Anything is Possible: Sought-after trainer helps clients score their life goals

Doyen "Dolo" Grant leads a workout outside of his gym.
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Doyen “Dolo” Grant’s past is always present in his professional life.

Hanging on the wall of Dolo’s Fitness — a gym Grant ’09 owns and operates in his hometown of Canarsie, New York — is a dark green SUNY Morrisville football jersey. When his gym opened in 2019, the former Mustangs football captain and star wide receiver had his No. 9 home uniform, flanked by two action photos, mounted in a customized black frame. 

Grant’s cherished Morrisville memorabilia is prominently displayed for everyone to see. It also reminds Grant of the significant role his college experience played in launching his successful entrepreneurial career.

“I knew I wanted to open a gym eventually and I started that mind process at Morrisville,” Grant said. “I wanted to delve into entrepreneurship. I wanted to open up a gym in my neighborhood and have them benefit from all my hard work and the things I learned at Morrisville.” 

The 37-year-old Grant channeled his college experience to help build a successful fitness brand that features not only a gym location, but also online classes, private training sessions, specialized workouts, nutrition and dietary assistance, meal planning and prep services.

Doyen Grant proudly displays his Morrisville football jersey at his gym.

“I’m a one-stop shop to help you get your body better,” Grant said.

Among his clients are a number of professional athletes, including the NFL’s Christian Wilkins and the NBA’s Nick Richards. In addition to his fitness accomplishments, Grant has also published a motivational quote book, “Life/Fitness/Success: Why Not You? Volume 1,” with some autobiographical content about the first stage of his life journey.

“If people see one good quote that’s going to motivate them and inspire them, they will want to do it,” Grant said.

Grant migrated from Jamaica at the age of 2 with his mother and grandfather. They put down roots in Canarsie, a residential neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, where Grant earned the nickname “Dolo,” meaning doing something by yourself or solo. He now resides 10 minutes away from his gym. 

The foundation for Grant’s success began at SUNY Morrisville. With dreams of playing college football and a career in fitness, Grant chose SUNY Morrisville over a historically black college and university. He believed Morrisville offered a well-rounded education, academically and culturally.

He considered attending an HBCU school, but decided on Morrisville instead. “I ended up taking a ride up to Morrisville. I saw cows and cornfields. I asked my mother, ‘Where are we?’ But I really liked it. I didn’t want to stay in the same environment that I grew up in for 18 years in Canarsie. It was a good change of pace. I embraced that.”

For Grant, SUNY Morrisville offered a chance to play football as well as study business and fitness management. His favorite class was Professor Kristen Kane’s fitness management class.

“The class was based on actually opening and running a gym, which was suited to everything I wanted to do,” he said. “I loved doing classwork where everything was hands on, including internships.” 

He applied skills from a capstone internship, serving as head strength and conditioning coach for the 2009 Mustangs football team, and another at the college’s Wellness Center, training for what he is doing on a daily basis. 

“When you work with someone and see how they are affected by this movement or that movement, you apply that to the next person. I learned so much with hands-on experience at Morrisville,” Grant said.

I wanted to open a gym eventually and I started that mind process at Morrisville.

Doyen "Dolo" Grant

He left an indelible mark in the classroom. “He was a vibrant and creative student who brought new ideas to every class and internship he completed,” Kane said. “He is such an inspiring young man with so many achievements. He left a lasting impression on me as a professor.”

Grant, who set a number of weightlifting records during his final years at SUNY Morrisville, graduated with an Associate in Science degree in sports nutrition & fitness management and a Bachelor of Science degree in human performance & health promotion (now named exercise science).

Outside Dolo's Fitness in Canarsie, NY

After graduation in 2009, Grant started his fitness business as a traveling personal trainer. He slowly built a solid reputation and the positive word of mouth made him a highly sought-after trainer. In 2019, Grant achieved his goal of owning his own gym. His clients range in age from 8 to 88.

Devale Ellis, who grew up three blocks from Grant, worked with Grant in the early days, logging 15-to-18-hour days, seven days a week. Ellis, an actor and former wide receiver signed by the Detroit Lions, said his close friend is successful because of his unyielding work ethic and his people skills.

“People don’t train with Dolo just because he’s qualified. People train with Dolo because he actually cares about his clients,” said Ellis, who now resides in Georgia. “Most of his clients become family because Dolo will answer every call and attend every event to ensure his clients know they are supported. You can’t fake that. Dolo’s clients go to him because he is unequivocally genuine.” 

Ellis added that Grant leads by example. In 2018, Grant trained for and completed the New York City Marathon to inspire his clients. 

“He wanted to prove that change is a mindset,” Ellis said. “He lost over 40 pounds and dedicated the whole journey to the people who say, ‘They can’t.’” 

Grant trains all his clients like they are elite athletes. 

“Some people may think that’s intimidating, but I solely believe if I can do it, you can try it,” Grant said. “People need to take a leap sometimes. I want them to feel challenged. The workouts are tough but I want the best results. I want them to see the progress, feel the progress.”

Xiomara Trotman is one client who has benefited from Grant’s training philosophy. Working out with Grant inspired Trotman to start his own personal training business.

Doyen "Dolo" Grant

“Dolo pushes me to be and do my absolute best both inside and outside of the gym,” said Trotman, a seven-year client who now resides in Washington, D.C. “He’s incredibly courageous and he certainly isn’t afraid of standing out or doing things his own way. I know that whenever I visit his gym, I am not only going to get a great workout, but I am going to leave feeling incredibly motivated and inspired as well.”

The phrase “Anything is possible” is written above Grant’s SUNY Morrisville framed football jersey at his gym. It’s one of many inspirational quotes he lives by and is reflective of everything he has accomplished because of his college experience. 

“College helped me learn so much about so many different things, things I still use to this day,” Grant said. 

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