitness program and incredible determination to succeed in every avenue of life, what he’ll most be remembered for is his compassion for helping others from military recruits to men and women seeking a healthier lifestyle. At the end of the day, that’s what he lived for—to transform people to be the best version of themselves.