If you want to get in shape; build strength, endurance, and agility, or be inspired to be a better you, spend time with Joey Motsay. He’s the owner of Positive Stress Workout in Greensboro, but that’s just what you can read on his business card. In life, he is the embodiment of the mind-body connection with a generous side-helping of heart.
An Athletic Hall of Fame member in his native Freeville, New York, Joey came to North Carolina for an education at Guilford College, where he studied sports medicine and played football for the Quakers. He is an endurance athlete, having trained for and participated in multiple Iron competitions, consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride, and a 26.22-mile run completed in that order, a total of 140.6 miles. These events are widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world. Motsay, by his own admission, says training for these events was all-consuming and addictive, taking time away from his wife and three daughters.
The flip side of Joey’s business card now reads “Change is Good.” Call it change, a pivot, or a redirection, but Joey ultimately set his sights on giving to others using his God-given talents. In his words, “It’s fun, doing something that benefits somebody other than just me.”
The pivot has included four Guinness World Records to benefit charitable organizations. He once rode a stationary bike for nearly 176 straight hours, set the jump rope record for more than 33 straight hours, and, at the age of 50, pushed a car for 50 miles in just 24 hours.
Motsay’s fourth record was a pursuit called “Punches for Lunches,” an attempt of fifty-five straight hours hitting a boxing speed bag. For 99 percent of us, it sounds impossible. Joey is the other percent who quips, “Everybody thinks it is impossible until it is done.” He did what it took and was able to begin an endowment to help fund food programs for kids through the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC. How big is the need? In the eighteen counties served by Second Harvest, twenty percent of children do not have consistent access to receive enough food to thrive. In Guilford County, where Positive Stress Workout is located, it is estimated sixty thousand people are food insecure.
The endowment is a direct result of Motsay’s heart for children, which has been profoundly touched by the thoughts and ramifications of empty bellies.
“Look at kids and their situation. It is a hand they have been dealt…and kids will grind through it.” That grind has a price. As Motsay explained, a lack of proper nutrition to fuel their bodies can lead to significant health issues. It is well-documented: Obesity, heart disease, and some types of cancer may be the eventuality of poor nutrition. It also leads to stress, poor mental health, and trouble in school for children and teens.
Motsay’s efforts, along with those of his generous donors, are closing in on $100,000 dollars, surrounding his most recent mega endurance effort – rowing for 6o straight hours as he celebrates turning 60 years young. These efforts will provide children with wholesome nutrition through programs such as Second Harvest’s growing Community Meals Program, which provides hot and cold tray-packed meals for children living in lower-income households.
Why did Motsay align with Second Harvest specifically?
“Since day one I knew it was the right organization. They’re doing a fantastic job filling a role few others have the generosity of will or spirit to do,” says Motsay. There is a clear parallel here to Motsay’s goal-based training. As he says,” Sacrifice rooted in passion is essential for anyone to be successful. Second Harvest’s staff and volunteers are passionate and willing to do whatever it takes. We all want to be around passionate thinkers”.
Motsay is a passionate thinker. His desk is covered with Post-its of affirmation and inspiration reflecting his faith and sources of physical and mental motivation. Among these are quotes are words from the inspiring Thomas Merton who once said, “The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these live beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.”
Joey Motsay certainly understands compassion. More importantly, his heart understands the need for connection to community. He is a contagion for kindness. He has a servant’s heart and the children in our area are blessed and fed by his existence.
MAKE TODAY THE DAY
If you’re inspired to play a role and give a gift that gives back, donate to Joey Motsay's our CHANGE IS GOOD Childhood Hunger Endowment for Second Harvest Food Bank of NWNC today!