‘Trainer dude’ proud, poised

Nick and his son practice poses – a family tradition.

Whether you’re deeply in or have brushed up against the fitness or bodybuilding world in the lower Willamette Valley, you have probably heard the name Nick The Trainer Dude. “NTTD” is Nick Hammond, a longtime Springfield resident. 

Nick’s training gym at 1124 Main Street, recognized by Nick’s flexing icon logo, shares a building with El Metate Tortilleria. “We’re quite the parking lot with people coming to pick up kilos of tortillas and others coming for training in my gym,” he said. Hammond’s clients range in age from teenagers to 80-year-olds. “It’s never a bad thing to lose some fat and add some muscle to your body,” he said. If you work out with Nick, you learn that fitness isn’t just lifting weights, but supporting how a client thinks about themselves, breaking patterns, and believing in themselves. “Trainers hear everything, and our relationships with clients are very personal. A trainer’s challenge is to be caring and compassionate, and push the client, build their confidence and help them believe in themselves.”

Hammond has been inspiring others to achieve their life and fitness goals for healthier bodies for over 20 years, first as a teen himself when he was an outreach worker for Looking Glass Community Services. “I started as a client, when I needed help, and then started working for them and became sort of a poster boy for Looking Glass.” A teenage dad raising three young daughters, working, and going to high school made Hammond somewhat of a superman, and what he had to share with other young people was motivational.  

Eventually, he dropped out of high school when the need to earn money for his family took center stage, and Hammond began a period of raising kids, being married, and working two to three jobs seven days a week. “I had my first child at 16, had two more babies and got married for the first time in my early 20s. It demanded a lot from me, supporting my family by working a lot of crazy jobs, often three at a time. There was a 10-year period where it felt like all I was doing was grinding doing everything from repossessing cars, to telemarketing and selling credit accounts for U.S. Bank, working oilrigs, and washing dishes.”

Somehow, through it all, Hammond never lost his hunger and dedication to bodybuilding. “I know it sounds crazy, but working out kept me sane and focused through all of that, so when I finally opened my gym, it was a huge step in life,” he said. “I kept working out and bodybuilding, so there was never a chance to reflect on anything else. Now my girls are grown and when my first marriage ended, I didn’t think there was much ahead for me. I was lucky to get a second chance in life in my second marriage. Now, I’m content, have two young boys, and the support of a great woman, Maddie. I’m still wired to work hard and work out, but I know my life is for a bigger purpose.”

Nick Hammond posing during a competition.

As a child, the one certainty in his life was the desire to “have muscles.” “I was into TV characters like He-Man and Skeletor, always wanted their bodies,” he said. “I’ve been flexing since I was a little kid, and I still do today.” He laughs, and adds, “Everyone in my family flexes, my older daughters, my younger sons, my wife, Maddie, we all flex. It’s what we do.”  

Most of Hammond’s clients are women, and he is unstinting in his admiration. “I’ve been around women my whole life, including my three girls. Women are strong and determined, and can outwork most men!” 

Middle-aged women have another gear, he said. “After raising babies, and putting up with men for so long, when that same determination is applied to themselves, there’s no stopping; they accomplish incredible things in the gym,” he said. 

Hammond’s gym has inspirational postings and an assortment of “before and after photos” and trophies won by female clients who have become champion bodybuilders. “Bodybuilding is more about sacrifice and discipline than about building muscle. You have to endure prolonged periods of food deprivation and exercise with no lapses. Who can do that better than women?” he asked.   

While bodybuilding has been a lifetime focus for Hammond, after finishing seventh six times, he won the Emerald Cup in 2017. With a lifetime goal in his back pocket, you would think he would be walking on Cloud Nine for a while, but Nick experienced an unexpected “crisis” after that. 

“All my life, I wanted to be a champion, and now I achieved that goal, and when I looked around at things, I wasn’t sure what I was anymore. Though the Emerald Cup victory could have been a steppingstone to a lucrative professional bodybuilding career, Hammond said, “I didn’t know what was next for me. I knew walking around in a room of other men in our underwear, showing off my muscles and waiting to be weighed was not enough; honestly, I’m still sorting things out.”

The bigger purpose is taking shape every day, even amidst the pandemic, which he says has not significantly altered his routines. “I train people, and I spend time at home and with my kids fishing on the McKenzie. Maddie and I recently started Salvation Fitness, expanding our existing business model to encompass our physical fitness commitment.”  

In the fall, Hammond will release a book about his life, titled, “Chicken and Potatoes, The Evolution of Nick The Trainer Dude Hammond.” The book describes his childhood in Utah, challenging family life, moving to Oregon, and growing into a teenage father and working life. 

“I always wanted to write a book about my life, and we finally did,” he said. “Chicken and Potatoes” refers to Nick’s earliest bodybuilding events. “I didn’t know anything about competing except to keep eating chicken and potatoes. It became my motto in life, ‘When something challenges you, just keep eating chicken and potatoes.’”  

For Nick The Trainer Dude Hammond, that purpose will likely include some form of fitness. “The purpose of my life is to help other people and serve God. Whatever allows me to do that is okay with me. 

“I’m just trying to keep it real.”



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