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Jan 17

No Cameras, No Crowd, Just Greg Plitt

greg plitIt has been one year since Greg’s passing and on this sad anniversary I feel the need to share a story about one of our nation’s favorite fitness models.  I originally wrote this piece just a week after Greg was taken from us but am only now sharing it for all to read.  Why? It’s important for us not simply to remember his incredible images, but the person behind them.

There are men that walk among us as giants.  Greg Plitt was one of these giants.  He had the look, the physique and the charisma necessary to take him to the top of the fitness modeling profession.  He obviously accomplished this in record fashion; however, Greg was much more than just a fitness model. Greg was a motivator, a leader and a role model to countless fitness enthusiasts.  These are all things that I have to imagine you are already well aware of about Greg, so allow me few minutes to share a private moment.  You see, what I find most fascinating about the human spirit and especially Greg’s spirit is who we are and he was in moments when there were no crowds, no cameras and no one to impress.

It was a sunny California day at Muscle Beach and I was nearing the end of my first big photo shoot for Iron Man Magazine.  I really felt like the “cock of the walk” as the saying goes.   A few folks passing by stopped to snap pictures and ask some questions.  I was riding high!  As I finished the final shot I would be taking that day, up walked Greg.  He was fully covered and had his sun glasses on.  He may have even been wearing a ball cap.  It’s been so long that I can’t remember for sure.  He came over and we chatted for a few minutes.  The conversation consisted of the usual pleasantries as you would guess and then IT happened.  I saw Greg’s incredible spirit. 

One of the guys that had been watching the shoot from the sidelines for a while came over to ask some questions.  Seeing as how I was shirtless and all oiled up it was apparent that I was there as a “fitness model.”  What he didn’t realize was that next to me was a man whom many consider the TOP FITNESS MODEL IN THE WORLD.  He didn’t realize this because Greg was nearly unrecognizable as he was still all covered up.  It was “just another day at the office” for Greg and he was relaxing in his loungewear before getting started.  In that moment when the fan started to ask some questions Greg walked a few steps away.  Greg walking away seemed a little odd to me, but I didn’t think too much of it other than to notice he had stepped away.

I leaned against the fence to talk to the young fan who was on the other side.  I answered a slew of inquires he had pertaining to training and supplements.  After he had all of his answers he was on his way.   I’m not going to lie, it was a great feeling to be the guy answering those questions.  Who doesn’t want to feel special in that way? 

After the young fellow left and not a moment before Greg walked back over to me and said, “That’s awesome man.”  I was confused and he saw it on my face.  He said, “Nice job, it’s great to see models taking the time to really answer these guy’s questions.”  It was quite a complement coming from “The Man” himself.  Our talk continued and my respect for him continued to grow as I learned why so many thousands of people love Greg.

I thought I had already learned the lesson I was supposed to in that moment; but, it wasn’t until much much later that I truly understood and appreciated the full significance of that sliver in time.  Now that Greg has passed, that moment and lesson live in me more so than ever before.  In that instance, I saw one of the brightest stars in our industry allow a newbie such as myself a moment to shine.  I saw the true definition of humility from a man that had every reason to be walking around as the true “cock of the walk.” 

Greg’s humility and wisdom in that moment continue to amaze me.  What I didn’t think of then but am fully aware of now is that Greg knew that if that fan got a good look at him he would have been instantly recognized.   Then he would have been the one bombarded with questions.  Not that he would have minded.  But he was protecting me and my moment.  If the fan had recognized Greg I would have become chopped liver and Greg knew it.  That experience of answering a fan’s questions would have been lost for me. 

I finally understand that that’s why Greg stepped away and waited to come back until the fan was long gone.  He gave me my space.  He lifted me up.  He gave me that special time to be “the star.”  It was just a few small steps for Greg but a giant experience for me.  That moment is one that will be with me forever and I am eternally grateful.

In that instance, there were no cameras, there was no crowd and no one to impress.  It was just Greg being the incredible man he was and lifting up yet another grateful fan.  Thank you Greg!  You are missed.

-Ian Lauer

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